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What if?

April 26, 2010

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 24-May 1), the Stirrup Queen herself, Melissa Ford, in collaboration with Resolve has come up with Project IF. The first part has come and gone, but the second part, a collection of What If entries across blogland, is upon us. Here is my contribution:

What if I never let go of the resentment at and jealousy of the women who got to do this the β€œnormal” way and who never experienced pregnancy loss?

Hmm. I chose to grab one of the “What if” prompts from Melissa’s site, but none of them quite fit me. Instead, I need to put my own spin on a question that relates to a Major Problem with The Infertiles.

I’ll just go ahead and put it out there: I’m not jealous of women/couples/family who conceive children the “normal” way, and I certainly don’t resent their healthy reproductive systems.

Some people do. I’m just not one of them.

Now, before you pat me on the back and say, “Way to not be a Bitter Infertile (95 percent of the time),” let me stop you and say I feel like a fraud because I haven’t been so negatively affected by my struggles.

I feel like I don’t care enough.

I feel like I don’t belong among my fellow Infertiles.

I have nothing to contribute at the Curse You Fertile Myrtle bonfires, so I just sit off to the side, twiddling my thumbs and trying to blend in but still be part of the crowd.

I’m kidding about that, but I know some of you probably think Bitter Infertiles have started their own hate group complete with uniforms, a motto, a secret handshake and hazing rituals that include making Fertile Myrtles feel guilty because of something they can’t control.

It isn’t true (or I haven’t been invited), and it’s because of that last bit I just wrote.

They can’t control their Fertile Myrtle status anymore than I can control my Infertile Turtle (is there a name for us?) status.

I’m not jealous of their reproductive health, their beautiful children, their happiness. They inspire me. They keep my head grounded and my spirit soaring. I am, after all, working to join them in their happy status as parents of living, growing, thriving children.

How can I be angry or resentful when my number one goal right now is to be just like them?

Don’t get me wrong. The jealousy sets in sometimes. It’s just different from what I hear so many of my infertile peers spouting off about. What gets my Green Monster riled up?

“You can CHART your cycles?”

“What’s progesterone?”

“What does RE stand for?”

“I could NEVER learn so much about the human body without an MD after my name.”

“I could NEVER give myself injections.”

“Cervical mucus? EWWWWWW!”

My jealousy is a fickle bitch. On one hand, I am beyond grateful that I have come to know my body so well. On the other, I’d like some sort of reward for going above and beyond the reproduction-education level of nearly everyone I know – you know, sex ed in, ohhhh, THE FIFTH GRADE.

Of course, the entire reason I’ve learned so much (and continue to learn and learn and learn) is so Rob and I will be rewarded with new people in our current family of two (plus two angel babies, two cats and a dog). But for right now, I think an honorary doctorate would be a nice pat on the back for all I’ve done that all my Fertile Myrtle friends have not.

Now for my positive what if, somewhat the same as my initial spinoff of the prompt:

What if I had never been forced to learn so much about human reproduction and infertility?

Would I be able to finally understand better friends of mine who have faced or are still currently battling infertility? Probably not. I don’t know for sure if I am a better friend to them, but I do know that I have given them one more person they know they can turn to who they won’t need to question from where their sympathy comes.

Would I know all that extra information about the human body? Most likely, no. While I sometimes resent that I am one of the few who feel driven to learn about such things, it’s a good feeling to know my brain is helping myself. It’s an even better feeling to know that my brain could help others – family, friends or strangers.

Infertility does not discriminate. It can affect anyone and everyone, even those who feel they might have missed the unlucky election by having one or more uneventful conceptions and pregnancies.

If my knowledge and my experience can help one person formerly ignorant to the battle against infertility, I’ll gladly carry that weight in my noggin. And maybe it’ll increase my jealousy-free time percentage to 99 percent of the time.

For a great article discussion infertility etiquette, check out IF COMM 101. Visit Resolve for more information on National Infertility Awareness Week. Visit Stirrup Queens to read more experiences from participants of Project IF.

Most importantly, spread the word and help make infertility a more accepted battle.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Alena permalink
    April 26, 2010 5:02 pm

    Whew, I am relieved that I didn’t ask any of *those* questions earlier.

    I’ve already talked about all of this….soooo I don’t have anything to add. Except to say again…I think you reach more people with your attitude. And I think that’s a good thing!

  2. mylittlebuffalo permalink
    April 26, 2010 5:03 pm

    love your post πŸ™‚

  3. April 26, 2010 5:04 pm

    I cannot begin to speak about infertility as I was fortunate to get pregnant the “old fashioned” way. BUT, your message is powerful and I absolutely agree with you that women, regardless of their fertility status should know their bodies. Doctors are not the end all, be all. Sometimes I wish I could help others get pregnant with my fertile myrtle powers, but I don’t have super powers so for now I’ll continue to pray for all the women out there who want babies of their own. Keep spreading the word!

  4. April 26, 2010 5:13 pm

    “How can I be angry or resentful when my number one goal right now is to be just like them?” Can I just say – this is so true with so many things in life.

    What a great post. I am glad to see the other side of infertility – we just “got pregnant” and I am the airhead that thought umbilical cords snapped back in you like a tape measure after birth. I always feel wierd that it happened so fast for us when so many of my friends struggle with this, but I also think about how much they know, have learned, and in many ways are so much more in tune with their bodies than I am. It’s good to hear your story.

  5. April 26, 2010 5:39 pm

    I too am like you…I was never overly jealous of the fertiles during my IF struggle. And I too used my new found knowledge for good and talked to people about infertility. Thank you for your message.

  6. April 26, 2010 7:30 pm

    Great post. And I love “Infertile Turtles”. Are we kin to the awkward turtle? πŸ™‚ Jealousy does no good and it’s not productive in helping me reach my on dream of having a baby. I’ve got plenty of things in my life keeping me busy. I don’t need to waste time on being jealous. Sure, every once in a while a “why them? why not me?” thought creeps into my head. But I don’t let them take over my life. We have knowledge that lets us know what’s going on with our bodies. And I think that’s pretty cool. Thanks for writing this post!

  7. thenextmartha permalink
    April 26, 2010 7:54 pm

    Thanks for sharing. Your message is strong, important, and heard.

  8. April 27, 2010 10:02 am

    Interesting take on the question. I like your attitude and wish I had more of it. I tend to be jealous just because I’m so competitive so it feels like my fertile friends and in-laws are “beating me” at the game. Lame I know, but we all struggle in different ways. πŸ™‚

  9. Vivian permalink
    April 27, 2010 10:48 am

    Again, you continue to amaze me! Although I am blessed with a child, the second time around, as you know, hasn’t been so easy. Reading this has helped my outlook and I am so grateful to know that there are amazing and strong women such as yourself that I can lean on and vice versa. My jealousy has been setting in lately – damn those emotions! Thanks for helping me realize that I’m being stupid!

  10. April 29, 2010 9:24 pm

    Wow, you are the first person who has said exactly what I have thought OH SO MANY times. My poor husband has listened to me rant and rave about how I now know so much about reproduction that I could help get ANY fertile woman pregnant in no time. πŸ˜‰ And I DO appreciate that knowledge, I’m happy to have it, even if so far, I have nothing *but* knowledge to show for it! My time will come, and in the mean time, if any of my (fertile) friends are looking to get knocked up, well, boy, do I have some stuff to show them…

  11. April 30, 2010 3:25 pm

    wow, this is one blog I am glad I got to visit, this post is amazing.

    because I am jealous and angry, even though I got my wish. Wow, I feel like a real heel now.
    But your attitude about it and your line about “you really want to be like them” hit home with me.
    I often say that I don’t fit anywhere with infertiles or mommies anymore. I feel so lost, but this post, your words put things into perspective for me.

    thanks for sharing, I do hope that your dream of a child comes true. πŸ™‚

  12. May 4, 2010 7:36 pm

    Thanks for this post! It’s great that you are spreading the awareness!

  13. May 7, 2010 2:45 pm

    Hi me again, the new kid…. second entry of yours I’ve read and I just wanted you know you’re not alone. They are few and far between, but every once in a while it’s nice to find someone to share a little perspective with. As the years dragged on in our challenges with the reproductive systems and my knowledge grew and grew it was hard to find a place where I felt I belonged. Not because I was ‘infertile’ and not because I was an aspiring Mom. Simply because I just needed company that wasn’t bitter and appreciated the little things. Sometimes I found my best company was myself.My time trying to conceive allowed me the opportunity and the choice to look within to find me and rediscover myself.

    Infertility may have hijacked my innocence regarding where babies come from. But fortunately it gave far more in return and that was before we ever got to see success.

    Best of luck to you



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