Triggering Day Part I: Becoming Extinct

Last week I was in Chicago on business and stayed an extra two days with K there. Overall it was a mixed week between work and the vacation. Both started well and finished on shakey ground. The vacation part is what I’ll share in this post and a part two to follow on another trigger.

Our last day in Chicago was spent mostly at the Field Museum. For those who are planning to visit Chicago, I highly recommend spending half a day there. There were many interesting exhibits to learn from though I’ll say the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit was disappointing. I expected more pieces on the technology at that World’s Fair. But that wasn’t where I was triggered.

The last exhibit we saw at the museum was on the Evolving Planet. By the name it’s easy to guess it was about evolution and the different stages our planet has gone through with life and climate change. Even though most of it I already knew from what they taught in school it was really cool to see….for the most part. In covering each of the stages our planet has gone through with life and climate the change to the next stage is marked by a mass extinction where the majority of life on earth became extinct.

While I was walking through this exhibit I started to think about my how me being born without the ability to produce sperm and thus unable to produce a child it has made me an “evolutionary reject”. The blood line that created me will stop at me. I will not be able to live onto future generations. When I die nothing from me will be passed down. It made me sad to think about it and how there is nothing I can do about it.

Those thoughts led me to think about something a woman by the name of Alana Newman talks about in her advocacy work for donor conceived children and against reproductive technologies. For those who don’t know Alana is a woman who was donor conceived. Her story is a very sad one but one that I think can be learned from rather than dismissed.

In a particular piece she wrote advocating against reproductive technologies being used by people she discusses the idea of people wanting children to achieve immortality. Taking it a step further she explains that there are two different types of immortality: genetic and memetic. Genetic Immortality is pretty self explanatory. Memetic Immortality has nothing to do with genetics and everything to do with passing on social values or advancements onto future generations. She uses the examples of people like Leonardo Da Vinci as someone who didn’t have kids who had memetic immortality.

The piece almost seemed as if she was trying to convince infertiles and other people unable to have a genetic child that they didn’t need to have kids to become immortal. As if we all have the ability to become Leonardo Da Vinci…..LOL. But then when she finished off the piece with the line that

Immortality is not an entitlement.”

it really bothered me. This is coming from a woman who was easily able to have children. With the work she’s done for the donor conceived she already had memetic immortality. So if memetic immortality is so wonderful and a lock to living on after we die without having children, then why did Alana decide to have children? Maybe it’s because the the chances of achieving memetic immortality without having children is very rare.

Maybe Alana is right that immortality isn’t an entitlement but it’s something that drives us to have children including herself. And coming from someone who was able to have children easily, it’s insulting to someone like myself who isn’t able to. When you feel like an evolutionary reject who was too weak to pass on it future generations it drives you to pursue alternative ways to parenthood. It doesn’t make me or other infertiles bad people, it makes us human.

Feeling like an evolutionary reject is a natural reaction to infertility. It weakens your self esteem by convincing yourself that you aren’t a good enough person to live on. There is a reason you weren’t meant to live on. That is what got in my head during this trigger and it isn’t the first time I’ve had these thoughts. I know I’m not the only person who is infertile who has felt this way and it’s triggers when you least expect it that bring out these feelings.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the only trigger I experienced during this trip to the Chicago Field Museum. I’ll discuss that in Part II……….

10 thoughts on “Triggering Day Part I: Becoming Extinct

  1. Angela Bergmann

    I just love when someone who has no problem procreating, tells us we are essentially meant to die off, or that we are being selfish by choosing to use 3rd party reproduction. Looking over her blogs, she isn’t just against donors, she is against assisted reproduction in any way, shape, or form. If for whatever reason you go the donor route, it ends up being no different then adoption in alot of ways. Except for the fact that you were willfully created in the case of a donor, as opposed to mistakenly created in the case of adoption.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      A, given her experience and been donor conceived I have no problem with her being against donor conception. My problem is with her objection to ART as well as her telling others including myself at one time that they should live ChildFree when she choose to have children.

      1. Angela Bergmann

        She’s free to have her opinion, it doesn’t make it any less wrong though. I really dislike her entire tirade essentially painting ART as being a selfish choice. It isn’t selfish to get chemo for cancer, etc. Why should creating life be any different. Especially when it is someone that not only chose to have children, but did so easily. She has NO IDEA.

  2. journeyformybaby

    Yeah that is a bunch of baloney. Ppl with kids have no right to tell ppl without kids that it is the way it was meant to be or that it is destiny etc. What makes fertile ppl think they’re so special anyway?!?

  3. thecommonostrich

    Admittedly, I only read a few of her posts, but I’m not down with this whole line of thinking. I dunno, it’s like saying that you should just roll over and die if you get cancer. Forget your irrational will to LIVE. Evolution says you shouldn’t be existing anymore, so suck it up!

    Science saves a lot of lives. Why shouldn’t it play a role in creating them?

  4. andthewindscreamsmary

    I agree with your point of view on this. I am not familiar with her or her work, so that was new to me, but until she has been in an infertile’s shoes and knows what it feels like she should just keep quiet! She shouldn’t dismiss everyone’s will or want to have a child or pass judgment on it.

  5. Cyn

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. Oh how often I’ve thought these thoughts and felt these feelings.

  6. Pingback: Triggering Day Part II: “That’s not your daddy” | A Few Pieces Missing From Normalcy – An Infertile Man's Perspective

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