Ok, so originally this post was going to be about me walking away from the infertility community but since I never give up easily on anything that I have a passion for I’m going to stick around. I’m going to address something that I know is an extremely sensitive topic in the infertility community. I’m taking a risk that some people on both sides may take offense to some things discussed in this post but I think it’s worth it if it engages a useful dialogue.
From time to time there will be members of the infertility community who will get pregnant leaving others to feel isolated. If you are someone still trying to have children it hurts but if you’re someone who has moved on it can open the wounds left by infertility. It’s an unfortunate situation of people being hurt not necessarily because of others but because of things out of everyone’s control.
Recently a good friend of mine became unexpectantly pregnant. She is an outspoken advocate for all in the infertility community and has an amazing heart. If anyone deserves something like this it’s her, her husband and their son. I am extremely happy for her and her family. However, though I was happy for her and her family there was a part of me that was hurt. It’s not that I was hurt by her or her announcement. It was that I knew that what they were able to achieve is something that K and I will never be able to. That isn’t her fault or her husband’s fault nor is it mine.
Though I didn’t lash out at her there were others who are childless/childfree who were. They felt that the timing of it being announced around the holidays and how it was announced was done w/out regard for how others would feel. That couldn’t be further from the truth because I know she would do everything in her power to take away their pain. Sitting back and watching the dialogue on Twitter was awful. I felt awful for my friend and felt awful for others who were obviously hurting. They weren’t bitter like some people accused them of being they were flat out hurting. It was a shitty situation all around. But I’m not sure if it’s something that can ever be avoided.
The people who do go on to get pregnant and have their happy ending fall into three groups when it comes to their views on those who end up childless/childfree. There are those people who are empathetic who understand (my friend falls into this category). There are those who don’t quite get it but try their best to understand. I love these people because they are open minded ask questions and truly want to help. They have amazing hearts and are amazing people. They’ll always be your friend and there to support others. Then there are those who will never get it who are closed minded who just see the childless/Childfree as bitter people who need to suck it up and that they gave up. Yes, we are bitter at times but the reason for it is not because “they have what we want” (as some woman put it on Twitter recently) it’s because it triggers our most painful wounds from infertility that will NEVER fully heal. I’ve had people in this group unfollow me on Twitter in some cases it’s because I lashed out out them unfairly in other cases it’s because they wanted to distance themselves from something they don’t want to go back to or frankly I don’t think they care about now that they have their happy ending.
This all has me wondering whether there is a place for those who are childless/childfree in the infertility community. While I do think all voices are important with the majority of people in the infertility community moving onto become parents of kids they conceived there are always going to be pregnancies that trigger bad memories for those who move onto become childless/childfree. Some say that the answer is that those who are triggered should just mute or unfollow those who are pregnant or have kids. Others say that those people who are pregnant or use hash tags should watch how they say things. But are these solutions or just band aids to a issue that cannot ever be resolved? What good is a community where people have to be muted or watch their language? Is that a community that is inclusive of all voices?
I lean towards the solution that those who have moved onto living childless/childfree don’t belong in the infertility community. That’s not anyone’s fault I just think it’s what’s best. People who go onto have their happy endings shouldn’t have to walk on egg shells. On the other hand people who have moved onto living childless/childfree deserve a safe place where there are no fears of seeing surprise pregnancies and have the Happy Ending they were never able to achieve. I don’t think it’s possible for these two groups to exist in the same community w/out there being people who are vulnerable get hurt.
People who get pregnant or become parents after infertility need support and so do those who move onto childless/childfree lives. Because of the nature of what infertility does to us by bringing out the worst in us (topic for another blog piece) I don’t think it’s possible for both groups to support one another fully the way they need to be. But maybe things can never be perfect and this is just the best it’s going to be. Maybe the childless/childfree walking away doesn’t do anyone any good. Maybe we all just need to hear things that make us feel uncomfortable on both sides.
I’m interested to hear/read everyone’s feedback no matter if you’re pregnant, a parent, going through treatments or childless/childfree. All opinions, thoughts and ideas are welcome.