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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Invisible Line of Infertility

For better or for worse, infertility does not discriminate. It knows no creed, gender, age, race, socio-economic status or political affiliation. As I look down the list of this month's (and every month's) ICLW participating bloggers, all I see is a sea of women (I would also include men, but I haven't see any yet) who are suffering quietly in real-life and hoping to find a voice in the virtual one. We support one another, commiserate, laugh, bitch, sometimes shed a few tears and even express genuine joy for much deserved pregnancies. And yet, I occasionally, notice an invisible line that forms, creating almost individual infertile groups in a subconscious race for who will have suffered most and deserved that child most when all is said and done.

You know the lines I'm talking about -- young vs. old(er); first vs. secondary-infertility; those who can conceive but can't maintain pregnancies vs. those who can't conceive without ART; those who are TTC naturally vs. the ones who have done countless ART cycles; those who are doing IUIs vs. those who are doing IVF; even the amount of years it has taken to conceive. Some of these "us vs. them" stances are overt, others are subtle, while many are hidden somewhere in the mess that infertility has left behind when it ravaged our lives.

But like family, as disfunctional as it always is, we are the first ones to come to each other's rescue regardless of our differences and the details of our journeys. I am honored to be sitting at the same table as all of you. Here, on this blog, I welcome each and everyone of you -- happy to help, discuss and listen. I'm sure it goes without saying that at the end of this ordeal, what we really want is to belong to the motherhood club and see each other's familiar faces at that same table, and toast as we acknowledge that we wouldn't have gotten there without this strong community.

Happy ICLW!

25 comments:

Mama Bear said...

I know, we have all different stories yet all share a common bond, its an awesome support system!

The Infertility Doula said...

I mistakenly deleted the following comment from MUMMY IN WAITING (ICLW #12):

What a wonderful post (and so very true!) I don't know that we deliberately draw a line or if it's just human nature to be drawn towards others in a similar situation to ourselves but I agree that at the end of the day each and every one of us is going through the same emotions that infertility brings regardless of age, where we are in our journey and what treatments we are pursueing. And I really hope to see us all succeed in one way or another. Happy ICLW week!

Hope said...

Thank you for your really inclusive post. It really touched me. I've only recently found myself on the IF journey, and I often feel very alone, because of the types of lines you are talking about. Your post reminds me not to draw them for myself.

(ICLW #123)

Just me said...

The further along I get in this process, whether it's good or bad, the more I find myself categorizing those in the IF boat. It's like I have my own personal spectrum, and am always trying to identify where I and others fall on that spectrum.

And I'll be honest- the further up on the spectrum I go, the more judgmental I get. I can't help but think, to those farther down, "You just don't get it." Just like I know I can never totally grasp how it is for those further along the spectrum. We can imagine. We can try to sympathize. But one can't really understand until one is there.

As much as I use this blog community, and as much as I appreciate all of those here, this is what makes me feel so alone sometimes.

ICLW

Sarah said...

Hi! I tried to comment over at Flucky Mom, but for some reason it wouldn't take :( Anyway, I agree about the lines, but I think so often we draw them around ourselves. I know that once I was having a conversation with a girl I went to high school with and I asked if she was working (her son is the same age as mine) and she said she wasn't but jumped into a big explanation, and I just thought now funny...I would feeling the need to explain why I DO work. We each feel judged sometimes, even if we aren't.

Cortney said...

You totally said exactly what I've felt at times! Sometimes I feel like I'm not "infertile enough" because it's only been two years, no losses (because there have been no conceptions), on my first IVF cycle, etc. But the support of this community as a whole has been wonderful!

(ICLW #54)

Esperanza said...

That was a wonderfully written post. Being someone who "only" tried naturally for a year and "only" experienced one ectopic pregnancy, I've always felt like I did not quite belong in the IF/pregnancy loss blogging community. Now that I have a daughter, I feel even more disconnected, even though I continue to read dozens of blogs of women who are still in the trenches and I comment on their posts every day. It's so true that many people "score" each other in a kind of "pain olympics" (the words of a fellow blogger) and that's a shame because everyone feels pain in this community and everyone needs support.

Thank you for writing this post. It is very much appreciated.

Esperanza (ICLW #95) @ esperanzasays.wordpress.com

PS - I'm having a book giveaway this Friday. Check it out on my blog.

Crossed Fingers said...

I totally know the line you're talking about and there are times I feel like I haven't "earned my badge" because I never needed ART or an RE - my OBGYN was able to help me get pregnant (hopefully this one sticks)

ICLW #115
http://lovelyladybump.blogspot.com/

infertilerevolutionary said...

Thanks for this post - despite my agreement with everything you said I still sometimes find myself drawing lines between myself and others in similar situations (ie I deserve it more than she does because I'm 32 and she's 42). Your post is a good reminder to reign in those tendencies.

Happy ICLW.

unaffected said...

I stumbled upon your blog today, and I'm glad I found it. TTC is such a struggle. I don't know what it would be like without the support of the internet (forums, blogs, etc), and I'm glad I don't have to know.

I do my best not to divide infertiles in to groups. I've found that my biggest struggle lies within my mind separating those who are TTC#1 (like myself) and those that are stuck TTC#3 or more. But at the end of the day, it's a heart-wrenching experience, regardless of the variables.

First and Only said...

Great post - at the beginning of this whole process I was so naive. I realize that all those people who never experience IF will never understand the pain that it can cause. I'm glad I've discovered this online community that totally "gets it".

Kakunaa said...

This is such a fantastic post. It really is so true. We are there for each other, but we are still in little groups. I have recently been finding myself suffering from something akin to survivor's guilt. Within a year of diagnosis, we did the one and only IVF cycle we could afford and were successful. No other cycles. But the 2 years leading up to it were hell. Still, we were so lucky compared to others, and I feel guilty.

ICLW #90

JJ said...

Loved this...and I agree--I couldnt imagine my journey along the IF path without this amazing community!

Kristin said...

What a great post. I think the biggest thing for us all to remember is that if we turn it into the Pain Olympics, no one wins.

~ICLW #18

Laura said...

Beautiful and so true.. I often think of that invisible line and find myself doing exactly what you have so eloquently described. This should act as a reminder to raise above our differences and see ourselves as one big family.

Alex said...

Beautiful post - thanks for all you do!

jrs said...

great post.

thank you for stopping by my blog

iclw #2

April said...

You have nailed it with this post. This is a community and like any community, we have our ups and downs, but in the end we are all here for each other.

ICLW

Pixie said...

Yep, we sure do seem to sort people into groups. I think it's part of human nature and don't take it personally. What's really important is that we are able to rise to the occasion and help one another out, whether they are from our group or not. Thanks for a thought provoking post! And happy ICLW.
Pixie--
Cheese Curds and Kimchi

lady pumpkin said...

Well said. I don't know where I fit into this group of which I both wish I weren't a member and am so glad I am. Your pointing out these divisions is really important.

Sarah S said...

Great post!!

Thanks for sharing!

ICLW #100

missohkay said...

Thanks, as always, for your really thoughtful comments on my blog. You've written a wonderful post here, and it's also inspiring to read all the comments from people who feel the way I feel.

RELH said...

Well said!

ICLW #49

Reagan's Mommy said...

Great post. I still sometimes feel like there are people who believe I am less of a mother because I did not birth my child. I don't feel that way but sometimes I think I hear a whisper of that in some things that people IRL say. Happy to "meet" you through ICLW!

foxy said...

Nicely said. I definitely find myself looking for others who have a similar story to mine. And I notice that there are sub-groups of bloggy friends that form here in this community. But really, this is the most incredibly supportive and loving and accepting group of people I have ever met. The empathy and kindness is really something to experience - and breaks down so many barriers and lines. If anything, this experience has made me so much more empathetic of others regardless of the source of their pain.

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