This morning I woke up to a tweet which was totally unexpected but hit home nonetheless.
We went on to have a brief conversation on Twitter about the subject and we both agree that something needs to change. Well, change starts with me and so here goes nothing.
I met and fell in love in my mid-thirties. He is a wonderful man and I wouldn’t trade him for anything. We got pregnant several times and miscarried every time. No one speaks about the pain of miscarriage or the devastating and lingering emotional scars it leaves. When women do talk about it, it is always in the context of “don’t worry you can get pregnant again” or “time heals all wounds”. Getting pregnant isn’t easy, isn’t quick, and isn’t simple for a silent, unspoken of portion of society. Time eventually makes the wound fade, but it doesn’t heal. You don’t forget about the children you failed to nurture into happy and healthy people. You eventually stop trying to become pregnant because the emotional turmoil is so devastating there is only so much you can take.
Families, friends, religious institutions, and society in general doesn’t know how to deal with or treat infertile couples. You quickly become an outsider looking in on your own family, through no one’s fault. Families inevitable involve children and their challenges and accomplishments growing up and when you have nothing to contribute to the conversation, it is natural for you to not be included. Parents eventually grow up to be grandparents and once again you are left out of a family bonding experience you are incapable of being a part of.
I have one sibling and two first cousins (that we were close to growing up), all male. Out of the four of us, I was the one everyone thought was the natural parent growing up and yet, they have nine children between them (three energetic boys and six girls). I am the one on the outside looking in, which is not someplace I ever expected to be when we were younger. Don’t misunderstand, I love all of those nieces, nephews, and cousins more than words can say but they are not our children. They have parents and grandparents who love and adore them. The hubby and I are the eccentric, childless aunt and uncle they see every once in a while.
Society is hell bent on preventing pregnancy and telling woman that you can wait indefinitely to have a child. When did a career transplant a family and children as the ultimate goal? From the lowest paid to the wealthiest paid, no one is going to wish for another day at work as they lay dying. Family is important and it is far more rewarding than any career can ever be. Don’t wait, don’t say “timing isn’t perfect” or “maybe next year”, because you know what? Timing will never be perfect and you will always regret putting off having a family if it turns out you simply procrastinated too long.
What society doesn’t tell you when the preach about teen pregnancy and having a career, is that you are quite possibly trading your biological ability to have children for a career. I’m not advocating teenagers being pregnant before they graduate from high school and I’m not advocating getting pregnant just to get pregnant. I am however advocating that women realize that if children are something they want in their lives, it isn’t a decision that can be put off indefinitely. Your biological clock ticks and screams at you as you age for a reason. Listen to the clock, don’t hit snooze indefinitely and expect that your body will be cooperative as you age.
So, there you have it. I am forty-five years old and too old now to conceive a child without great risk, assuming I could get pregnant at all. I am an infertile woman. I am an island unto myself because other women like me have learned it is easier to fade into the background then try and gain awareness. I’m not expecting the world to change or for society to change overnight. But just remember, next time one of your friends tries to speak about the pain of miscarriage or the struggle to become pregnant that she very well may have no one else to speak too. Don’t shun her or offer platitudes, listen and be there. Infertility sucks and it is worse when you feel isolated, alone, and ostracized.