Friday, April 11, 2008

Infertility, The Other -ism

When I think only of my own situation and the friends I've lost over the years of dealing with infertility and recurrent miscarriage I get down and wonder what I did wrong or how I could have maintained a 10+ year friendship with such uncaring people. I mean I was there for them during their pregnancies and NICU stays with the preemie babies and all the other things life threw their way. Why did they drop me from their lives after the last miscarriage and ensuing 2 years of not being able to get pregnant again?

Last night it hit me. It's like that commercial that says "Pork, the other white meat." It's "Infertility, the other -ism." It's like racism, sexism, age-ism, any case where people discriminate against those who are different than they are. So what do we call it? Fertilism?

A former colleague used the term PLU as a code for "people like us." I thought it was rather crude, but it did hit home that human tendency to want to surround yourself with others who are just like you. Personally I don't get it because I like learning new things and being exposed to different viewpoints and experiences. My husband and I chose a very diverse community in which to live for that very reason. However, it does help me get why those friends of ours who went on to build their families with 1, 2 or more kids eventually felt we didn't belong in their circle anymore. I guess in a way it makes it less personal, and I don't have to wonder what I did to lose their friendship.

I do have to say that "fertilism" is as ugly to me as racism, sexism or age-ism. I mean, it's not really within a person's control to be more fertile any more than it is to change the color of their skin, choose their gender or turn back the clock. Maybe it's time for another kind of revolution. One where we infertiles of the world stand up and demand our rights to be treated equally, to not have to hide our status, to not have to pay outrageous amounts of money for treatment because insurance companies won't offer coverage, to not have to sit back in silent pain while our fertile friends cast us aside like the onsies their kids have outgrown. Maybe it's time for our Million Human March or our Infertile Pride Parade. What do you think? I'm tired of being a second class citizen when it comes to my fertility!