Starting Our Family

The reality of infertility, IVF and donor eggs

Overcoming Fertility Guilt (yeah you read that right)

on June 14, 2013

OK- I’m about to totally stir the shit stew pot with this one.  I recently came across the following blog.  I originally saw it on the RMA NJ Facebook page and kinda half read it and blew it off at the time.  Shortly after the intial post I saw an apology post from RMA NJ.  Wait- they were apologizing for offending someone?  Damn, that peaked my interest since I HEART offensive stuff.  I went to their page to read the blog and low and behold it was taken down.  Foiled!  But alas- since I’m always on the infertility forums I was able to do a little inspector gadget investigating and found a thread about it- yay me!

I’m posting the link now to give you the opportunity to read what she wrote first- I actually encourage you to do this so that my blog will make sense to you.  So go read it now and then come back here when you’re done.

OK- you’re back- all done reading?  What did you think?  You sure as hell know I’m going to tell you what I think (insert devilish laugh).

I don’t know the person who wrote this blog so it’s hard to judge where she is coming from.  According to her page the blog is about “fertility, carrying baby, and delivery”.  I’m not really sure what this chick’s qualifications are but she is pregnant so clearly she is more qualified to speak on pregnancy than an infertile like me.  So where is she coming from?  What’s her angle?  I don’t know- it’s hard to tell.  It can be from a sincere place and she just sucks at writing and expressing emotion.  I hope not because she has a Masters in Health Communication so that would have been a huge waste of college tuition. Or it could just be a passive aggressive way of bragging.  Kinda like those beautiful, skinny girls that look like models and cry how people hate them because they are so beautiful- that’s a sob story I don’t want to hear.  Boo fucking hoo!  However, wanting to “belong” is part of human nature.  So if she is in a social circle where most of her friends are infertile and she’s the odd woman out than maybe she genuinely would feel a sense of “guilt”.  As if she is no better than her friends so why should she be the lucky one.  Not that that thought would be rational but who knows- people are weird with their perceptions of things.  I lost a friendship because of a pregnancy.  Basically she felt that she couldn’t enjoy her pregnancy because knowing that I’m infertile made her feel bad.  I don’t think I ever did anything to make her feel that way but who knows, maybe subconsciously I did. 

I kind of see where the author is going with this topic but I don’t think guilt is the right word to use.  Shame is definatly the correct word- I know that because I’m faced with it daily as an infertile.  I actually had to look up the definitions because we as humans use words all the time without really knowing what they mean.  Case in point, M confessed to me one day that he didn’t know what a douche was but he calls people that all the time.  When I explained it to him he laughed.  So next time he wants to yell at someone he can tell them, “stop acting like such a bottle of fluid used to clean a woman’s vagina!”  Yeah, douche sounds much better. 

 shame  /SHām/ noun- a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.

 guilt  /gilt/  noun-  the fact of having committed a specified or implied offense or crime

So it’s not a crime to get pregnant naturally with no trouble.  Us infertiles have to sometimes be reminded of that.  It’s not a crime- we just treat it that way.   And we are completely offended by a positive pregnancey that is not of our own- how dare the worlds pro-create around us!  Women who get pregnant easily, naturally and often have every right to enjoy that pregnancy.  We hate those women- come on you can admit it because there are countless threads about it in every forum.  We all cry (inward or outward) whenever we hear about a positive pregnancy test.  And some of us even secretly cringe when a fellow infertile miraculously gets pregnant.  We all cheer for her on the messageboard and send “baby dust” but most of us, even for just one hot second, do the formula in our heads.  The mathematical equation works something like (and I’ll use X instead of a real number so I don’t freak any of you out)- if IVF works for X out of X women and she is in the positive column then that puts me 1 stat closer to the negative column- damn her pregnancy just fucked with my odds!  Such is the 4 headed beast called infertility.  It makes a monster out of the best of us.

But back to the choice of words- shame and guilt.  The infertility shame weighs A LOT heavier than the perceived fertility guilt.  Shame and guilt are on WAY opposite sides of the emotional feelings spectrum.  You can easily get over the feeling of guilt because you HAVE your baby- many of us will never get over the shame and possibly never get our baby.  It’s almost like comparing someone’s “shame” of being raped to a teenagers “guilt” of having sex.  And before you go ape shit on those 2 comparisons I am in NO WAY saying that women who have been raped should feel shame.  I’m saying that, a few years as a volunteer in rape crisis center has shown me, majority of women who have been raped DO feel shame.  I guess shame can be seen as a perceived emotion based on something you are NOT guility of causing/doing and guilt, well its just guilt.  You can BE guilty because you did something wrong or you can just FEEL guilty because you did something that may not be wrong but society “says” it is.  So I think guilt was way too strong of a word.  She may have been going for the drama factor on that one.  I get the feeling that this blog is almost like an “even bad publicity is good publicity” stunt.  Sort of like when a celebrity gets out of a car and gives the paparazzi a total beaver shot.  As if the celebrity can’t get on film or in the news but maybe her cooter can spark some new interest.  So maybe this blog is Lara Salahi’s beaver shot?

The blog did spark quite a bit of drama- at least in the infertility world.  I don’t think anyone else really cared about it.  Interesting though to see the reaction to the blog based on whether or not you are fertile.  Clearly the people that commented on her blog were fertile (or just not yet aware of their infertility- they might one day update their comment).  The infertiles were up in arms.  I don’t know, maybe its the Lupron speaking?

The one thing that DID piss me off about the blog wasn’t the content of it but that it was shared by RMA NJ on their Facebook page.  WTF were you thinking?  I feel it was super insensitive to share it with us.  Its not like they are an OBGYN group- they are a freakin infertility clinic.  We are there because we CAN’T get pregnant!  And yes we feel shame AND guilt about that.  It’s like giving the book What To Expect When You’re Expecting to someone that you know just had a miscarriage- you don’t do that shit!  The apology they posted said, “We recently posted an article which was not intended to upset or offend our fellow Facebook friends, however it unfortunatley came across the wrong way & did just that.  We apologize for this mistake and appreciate your feedback.”  I wonder what their intention really was?  What idiot read it and said, “hey, our infertile clients would LOVE to read this”.  I guess RMA NJ is the real guilty party in this situation and shame on them!


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