Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Just who is considered infertile?

I've just been reading the comments on Lili's post on the infertility site at Redbook.com. These are really harsh comments. Lili just started blogging there after a maternity leave with her infant twins. She struggled for years to become a parent, and now that she has achieved that goal, she's writing the Infertility Diaries along with Julia. For those not in the loop, Julia is the proud mom of Patrick, who is a rising kindergartner, and she's pregnant with twins after a long and painful series of miscarriages due to a genetic abnormality carried by her husband Steve. Phew. To recap, Redbook put up a blog on Infertility and both writers are already mothers.

To put it mildly, the readers are pissed. They feel that posters should be primary infertiles. They don't feel that secondary infertility should be counted the same way as being a primary. This isn't new. In fact, it's ancient history on the internet. Way back in the dark ages of Usenet, I started an infertility group for all. It was soon divided into primary and secondary groups, and then divided again into a Parenting after Infertility group. Each group of women had some serious misgivings against the others. In fact, the primary group was so rabid in it's anger that it would not allow anyone who was a biological parent to post, and refused to allow adoptive parents to mention their children. Any time pregnancy was mentioned, you had to preface the post with PG Mentioned, and if you announced a pregnancy, nobody was allowed to congratulate you online. These were seriously militant primaries.

Now I understand that. It took me 8 long years to conceive my twins. I had 4 miscarriages, many injectable IUIs and IVFs before I was successful. It was a terribly painful time, and I was pretty intolerant of fertiles by the time I became a mother. I couldn't stand women who said "we've tried for 5 months now and I'm so afraid I'm infertile". I couldn't stand the moms who said "My kids are driving me crazy!" If I ever was lucky enough to have kids, I would welcome them forever and never ever complain about them. Ever. Ahem. Nor would I complain about how painful pregnancy was. Double Ahem. I was an idiot. I learned my lesson.

I know how hard it is to be infertile. I know the pain of loss, and the pain of forever being unsuccessful. It is a very tough path to live on for 8 long years, and I thank God over and over again for the gift of my kids who never ever do anything wrong and are absolutely perfect in every way. Ahem.

But I also know that secondary infertility is just as painful as primary if you feel your family is not complete. For me, I was too old to have another pregnancy after the twins, so my family was complete despite my wishes or longings. I have never felt that this was fair. I always wanted to have more children. Lots more. But that's my personal Mogen David to bear, I guess. I look at women like Julia, who has suffered long and hard to have another child. Or Tertia, who like me has twins, but wants one more, and just did her last unsuccessful FET cycle. Or Julie, who is now contemplating what her next move, if any will be now that she's decided that pregnancy isn't in her future. These incredibly brave women have put their infertility out onto the internet. They are all mothers of at least one biological child. They are all writing infertility blogs. They are all still infertile. But to whom? Do the primaries accept them as infertiles?

I do. I will always consider myself infertile. Of course, it's moot now since I'm in the throes of menopause, but still, even if I could still procreate, which I can't, it wouldn't be without a lot of help, a lot of injectable medications, and a lot of misery. Infertility sucks. Whether or not it's primary, it is still painful.

I guess the whole Redbook thing bothered me for a couple of reasons. I think Redbook was wrong to hire two secondary infertiles to blog about infertility. One, yes. Two? Not a great idea. Now, when Julia started she wasn't pregnant, but she was a parent. Now she's not only a parent, but pregnant with what look to be very viable twins. Which is wonderful news, and I don't think anyone wants Julia to disappear from the Redbook blog. Her story is too compelling, her writing is too good, she's just too exciting to depart. But this other blogger, Lili. Well, we don't know her, and her first post talks about coming back after maternity leave. Talk about a stab in the heart of a primary. Had I been a primary and read that, I would have been in tears.

I think Redbook should reconsider who is blogging for that particular blog. My feeling is, they should keep Julia and Lili for another blog called Parenting after Infertility. There are a ton of issues that come up after years of struggling for kids. Infertile parents often have massive amounts of guilt when the get angry at their kids. They tend to not believe in themselves as parents because their fertility was so out of control.

But I also think the readers need to give Lili a chance. Geeze, one post and they're out to hang her. Reminds me of a certain forum I used to read. It's important not to dismiss her out of hand just because she was successful in her bid to become a parent. She's still infertile. She still has PCOS. She still will have trouble conceiving any subsequent kids. Yes, she's not a primary and that's an issue that I won't deny, but she IS infertile and she deserves a chance. Everyone deserves a chance to prove themselves.

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Blogger JaniceNW said...

You know what confounds me? The way women can rip into other women without empathy or even an attempt tp understand one another. SAHM vs. Working moms. Breast versus bottle. Primary infertility versus secondary. I just wish women would be kinder to one another. Being 45 I have so much more tolerance than I did 20 years ago. Now I believe in live and let at least in personal issues. Politics I'm always gonna be a bleeding heart liberal. ;)

10/7/07 12:32 AM  
Blogger Ada said...

This was so excellent. We have a child and it was so easy to conceive the first time. Now, it's not so easy. Three miscarriages later and I still feel like I can't talk about it to anyone who is also trying because "I should be happy with what I have".

Thank-you for this.

10/7/07 4:05 PM  
Blogger Princess Peach said...

I completely agree with Janice. We, women should be supporting each other instead of dividing.

10/7/07 10:15 PM  

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