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!


Polly Gamwich said...

I hear ya! I feel like I make people feel uncomfortable ... and if given the choice I wouldn't have been the one to deal with $$$ fertility treatments - so easy for people to say "then don't, just adopt" when they're on their third kid.

Hope you're doing ok. Good to see you update!

Lost in Space said...

I am right there with you!! It is so easy for others to judge the already difficult choices we have to make dealing with IF. Sorry you have lost some friends along the way too.

I think you are just the woman to get the fertile march started. Glad to see you back in blogland.

Miah said...

I agree with it being "the other -ism". Infertility matters and is a huge piece of my current life. Sorry you have lost friends. Some people find it easier to let go then to show some form of empathy.

Miah said...

I tagged you. You can check my blog for details. Don't worry if you don't want to do it or have before.

Freyja said...

To quote the Stirrup Queen, I think you are "spot-on".

I read your most recent post on FF about not renewing. Just so you know, there are 10 or 30 of us that also post on a free site called Loungeplace. There is a private IF forum there AND there are more than a few ladies in their late 30s or early 40s AND there are several who have been through many rounds of failed IVF AND there are several who are moving into adoption. So it isn't just the "newly infertile". If you're interested you're welcome to join us. Just mention me in your post on the Introductions board and someone will direct you to the IF board.

HUGS sweetie.

Polly Gamwich said...

Hey lady,

Can you update your blog? I mean ... I'm not trying to harp on you ... I just know about CCRM and am wondering how things are going??!!??

Take care,

Polly Gamwich said...

I know you said that you're just about done with blogging ... but I still come to check up on you.

I stopped my VIP w/FF awhile ago ... so this and the ivfc board are the only ways to keep tabs on you (tho I don't know where to find you on there) ... I hope everything is going ok.

Please email me at PollyGamwich at yahoo dot com to let me know how I can stalk you!!!!

Oh and one last thing ... if you are abandoning your blog, perhaps you should tell your success story as the final post, so that infertiles who run into it will know that you were finally successful! Throw us ladies a bone, don't you know!