The Power of Privilege and Making a Difference in the Infertility Community

There have been so many things on my mind with regards to infertility lately with all that’s happening within the community.  There’s been conflict and divide among those who have gone on to have children and those who are still in the trenches or have moved on from trying to conceive a child.  So many times messages get lost and people are misunderstood.  They use the wrong words and even though the intention is good the message comes out all wrong.  Personally I’ve done a lot of reflecting and tried to think of ways to connect to everyone.  It has been tough for me doing that with the internal struggle that I’ve been working through which unfortunately got more difficult last night but I will save that for another piece that I am going to wait to post.

One concept that has been brought up by those like myself who have either moved on from trying to have kids and those in the trenches is that those who have gone onto have children are privileged.  The feeling is that they are lucky and have something that others lack.  Before going further, lets examine the meaning of the word privilege:

1. a right, immunity, or benefit enjoyed only by a person beyond the advantages of most
2. a special right, immunity, or exemption granted to persons in authority or office to free them from certain obligations or liabilities
I used these two definitions because I think they highlight two different ways those who are privileged can use their privilege.  One way is a person can use their privilege to do something good to help others.  The second way is a person can live with their privilege and not look back as to what it was like when they didn’t have that privilege.
In the infertility community that idea also applies.  There are those who are privileged who go onto have children who stick around in the community to help others work through infertility.  Then there are those who don’t ever wish to go back to that deep dark place.  I don’t fault these people for not wanting to go back to that deep dark place.  They aren’t bad people and it has nothing to do with them not caring for others.  But those who are privileged who use their privilege to help others like my friend Jay and I woman named Cristy I recently connected with through Jay.
These people who use their privilege to help others are truly special people in the infertility community.  They could have easily walked away after they got their happy ending but instead of stuck around to make a difference in others lives.  In Jay’s case she not only has dedicated part of her life outside of work to helping others but has also dedicated her career to doing so.  They are the type of people that people like myself and others who are either still in the trenches or have moved on from trying to have kids need to work with.  They have the power just as we do to close that divide between us.  There will be times when they may not get us but we need to recognize that they will always try.
At the same time, I don’t think people who have similar situations as I do should look down upon or attack those who have privilege who walk away from the infertility community.  We should respect their decisions and wish them well.  It takes a special strong person to stick around this rough place and that isn’t a knock on those who don’t.

8 thoughts on “The Power of Privilege and Making a Difference in the Infertility Community

  1. Fertility Doll

    I think sometimes it’s not that people don’t want to stick around and help but life has a way of sucking you in and grabbing you away from communities that you once had time for. As a Londoner I’m always screaming ‘Where did the time go?’ as life is so rush, rush, rush.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      But isn’t that just saying that those without children don’t have lives? That they should be involved because they have the time and those with kids are too busy and important to be spend the time to be involved?

      People like Jay and Cristy are parents who make the time. To me if it’s something you care about and want to help you make the time. But that’s just me.

      1. kiftsgate

        I can only speak for myself, but sometimes people take distance for no particular reason. I don’t feel the need to take distance because it reminds me of painful times. I had very painful times, but I don’t feel the need to forget them or put them aside. Nor do I cherish them. For me they are just there and part of me and my life. I still want to follow what is going on in people’s lives so I still read posts and tweets and comment when I have something to say.
        I have been a bit absent lately but It’s also not that I don’t make time for it anymore. I have been in a place with almost no internet for 2 weeks and then I was e.g. trying to catch up with laundry because my FIL’s place smells of chimney and we had to re-wash all our clothes etc. Sometimes really it’s life (not pregnancy-related life) which eats your time.
        So, although I am not Jay or Cristy, I want to let you know that I’m here and think of you.
        PS: there are also other parents who make time. I think you do mix up a little bit friendship/personality with availability. There are people who get us more/we get more than others in the IF online community as in life in general…

      2. gsmwc02 Post author

        I hear what you are saying but that’s not what I am referring too. Yes, I agree that sometimes life gets in the way where we can’t be here all the time. I’m referring to those people who are heavily involved in the infertility community get pregnant, have a baby and then disappear from any activity in the community.

        I agree that there are a lot of people who are pregnant or who are parents who are active (including yourself). I could name them all but these are two people who stood out to me lately. I apologize if it was felt that I was implying that these were the only two.

      3. Fertility Doll

        No i think that’s a defensive argument – nobody is more ‘important’ than anyone else. What I’m trying to say is that life isn’t so black and white to put people into boxes. When you’re a carer – whether it’s to ageing parents, children, disabled relatives – the time that was once your own can be shifted around by others as you’re meeting their needs. My viewpoint comes from being a guardian for my nephew who has learning difficulties. I try to maintain a balance but what I plan as X amount of time to spend helping him often overruns. We only have X amount of hours a day. Sometimes you do care about something but you end up having to prioritise because ‘making time’ just isn’t option. I just wouldn’t want to brand those who do pull out of this online community with the same ‘don’t care’ brush because we truly can’t assume everyones circumstances.

      4. gsmwc02 Post author

        I’m not branding all of those who pull out of this online community as not caring. I’m branding those who were active who become pregnant or parents who pull out of this online community who aren’t doing it to protect themselves as not caring anymore because they no longer have a use for it now that they have their happy ending.

        I don’t deny that things in life come up and take up our time. But I don’t think it’s fair for the burden to carry the load in the infertility community to those still in the trenches and who have moved on w/out children. We don’t have the privilege of having a happy ending and receiving something in return for all that we’ve given to others. We don’t expect anything in return for what we give but it would be nice for those who have received their happy ending to give back.

  2. Kitten

    I’m glad you’re focusing on the positive, on the individuals who stick around to help others through their journeys. The role isn’t for everyone, which is why I’m a bit more forgiving than you of those who choose to leave the community once they become parents. Yes, I wish everyone would stay, but it’s not realistic or fair to expect that. Some people just aren’t equipped, and I’m happy to help them, even if they don’t stick around to return the favor.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I wasn’t forgiving in the past of parents who left but thanks to you I now know their reasons why and respect them. Thank you so much for helping me understand that.


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