Monday, October 26, 2015

A higher standard?

When you go through infertility it seems like there is something at every turn that causes pain.  You seek out support of those in similar situations.  These are the people who know the pain of an unexpected pregnancy announcement.  These friends know how a scan pic can ruin a day.  Newborn pictures.  Complaints about pregnancy.  These things and so much more can take you from ok to a an ugly cry in a millisecond.

Yet it seems, at least in my experience, that these very people, friends who know the pain of infertility, seem to forget it all the moment they get a positive pregnancy test.

Announcing a pregnancy on April Fool's Day.

Using a scan picture as a profile picture.

Posting weekly "bump" pictures on Facebook.

Complaining about the gifts that people buy them because the gift isn't exactly what they want.

I could go on and on and on.

All by people who know the heartache of infertility.  All people who just months or a year ago openly complained about these very things.  Yet now that they are pregnant they do the very same things that once caused them so much pain and heartache.

I guess that I hold friends who went through infertility and later ended up pregnant or wound up with their take home baby to a higher standard.  Normal people don't bother me (as much).  They don't know what it's like to see the months turn into a year and then into years.  They don't know what it's like to try every old wives tale to try to get pregnant.  They don't know what it's like to see a fertility specialist and all of the impossible choices that this brings.  They have sex, they get pregnant.  I can excuse them.  But not my friends who battled infertility and eventually got what we all wanted so badly.  They should know better.

Is it right that I hold them to a higher standard?  I don't know.  Probably not.  But I do, and I don't think that it's going to change anytime soon.


  1. I agree with everything you have written.

    My experience is that only very few deserve a higher standard. All the rest are just happy new parents or parents-to-be.... that are so absorb in current happiness that they forget just about everything else.

    I have a cousin, few years older. We were never close, but I had known her all my life.
    I knew that her battle to get her two children was long, she was trying to get pregnant for seven years and then one of IVFs finally worked out (important info in the family reach everybody I guess).

    I met her once in a library (she was carrying a toddler in her arms) and her first question was: "So, how are you? Are there any news???".

    I couldn't believe my ears... among all the people she should know better. I started telling her about picture perfect month we spent in Argentina. But both of us knew this was not what she was asking.


    1. I can't believe that she asked you that! I swear that they forget.....

  2. I have wrestled *big* time with much of what you describe here. In particular I, too, feel that women who have lived in 'unknowns' of infertility and the pain that accompanies should be held to a high standard whereas those who truly are ignorant get more of a 'pass' ... the insensitively and betrayal seem to cut deeper.

    1. Exactly! It does seem to cut deeper, because they know, Or at least they knew. Thanks for the comment and the shout out on your blog!

  3. I saw an example today. A woman who I got to know very well on the ectopic site - and who subsequently has stayed with me in NZ - posted a question to other mums/moms who hadn't worked for a while, and wanted to go back to the workforce. I wanted to make a pointed reply to her question (as I'm not working at the moment, and unfortunately haven't for a year or two) "not as a mom" ... I'm still thinking about it.

    On the one hand, I feel it's sad that they can't freely enjoy their pregnancies and being a normal parent, because we hold them to higher standards. But even as I write that, I think "why does 'normal' have to mean self-focused and insensitve?" So the other hand is yes, they should have learned something through infertility, and continue to make an effort.

    When you think about it, it isn't any different from coming through any adversity. For example, I believe that people who were poor, and made lots of money, shouldn't forget their roots, shouldn't forget the people who are still struggling, but should do what they can to make life easier for those who weren't so fortunate, whether through raising awareness or actual financial assistance. I see successful sportspeople help those at the grassroots level, successful people go back to their schools to motivate or inform students coming behind them. Why should we not expect parents who have been through infertility to remember where they have come from, and try to improve things for others?

    1. Exactly! I'm not asking for them to not celebrate their pregnancies or children or everything that comes with both of those things. I'm asking for sensitivity. I have two contrasting examples. The first is a friend with PCOS who finally got pregnant after I don't even know how many attempts with IUI over three years. She and her wife are just brilliant and are able to share happy news with minimal hurt. For example: "Had our xx week appointment today. Baby girl is doing great. Scan pics in comments." So that way I don't have to see the scan pics or at lest won't be surprised by it. Another infertility friend who eventually wound up pregnant currently has a scan pic as her profile picture. I'm ok with enjoying pregnancies, I just want a bit of sensitivity.

  4. Oh yes, this bothers me too, and I also tend to hold my former comrades in arms to a higher standard. I know I've told this story before, but a couple we know who went through infertility & loss and later adopted used to roll their eyes and complain about what a handful their daughter was, and then ask jokingly if we wanted to "take" her. I mean, seriously?? You're asking US?? :p

  5. When it comes from someone who doesn't know, it qualifies as general insensitivity and clueless-ness. When it comes from someone who is supposed to be in your tribe, it becomes betrayal.

    It made me think of my widowed friend - yesterday was her wedding anniversary and another widow sent her a FB message that said "It's going to be a happy day today - all smiles, no tears now!" That's about the dipshittiest thing anyone could say period, but it was worse for my friend to hear that coming from someone who knows what that day feels like and who is supposed to know grief.

    I've had unfortunate experiences with people in the community getting pregnant not understanding my very real need to detach and not be around them, and that it's for my own self protection, not an ill wish towards them. This has been frustrating because if the situation had been reversed, I would have had no trouble being respectful of the non pregnant person's needs and limitations. I think people who get pregnant in the IF community expect other IFers to be less bothered by their pregnancy because they had to work for it. This is quaint in theory, and I truly wished it worked that way, but for my nervous system it didn't make one damn bit of difference.

    1. You bring up a good point about expecting other IFers to be less bothered by a pregnancy. It doesn't make a damn bit of difference to me either. I guess I just have a bit problem with people doing the very things that months ago rocked them to their core just months ago. That makes them insensitive jerks and hypocrites.

      I can't even believe that someone said that to your friend. It would have been bad from anyone, but inexcusable from a fellow widow.

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