It’s time for a sharing circle, Persephoneers. We talk a lot about motherhood around here, and the choice to not be a mother. Today, we’re going to chat about those of us who aren’t in either the happily parenting or happily childfree demographic.
Today, we’re going to be talking about those of us with the baby blue and pink “I” on our chests, the Infertiles.
Both our moms and childfree writers have mentioned the pressure and judgement they’ve felt because of their choices; I’m here to highlight a few things I’ve heard as a result of my lack of choices.
I’m not one to tell people how or what to think, usually, but I would appreciate it, personally, if everyone who reads this blog post never says any of the following phrases. Not just around your infertile friends, either. If a jerk falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, he or she is still a jerk.
1. It’s God’s will.
Translation: God thinks you would be a terrible parent, so has done the proper thing and rendered you sterile.
Proper response: “Fuck you, that’s a really shitty thing to say.”
Okay, maybe responding with a “fuck you” isn’t the classiest choice, but for the love of unicorns, if this God goes around arbitrarily sterilizing perfectly lovely people (or anyone), He seems like an asshole.
2. My (sister/aunt/cousin/friend/lady in line at the store) (had/did/used) (IVF/a surrogate/fertility drugs/a four-leaf clover) to get pregnant, have you tried that?
Translation: Let’s talk about your ladyparts as if we were exchanging recipes or talking about Dancing with the Stars.
Proper response: “Did you conceive your children in missionary or doggie style? Oh, the mechanics of how you got knocked up isn’t civil conversation? MY BAD.”
3. Why don’t you just adopt?
Yes, it did practically rain orphans for the good-hearted Ma and Pa Ingalls to take in and raise on Little House on the Prairie. Movies and TV make it looks like couples and singles, even those not living in 19th century America, can adopt a baby or child as easily as they could pick up a loaf of bread at the grocery store. This is not the case. The complexities of adoption are worthy of a post, or series of posts, on their own, but here are some bullet points.
- Adopting a healthy, typically developing baby or toddler is nearly impossible except for those wealthy enough to afford private adoption or the religious. God is apparently very serious about who gets to become a parent.
- Adopting at all can be and is hindered, in various states and countries, for prospective parents who are gay, single, disabled, not sufficiently wealthy, not sufficiently healthy, too old, or too fat(!).
Adopting an older child, or a child with special needs, is much less involved and has fewer requirements for adoptive parents. The flipside of this is that not every prospective parent is up to the task of raising a child with special needs – and that’s okay, I’d prefer our most vulnerable kids go to homes that want and are prepared for them. Not every prospective parent is up to the task of adopting an older child, either, and I think that’s okay too. Sure, it’d be fantastic if every infertile wanted to adopt a family full of hard-to-place kids, but being an Infertile doesn’t automatically make you an Ingalls.
Proper response: “…”
4. I feel so sorry for you, you’ll never really know what it feels like to be a woman.
Translation: We’re sorry, the requirement for the Real Woman merit badge requires you grow a human in your uterus.
Proper answer: “Thank God I’ve got friends who can tell me all about it with their Facebook updates.”
5. I’ll pray for you.
Translation: Only God can help the barren.
Proper response: “If I grow another uterus, you’ll be the first person I call.”