Posted On Facebook
2 hours ago…
“Just a quick PSA- THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK! I was having a conversation with a woman, while playing with her daughter. After her comment ‘You are amazing with her,’ she questioned if I had children, which I replied ‘No’, which then started her rant. ‘No offense, but I think it is so selfish when people choose not to have kids, especially people like you who seem to like them so much.’ I just blinked it off. People like me. People like me? People like ME? Clearly, she mustn’t mean people like me, who are suffering from infertility. In JUST the last 12 months alone, I have had 3 surgeries, 4 lost pregnancies, 5 surgical procedures. Had blood work and ultra sound appointments 3-5 times a week. Yes, a WEEK! I have a permanently bruised ass and stomach from having to get hundreds of injections, plus the crazy side effects that come with them. I have a forever broken heart, and an unbearable amount of guilt. Not to mention watching over $200k of medical bills roll in, which insurance DOES NOT completely cover. So, people like me? We do not choose not to have kids. My husband and I have physically, emotionally, and even partially financially drained ourselves just trying to have a child and start a family. I know you meant well lady- but you didn’t. You really, really didn’t. End rant.”
This Facebook status was posted by my friend, Lindsay. I read it while casually scrolling through Facebook and felt Lindsay’s pain coming through my phone. Pain, as she called it, “like being punched in the stomach. Or vagina. I’m not sure which.” I will add “uterus” and “heart” to that list of body parts. Screw it, who are we kidding…infertility hurts the core of your very being.
I met Lindsay through my husband. They worked a few stores down from each other in a mall. He would tell me how much I’d love her and how I should come visit and pop into her store and introduce myself. And of course, he was right. I visited with my rambunctious, then two-year-old daughter, Miriam. I was exhausted and not as talkative as I usually am. But I could tell Lindsay was awesome.
Lindsay played and ran and giggled with Miriam as they dove onto the couches for sale in the furniture store she managed. She was “one of those people” like the lady in Lindsay’s rant had said. “One of those people” who just soaks up all the goodness and love that oozes out of kids and reflects it right back onto the world.
I didn’t know about her fertility struggles just yet. She knew a little about mine. I had lost my toddler son in a swimming pool accident about five years prior to meeting her. Noah had been easily conceived. It was unheard of to conceive so easily at thirty-nine! When I entered the fertility world at forty-two years old, it was heartbreak all over again. And needles. And blood. And waiting. The waiting really is the hardest part.
I’ve met my version of the lady that Lindsay encountered. Women who didn’t realize they were talking to a very fragile woman. How could they? The most fragile often appear the strongest. Women who didn’t realize how blissfully ignorant they were to not know about infertility to the extreme that Lindsay and I knew about it.
Women who didn’t realize that telling me “You should have another baby! It’s better when they’re close in age!” made me sad. And how not dropping the topic after I’d politely agree “that would be nice” made me want to run to a dark closet until they were gone.
Women who said “You can always adopt. There’s so many kids in the world!” If only adoption were that easy. It is wonderful. But it is not easy.
My husband and I were fortunate. Even after suffering the loss of our son, Noah, I realize every day how fortunate we were to get to the finish line. To have a child again. No matter how we made that happen, the sensitivity and shaming is what I’m talking about here. The use of the word “selfish” is what really jumped out at me when I read Lindsay’s Facebook rant. The judgement. The “I know better than you” mentality.
Lindsay and her husband are not giving up. They are halfway through the fostering process to get approved and have just started looking into international adoption. A perfect world for them would be to adopt overseas, foster with intent to adopt and have a biological child as well. To a woman in the infertility world, this is the stuff that dreams are made of.
I’m begging you to step off your soapboxes, well-meaning or not. Or at least try to keep them closer to the ground. You truly never do know what people are going through. So be kind. Always.
Or if you can’t be kind, just be quiet.