That is National Infertility Awareness Week.
I have had some of these thoughts swirling around in my head for a while and thought, "what better time to post than now?"
A blog I follow had a wonderful post today and I wanted to send you there to read that as she is currently battling infertility and had a quite enlightened post so visit cgd here and read her post on IF myth (April 25th post).
She really nails a lot of the details of facts surrounding IVF. She's somewhat of an expert at this point and drives home in an eloquent way, that IVF is in fact, not for everyone.
Here are some things that I feel about infertility:
1. It is immensely lonely, that is why people who "meet" on the internet through IF circumstances feel instantly bonded, because so many people do NOT understand.
2. People try so hard to say the right things and mostly end up hurting us worse.
3. Just because something worked for your mom/sister/cousin/co-worker doesn't mean it will work for me, and I promise, you don't suddenly have a new idea that hasn't already been tried or crossed an IFers mind, so please refrain.
4. Please don't ever use the phrase, "Why don't you just fill in the blank (adopt, relax, use a surrogate, do IVF)". Just implies that we haven't tried hard enough, cared enough, put in enough effort, etc. It is insulting.
5. Don't compare what we're going through to something you went through that is unrelated or even related, but not the same. (I read tons of blogs, and try to NEVER say, well when I had/did/etc. because it's painful and pointed, as if again we haven't done enough).
6. If you haven't experienced infertility or loss, please don't give suggestions or advice, as we don't give them about things we have no experience with.
When we set out to adopt, we never dreamed that we would be swindled out of thousands of dollars and left heartbroken, deceived, and empty armed, that was not the experience anyone else had told us about. When my friend's mom adopted 27 years ago, she never dreamed she's be dealing with her son's birth mother grieving his death as well, and feel obliged to comfort her through her own grief. I know lots of beautiful adoption stories! One of my pledge sisters is adopted (actually two) and they have had nothing but positive experiences, they are beautiful, happy, well-rounded individuals, who know that was God's plan for their lives. My sweet friend, Amanda, adopted one of the cutest kids you'll ever see and so far it's been a fairytale (since paperwork was finished etc, up until then--nightmare). Adoption is not an easy road. I have a friend adopting right now, and the baby was born on Friday and she didn't find out until today--do you have any clue what that does to a mother? (And please don't say she doesn't even know that baby yet, she's been preparing for months!). Adoption is beautiful and wonderful and a blessing and it is absolutely the plan God has for some people, but it is NOT for everyone, so suggesting that to anyone who is struggling to have a baby is actually rude.
On another note, suggesting surrogacy is also not ok, yes, we've thought about it! Yes, it worked for SJP and Nicole Kidman (did you see how the press attacked her?!!?). Have any of you been watching Brothers and Sisters and seen what's going on there with the surrogate--and please don't tell me that's just tv, where do you think they got the idea? That happened to someone--seriously, and while it may turn out all fine and blah blah blah, you have no idea how that being taken advantage of can damage your trust of humans, how it can rip your heart out. I also ask if any of you knows the costs of surrogacy??? It starts--STARTS at $60K. What?!?! Very few people have that kind of disposable cash (hence the SJP's and NK's doing it, not your cousin or BFF). Then there are so many other things to think about. Can you use your eggs, his sperm, a donor, a friend, how will you tell your child/children when they get older? None of these things cross your mind usually until the deed is done and then you have to worry about it later!
IVF--been there, done that and can tell you, that's no picnic either. The drugs alone are $$$ and they hurt, and I'm no wuss with needles. The stress of giving yourself shots daily at the right time can also send you into a tail spin of fear and panic, seriously, I was a nervous wreck the whole time, not to mention the time I actually left my meds at home when I went out of town--WRECK--as my hubby!!! There is so much stress, so much pressure on you and your husband to do things right, to not forget anything, and for it to WORK. It strains any relationship, and there is nothing romantic about having a catheter inserted in your privates to 'place' your embryos there. Not to mention the things the hormones do to your body (and I wasn't on a high dosage), but they make you crazy! And if you looked at the above mentioned article you know that success rates aren't always in some one's favor. Believe me we thank God daily that we were in the 'lucky' group, honestly, I've read so many things of people who were not that that will scare the begeezus out of you too! I've also known of plenty of people to get pregnant and not take home a baby, so it's not a cure all. This doesn't even scratch the surface of all the available fertility treatments or the questions and issues that arise from each one, ethical, moral, and monetary concerns that come up, but that would be a much longer post! :)
What about Foster Parenting? I believe people who do that are Saints in most cases (I've heard of abuse and the like, but in general, they are amazing!). I've worked with children in foster care doing speech therapy, and the things they endure with these children is mind boggling. And just take this one scenario, you have a wonderful child come live with you, you nurture them, get them on a good track, they are healing emotionally, and you are in love---Then, they are returned to the home that made them hurt in the first place. No thank you for me, I'm not saying it's not a good thing, again I think people who do this are Saints, I'm entirely too selfish. Check out the post on www.rantsfrommommyland.com titled Domestic Enemies of Foster Parents.
Some other things that are good to know... It doesn't help when you say things like "Well, at least you can still go on trips when you want to", "Be glad you get to sleep 8 hours every night", "I'd kill for a completely quiet house", "You can have one of my kids" (seriously, would you give us one? Because we'll honestly take one off of your hands if they put you out that much!), "At least you still have your body". These things are shallow and void. Most of us would give anything to carry a baby, or adopt a baby (without complications), or whatever it took. We are actually jealous that you are having sleepless nights, feeling like crap while pregnant, or missing a tropical vacation to have a child look at you and tell you they love you! There is no amount of discomfort we wouldn't endure to have a child depend on us, look at us adoringly, or run screaming through target from us!
So, to end this long rant of my own, please don't brush off infertility with a comment that can hurt someone. It is emotionally damaging, it is isolating, and it is one of the hardest things a marriage can endure (if it does endure that is). Sometimes people just need to talk about how they feel, what they miss, and how they wish things were different. Give them that opportunity, or point them my way--I'm always open for a good chat! :)
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