When it comes to infertility and loss it sometimes surprises me how in the dark society can be in this day and age. I know that the IF community often gets an a bad rap in the media. They seem to only publish articles about the fanatic and wealthy thus giving the impression that all that go through this are the same way. They do it because it sells and the money is what keeps the word going round.
It is also because for some reason infertility is treated like some sort of shameful act. To admit that our bodies can not perform the most basic human function makes us feel useless and broken. So we hide it away. As we suffer loss we hide that away too. Partly because we are afraid of the ignorant comments that opening up will get. You know the ones: “Maybe God just has a different plan for you”, “Why don’t you just adopt?”, or “Just relax and it will happen”.
It is not easy to exposes ourselves to the world in this way. This journey brings out the most dark and raw thoughts that we could experience, and to admit those makes us feel weak. But how else will the world ever learn? If those of us who suffer through this pain never open up and educate?
I consider myself pretty “out” of the infertility closet. I’ve never made a big grand announcement on Facebook or anything, but anyone in my life who talks to me and cares enough to ask how I am doing knows what we are going through. I’ve never hid that we struggled for a year and now I don’t hide away our losses. Sometimes it is hard, I can feel the awkwardness in the air whenever I refer to MB as “him” or “my son”. Most people just don’t see it that way, they hear that I lost a baby at 10 weeks and wonder how I could ever talk about him like he was “a real person”. But I refuse to refer to him as if he was no big deal. Because to me he was, and always will be.
As J and I are starting to try to change directions in our family building plans I’m realizing more and more how few people truly “get” infertility unless they have gone through it. I tend to think the best in people and it is hard when they disappoint.
The other night J posted a comment on Facebook regarding adoption. He was asking for advice from anyone who had experience with it and made a comment on how expensive it could be. 95% of the comments were supportive and full of love. But then there is one…one ignorant person who has to go and say something beyond stupid. One of his co-workers said “What is crazy…is making one of your own is much cheaper!”.
Knife. To. The. Heart.
I don’t go on Facebook very often. After my 2nd loss I went on a strike and I know it was the right decision. I still log in from time to time, mostly because some people still message me and I like to make sure that people don’t think I am ignoring them. That being said I log on maybe one every 3-4 weeks. Of course I happened to log on right after this guy posted the comment.
J got frustrated about how upset I was about it because this guy had no idea what we have gone through. I told him to imagine he had posted asking for advice about chemotherapy. In doing so he is not saying he has Cancer…but he is very much insinuating it. Then imagine that someone came along and made the comment “Well you just shouldn’t get Cancer then!”. This is an extreme example I know, but if that was the case people would be beyond upset. There are just certain things you don’t say. And this is how this guys comment felt to me.
I didn’t reply. Only because he was a co-worker though. I’ve never met the guy and even J isn’t very tight with him and the last thing I want to do is cause J issues in the work place. But if it had been anyone else believe me, I would have had said my fair share.
This is the problem though, I didn’t just want to educate this guy…I wanted to bite back. I wanted to make him feel stupid and small. I wanted to tell him that not everyone lives in a rose-colored world and that some of us lose 4 babies and have no other options. I wanted to hurt him like he hurt me.
But that is not educating. Maybe he would have felt bad but it most likely would not change his perception overall of what infertility is. So how do we change that? How can I as an infertile teach society that this is a real disease that hurts and affects more people than most realize? And how do I leave my personal bitterness and resentment out of it?
Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not judge anyone for keeping their journey quite. This is an extremely personal decision and I don’t expect for a minute that it is the “right” thing to do for everyone. Only you know if you are ready for this step or not. And if you are not that is okay. For me though, I feel like it is time for me to do more.
I want the world to understand. I want them to know that children aren’t something that just come along and I want them to know how hard it is for those of us who struggle. I want the hurtful comments to start. I’m taking a vow to be more proactive in trying to educate those around about what infertility really is. For me it is a way to honor my lost babies. And I refuse to be made to feel like they, or all of this, isn’t a big deal.