Infertility is a horrific experience to go through. I believe that everyone who goes through the experience, whether they need to take Clomid or go through multiple IVF attempts or adoption is a survivor. Some survivors become parents (through treatments, adoption) and go on that much-hallowed (by society) journey of parenting. Some become parents, and lose their much-loved children too early.
Mother’s Day is not the simple milestone that it used to be to me before I began trying to have children. I understand now that there are mothers who are not acknowledged. There are women who wanted to be mothers, or are mothers, but not to living children. I can’t speak for them, but I can try to stand beside them on Mother’s Day, because it is a difficult day for many. The outside world for the most part doesn’t get that.
Maybe some infertility survivors don’t consider themselves “survivors” or want to distance themselves from the land of IF. There is one blogger who has been put on my radar recently. I’ll let her speak for herself about her voyage to parenthood:
“It’s hard to believe that our blog has turned into an infertility story. We started it in March 2009 when we threw the birth control pills out the window and decided to start a family, thinking that it would be a fun way to chronicle our pregnancy and the adventures we would have raising babies together. Little did we know that we’d take an unexpected emotional detour before we got to that point.”
This blogger was made famous recently, because the video of her positive pregnancy test (which is very sweet) became a big deal in the media. What was not made a big deal? The positive pregnancy test was after her experience with infertility. I feel like a teachable moment about how hard infertility is to go through was lost, but I don’t blame the blogger for that. Her story was quite clear. The media did not mention it.
What is not cool to me is what the blogger recently wrote about Mother’s Day.
What was said:
She mentions she was pregnant last Mother’s Day: “But now that he’s out of that safe little bubble I can tell you: I may have been a mother then, but I didn’t really know what it meant to be a mother until now.”
First off, I think this language is hurtful. It seems to indicate that those who lose their children because they were born too early don’t know what it means to be a mother. When I read an essay like this, I know this is not true.
“I am a different person than I was before Owen was born. A better person. A more understanding and more thoughtful person. A simpler person who stops working so hard to check things off my to do list and instead stops to enjoy and savor every little teeny tiny moment with my ever-changing baby. A gentler person who can cuddle and rock and pat and hold long after my arms are tired or my legs want to collapse. A more patient person. A more present person, adept at focusing 100% on what I’m doing at a given moment, whether it’s work or playing or blogging or cooking, and not thinking about what I’m going to do next. A more organized person, though I didn’t think that was possible (oh she of the bulleted to do lists and pre-packed lunches), who can now organize an entire family without even thinking.”
This is the standard Hallmark script, which I feel demeans a lot of people. To become a “better person”, you must become a mother. To become a more patient, gentle person, you must become a mother.
“It feels like I have finally come into the person I always wanted to be. As Owen’s Mom, I am more me than I have ever been before.
Happy Mother’s Day… to me.”
I’m happy that her journey led her to a happy place. I’m also pretty sure that she didn’t mean to hurt people with this essay, but she did.
Do you think that those who have gone through infertility owe it to the community to be sensitive after they get through “the finish line”? Or is it their right to move on and embrace the standard story of motherhood? Can you do both? And I honestly want to know! What is your opinion?