Pregnancy

Unbearable: Apparently There Are Infertility ‘Rules’ That I’m Not Following

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rule breakerHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

Since I started talking to the world about my struggles getting pregnant, I’ve gotten a lot of amazing support from readers, friends and family. I’ve been comforted when things are going badly. I’ve been encouraged when I get a little depressed. I’ve been really lucky to have all this positive energy. But I’ve also begun to notice another aspect of attention that’s a little more daunting. It’s a tad hostile, a bit judgmental and it almost always begins with the phrase, “You of all people…”

“You of all people should be thankful for research about healthy pregnancies.”

“You of all people should be against abortion.”

“You of all people should be grateful for every second with the child you have.”

I, of all people, should be doing a whole lot of things lately.

I’ve talked before about the pressure that can come with admitting to friends and family that you’re trying to get pregnant. Sometimes you feel like it’s not just your own hopes crushing to the ground, you’re letting down all the other people who spend their time and energy praying for you as well.

That type of pressure is different from the one I’m struggling with lately. This “You of all people…” mess doesn’t seem positive or supportive at all. It seems like a set of rules that I should be following because I dare to want a child. It’s behaviors that other people expect I should have because I happen to be dealing with infertility.

A very close friend of mine has a beautiful set of twins that she conceived through IVF, after struggling for over a year to get pregnant. When we were discussing all the fun of new motherhood, she talked about the expectation that she love absolutely everything about being a mom, because people knew how hard she had worked to get there. “It’s like I can’t have a bad day because people will say, ‘Well this is what you asked for.'”

Of course she loves her children, just like all mothers love their kids. But normally we all allow that there are some aspects of motherhood that aren’t exactly pleasant or easy. Not sleeping in 36 hours with a sick infant is not fun. That doesn’t change no matter how long it took someone to conceive said puking newborn.

Her frustration reminded me a lot of my recent familiarity with, “You of all people…”

I’ve said before that my miscarriage reinforced my belief that a pregnancy is personal for every individual. It affirmed my pro-choice feelings. But I’ve had friends who normally don’t discuss the topic with me (knowing that we don’t agree), decide that now is the perfect time for me to change my views. Their reasoning normally includes, “You of all people shouldn’t want to see innocent babies aborted when they could be put up for adoption to families who want them.” The truth is that my infertility doesn’t make me want to enforce my beliefs on another person. It doesn’t change my opinion that pregnancy is private. But I guess that’s not what people expect.

While I love and adore my daughter with all my heart, every parent has moments when they wish for more personal time, or maybe just a vacation. It doesn’t mean I love my daughter less. It means that I want to be my most positive self for her. And yet, mentioning that I need a little down time can now be met with, “You of all people should want to spend all your time with your daughter. I mean, don’t you want another one too?” The assumption being that wanting personal time means that I don’t actually love my child?

My husband and I are trying to have another child, just like lots of other people out there. But life doesn’t stop being realistic for us. Our values don’t completely change. We’re still people, much like we were two years ago before we started on this endeavor. It’s sad to see our current problems used as a type of tool against us, to force us to behave in ways that someone else thinks we should. Personally, it’s sad to see my story manipulated so that someone else can try to make me feel guilty.

(Photo: Tamara Kulikova/Shutterstock)