Friday, September 12, 2008

Circular Logic

This post has been rattling around in my head for a couple of months and I can't seem to shake it. It's not polished and certainly, not finished, but DD's post on parenting after infertility and Mel's mention of it in the Friday Roundup jump-started me and I just had to get it down.
It seems like every few days or weeks, there comes another slew of posts from people now parenting after IF who plead that they still are dealing with IF, will do so forever and no one should think that they take anything for granted.

OK. Fine. I get what you are saying.

My bottom line: Though you may deal with infertility your whole life, you still have a kid. Right now, I've got zippy.

Yes, infertility is not like skin color. It's hidden and when you see a woman with a couple kids or very pregnant, you don't know if getting them was easy or hard what they had to endure to get to where they are today. But, I do know that you've gone beyond where I am now. I've not been pregnant, not gotten to call a child my own.

Parenting after IF doesn't mean that you forget the situation that you were in, when you were in my shoes. It just means that you are not in my shoes now. I'm allowed to have that. You are allowed to have that.

If I'm not in a space where I can read the lives of people who are parenting after IF or who are pregnant after IF, I don't read. And if I don't read, it doesn't mean that I think you're a turncoat, or that you don't know how it feels, or that I'm judging you. I just can't read your blog at this moment in time.

Can't we just have a blanket statement that no one who parents after IF or who is pregnant after IF is ungrateful or doesn't get it? Why do we need to keep repeating ourselves over and over? Why do we feel the need to constantly justify ourselves and reassure ourselves of the goodness of our actions?


Jen said...

You've got some very good points.

Marie said...

I get what you are saying. It is not offensive at all what you are saying and sometimes I feel weird including my child on my blog. If you are not were you can read certain blogs then that is ok.
I sometimes find it hard to fit with secondary infertility as I should feel grateful for my child..I do, but I feel terrible for my husband as he is suffering primary infertility.

I will still read yours cause I think you have wonderful material.

Hang in there!!

Sassy said...

Thank you for being brave enough to post about this. I have a very similar post drafted.

I want people to recognise that infertility is different for people with no kids, and those who have been successful.

I understand that infertility is still painful after you've had a child. But for me, my infertility means I may *never* be a mother. There is a massive difference in the effect infertility has on our lives.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

There is definitely a difference between primary IF and parenting after IF, but I took DD's post in a different way. Not as a justification or commentary on where someone is in IF, but more of a "things aren't always as they seem" type of statement. I took the post to be how someone can still be affected by something even after it's over. And when someone looks at her in a snapshot, they only see the surface and they don't see what went into those kids.

I think when she said it bothered her, it was more speaking to the idea that someone reading may not know "her"--they may hold these beliefs about her that are so far from the truth. In the same way that I would perhaps fear that someone reading about my INTENSE (people, it is intense--I was just talking Christmas music with a friend this past weekend and it's September) love of Christmas all winter long would have this very untrue vision of who I am. Which is this kosher, observant Conservative Jew. I think it was more the chasm between reality vs. what could be perceived based on the subject matter. And how residue still exists despite the outward picture.

I'm in total agreement with you about wishing both (and actually all permutations of diagnosis and path choice) could exist in harmony together. Though I put "children mentioned" on those posts that contain the twins precisely because I want someone who isn't up to reading it to click away.

You are a smart chickie, Jendeis.

butterflyanla said...

Brilliant! Well spoken! I am right there with ya! Amen!

luna said...

I agree the pain of primary infertility is a unique type of anguish. sometimes I just need to click away from people who have made it to the other side, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate their longing too. it just means my own pain is my own... not sure if I'm making any sense. it's late.

Leah said...

I didn't discover the joy of the IF community until after we had struggled to have our daughter. I dove in with full force while trying to give her a sibling. Therefore, I wasn't in this blogsphere while enduring IF and childless.

I too have spent many posts trying to sort through the feelings (particularly the survivor guilt-like ones) that are a byproduct of both already having a child and already being pregnant. I am not so stupid that I can't appreciate what it feels like to get negative after negative over and over again while NEVER seeing a positive. Despite the fact that was 5 - 6 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. But you are right, that doesn't mean I should prattle on and on about it because it's not where I am now.

However, the pain of IF never leaves. At least not for me, or not anytime soon at all. Just because I have children doesn't make me feel like I shouldn't be allowed to empathize with my fellow IF sisters, nor does it make me feel like I should hang a victory flag from my rooftop and stop talking altogether.

I'll ask you this way... I know you have struggled with your weight. Once you lose the weight you want to, do you plan to forget how the journey felt? Will you be able to remain completely silent when someone else describes the pain they are enduring while trying to lose weight? Do you think that once your hips see the inside of a pair of size 8 jeans that the hellish road you traveled to get there just magically melts away? Doubtful. You will make sure that as they are admiring your svelte figure, they fully understand that you really DO know how it feels to be in their shoes. You really DO know how lucky you are. Etc.

I'm not sure if I'm exactly making sense here, but you are a damn smart cookie, so I imagine you understand. Luckily we've had the pleasure of meeting in person so you know that I genuinely like you or I might not have written all of this in the fear that it would get misinterpreted and somehow be insulting.

Having said all of that, I understand 150% if people don't want to read about my life after IF or hear stories and see pictures of my children. I don't take offense to that one bit. But I also can't pretend like IF didn't overwhelm and dominate my life for over half a decade, that all of it magically vanished upon giving birth. I wish it worked that way for me, but it just didn't.

Leah said...

Is it a sign of extreme obnoxiousness when one's comment is longer than the blog entry itself? Good grief.

Anonymous said...

Good points in this one Jen... I hear what you're saying and I think that ultimately your point is this - those of us who are pg after IF or parenting after IF don't need to keep on saying how grateful they are or how much they will never forget - cos they will never forget. IF changes you for life, BUT the primary vs secondary battle is different and when those of us who are still battling to gain that first victory are in a place to not read the pg posts or parenting posts need to not read them, it is not cos we don't love, respect, honor those who have, it is just that we are not emotionally equiped AT THAT TIME to read along...

Sorry rambling now!


Karen @ Chez Perky said...

I had a different experience going through primary IF - I had a foster son most of the time I was going through treatments which meant that I was parenting a child, but had never had a BFP, had never been pregnant, had never experienced childbirth, etc. I neither fit in with the primary infertility community nor with the secondary infertility community in that respect. I just... was.

I absolutely don't expect people struggling with primary IF to read my blog these days. I've got J (my foster son) and one year old triplets for crying out loud. It's very parenting-centric these days. And I know that everyone who knows my history is fully aware that I treasure every second with all four of my children. How could I not? My arms were empty for a very long time and now they are more full than I ever could have imagined. But it must be horribly difficult for someone with primary IF to read about regularly and I respect that. So I don't expect you to be hanging out on my blog often (or ever) and I hope you don't mind that I pop in on your blog now and again - that's where the gray area is for me... I still read primary IF blogs, but I hesitate to comment on them because I never know how people will take it.

I will say one thing about your post, however... you say that IF is hidden and no one ever knows when they look at you and your children if you had an easy or difficult time getting there - this is true to a point - with a singleton. But one thing about having triplets is that it's like having a sign taped to my forehead that says, "Ask me about my infertility!" Every random person on the street wants to know if my children are "natural" or if they were conceived with fertility treatment. Most people simply assume I had fertility treatment (which I did, of course, but it makes me feel weird anyway because I have at least four friends who have spontaneous triplets and I wonder how THEY feel about it... being lumped with infertile myrtles just because they have triplets). So having high order multiples really is like wearing a giant scarlet letter "I" on my chest. It takes away the anonymity of infertility.

DD said...

Last night I was thinking more about PIF and SIF and how many bloggers I knew struggling with PIF are now actually going through SIF and they always seem to be surprised with how the emotions are very similar in both instances. I have freely admitted that I never had PIF in the literal sense, but that doesn't mean I don't understand how infertility affects everyone the same, but differently.

The analogy I thought of last night was that with PIF, you feel as if you are being punched over and over in the stomach. With SIF, the punching now is to the kidney or the head. The punches are just as hard, but they feel different.

Me said...