Life Family and the Pursuit of Sanity

or… adventures in infertility and babies and family drama!

A Comment on Infertility April 1, 2010

Filed under: Blogging,Infertility — arminta @ 8:54 pm

A post that I wrote quite a while back, Infertile Women are Crazy, is one of the ones that consistently gets some search engine traffic from people Googling “Infertile Women are Crazy” or some slight variation thereof. One thing that this post does not pick up, though, are comments. Until this weekend. I approved the comment and it is visible on the original post. It is rather negative and I did consider not approving it, but the author didn’t make any jabs at me or attack all infertile women in general (at least not directly), so I went ahead and approved it, because people can have opinions that don’t jive with mine, as long as they’re not mean about it.

So… here it is:

My own experience dealing with infertile women has been rather nasty. Maybe because I have a baby and they don’t, although they have no clue if I had problems getting pregnant (I didn’t). A used to be very good friend of mine who had a miscarriage told me that I and her sister (both stay at home moms) don’t “do anything all day”. Not sure why she “knows” what any mom does or does not do, she is not a mom. I know someone who wants kids but doesn’t have them tell me her niece was “her baby”. No, if you have a niece, you are the aunt, not the mother. She is forever talking down about her sister in law, and how incompetent she is as a mother. I will tell you from first hand experience, being a mother seemed so much easier before I had a child! And I think most parents would agree with that.

My husband and I started avoiding this couple who we suspect had fertility problems, they were forever telling us what to do with our baby, criticizing us, and other mothers. They were so very bitter. I guess they thought the world “owed them” a baby, and since they had been married for years and wanted children and didn’t have any, their next best thing was to condemn every single action of every single parent.

I do wonder if these infertile women also belittle women who have bigger houses, more exciting careers, etc, than they do, or do they just complain about women with children when they don’t have any? Infertility must be a horrible thing to experience first hand, but I don’t see how being angry and rude to others is going to help the situation.

This is obviously one fertile woman’s take on infertility or specifically infertile women. I am choosing to believe that this is not a regular lurker who is familiar with my involvement with The C’s and is making a pointed statement in discussing the aunt comment.

I find it interesting that the take-away is:

  • Infertile women don’t know what it’s like to be mothers.
  • Infertile women attempt to become too involved in other people’s children.
  • Infertile women are overly critical of mothers.
  • Infertile women are jealous of others and/or feel that they are owed a child.
  • Infertile women are angry and rude.

Now, while this isn’t directly insulting, when you boil down to the message being conveyed is pretty judgmental. On the one hand, I do sometimes see myself in those statements, though.

I obviously have no idea what it’s like to mother a living child. I would like to, but I don’t. I do know that no matter how hard it is, no matter what else is going on there are certain absolutes. Things like not leaving kids in the car while going into a big store for a long period of time. Things like not drinking and driving, but especially with the kids in the car. These are things that I have criticized mothers of living children for. These are things I have criticized my sister for. These are things that anyone with any concern for human life, whether they have living children or not should see and point out and be ready to protect the children in their life from. I would not consider my becoming more active with The C’s during a time when their mother made choices such as those (+ worse) to be overly involved. Just as now that she’s making better decisions, I have become less involved. I also wouldn’t consider being critical of those choices/actions being overly critical.  Complaining about clothes not matching, or hair not being styled or something along those lines = overly critical. Complaining about a baby not being bathed in weeks = justified concern.

But, I will admit that I see myself even more in the jealousy and anger comments. I am jealous of women who can get pregnant easily and have never experienced their baby’s death. I am pissed off that six of my babies are not with me today. And, you know what? I do think I’m entitled to those feelings. I believe with all of my heart that I have every right to feel that way and express those feelings. I don’t have a right to be rude to someone else who is not to blame for my fucked up body, but I have the right to be jealous of her ease in procreation. Just like women who don’t want children have every right to be jealous of my inability to have children without medical intervention.

Anyway, that is my take on the world’s view of we the infertile. What’s yours?

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14 Responses to “A Comment on Infertility”

  1. Krystal Says:

    I think “fertiles” don’t have any idea what we go through, therefore, they only have their own experiences to go on. It’s not their fault that they are super fertile any more than it’s our fault that we’re not. Basically, I think it’s kind of an inability to see the other’s side.

    I think that, like most things, someone can have a bad experience with ONE infertile woman and have that image tainted for life. Much like people who claim to be Christians, yet do abhorrent things “in the name of Christ.” They ruin it for the rest of us.

    Maybe that makes no sense. I’m tired. It’s been a long couple of days.

  2. Jealousy- oh hellz yes I got it! However, I AM a mom, so does that make it ok for me to be critical of other moms?

    On that note, my hugest problem with “fertiles” is not that they have kids and I don’t- it’s the insensitivity. It’s the “have you tried this? or done that? maybe you should do this and this and relax and blah blah blah”. (they can’t stand that we may have advice on parenting even though we don’t have kids, but it’s perfectly acceptable for them to tell US what to do, despite that they most likely don’t know diddly squat about infertility, and for DAMN sure know less than those of us who’ve gone through/are going through it and oh I don’t know the fertility SPECIALISTS that we go to!) That’s when I get rude. I also find it highly unacceptable to have the double standard of it being perfectly fine to discuss how awful pregnancy is, and the inconvenience etc etc. I even had a woman tell me once (who KNEW that I was infertile and had lost a child) that having a baby was only worth it if the sex was good- but as soon as you start discussing injections and pills- THAT topic is off-limits for people.

    I think that woman’s comment, while considerably less full of vitriol than most I’ve heard is perfectly indicative of our society’s “blame the victim” mentality. I don’t want sympathy or pity for being infertile- but it really, truly bites my ass when people behave as though our “craziness” is our fault!

  3. Ali Says:

    I would also like to speak on sensitivity. My husband and myself knew a couple, no kids, whose relatives would constantly ask them “do you have some news you’d like to share with us?” They knew exactly what “news” they were referring to: are you pregnant yet? Of course this was very annoying to our friends, plus they had only been married a year.

    I have never once asked anyone without kids when they were having kid, did they want kids someday, etc. I figured if they wanted to talk about this subject (or any other), they would tell me. Plus, not everyone wants kids, can have kids, etc. That question is just too personal.

    When I was pregnant I stopped talking about it to my friend who had recently miscarried, I thought it would be rude to talk about it in the midst of that situation. I answered her questions when she brought the subject up, which understandbly was not often. Maybe that didn’t make it easier for her, but it was the only thing at the time I could think of doing that would be sensitive to her. I also told her I was always available to talk to her about that or anything, if she wanted.

    So when she called me about her bad day at work a year later, and out of nowhere told me that stay at home moms do nothing all day long, I was pretty taken aback. I think her point was more about me not having a full time job outside of the home, not being jealous of my baby and she still didn’t have one, maybe I’m wrong about that. But, I thought to myself “why was i so sensitive to your situation then, and now you are being the opposite of being sensitive to me”.

    I have heard infertile women talk a lot about fertile people not being sensitive to them, and I can only imagine the stupid questions and comments. But, if you want sensitivity to your situation, isn’t it only fair that you are sensitive to others as well?

    I have also read comments from infertile women, talking about how ugly their friend’s baby is, how fat that pregnant woman looked, etc. Pretty nasty stuff. Another infertile woman wrote that that was too low, irregardless of being infertile, there is no need to attack babies, pregnant women, etc. The next comments were all attacking this girl, saying she was stupid, had no sense of humor, etc. I didn’t know that infertiles would attack one of “their own”. One lady told her to “just shut up already”. The author of the blog never typed in to defend that one member. It was a cute blog that I stumbled upon and used to read, but I don’t anymore. Who wants to read all that negativity and infighting?

    I think there must be some really nice infertile women out there that wouldn’t criticize mothers or their kids. But I have to admit, if that is the first thing I learned of someone, I probably wouldn’t try to be friends with them, just based on my personal experience.

  4. Lisa Says:

    My 2 cents?

    There are so many generalizations out there. If I have a bad experience with one person, I’m not going to judge all like them in the same light because of that experience – fertile or not. There are lots of insensitive people out there and there are lots of people that say insensitive things but aren’t necessarily insensitive people.

    I am infertile. It sucks. I wish I was fertile and sometimes have envious and even jealous feelings towards friends who are fertile. I can’t help it. I want what you got. That doesn’t automatically make me someone who criticizes pregnant women and children. It makes me someone who wants children – and thats it.

    To say “I think there must be some really nice infertile women out there” as Ali says above is such an odd statement to me. There are plenty of really nice infertile women out there just as there are plenty of really nice fertile women out there. I’m sure it is hard hard work being a stay at home mom – I really believe that, and it sucks that Ali’s friend suggested otherwise. Ali gets to be a mom, though, and I can tell you that I’d give anything to be on Ali’s side of that conversation defending my decision to be a stay at home mom rather than explaining to everyone who asks us about having kids why “relaxing” doesn’t make babies and “just adopting” is necessarily a viable option for all of us infertiles out there.

  5. K Says:

    I think the hardest part of being infertile after the obvious not having a kid thing, is the judgments we have to face. This can leave us feeling defensive unfortunately. the “just relax” and “if its meant to be” etc etc. . . I can see myself in some of those statements as well. . . but I think its hard to sympathise with a woman who feels this way when you don’t know the hell, the sheer hell of wanting ac hild and not being able to have one.

  6. Yo-yo Mama Says:

    First, I want to thank you for taking the time to comment about my recent interview situation, a.k.a. “oh, shit”.

    I have to admit that this person’s comment could have been about me. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact I didn’t turn into a bitter infertile until AFTER I had my son, I would swear it was about me.

    I did/do talk smack about other parents quite frequently because too often it seems to me they act as if their children are a burden or a nuisance and they let them run roughshod like ferrel children. That’s just me as a mother observing other parents who let video games babysit their kids.

    But also, I went through hell and back and hell again to get my kids and while I have moments where I take that for granted, I am especially sensitive to women who roll their eyes over something their kid did or said because shit, how LUCKY they are and they don’t even realize it.

    I am angry about how UNlucky I’ve been. I probably always will be. And I’m sorry I can’t slap on a happy clappy face for everyone around me. I don’t owe anyone rainbow farts and certainly not someone who can’t understand what I or any other person who has suffered from infertility has gone through.

  7. Donna Warren Says:

    Its not true that all infertile women are angry and bitter at pregnant women. A lot of things depend on the situation. I know someone who has had seven children, and has a baby shower every other year. To be honest, I’m not jealous – I’m just tired of the constant gift grabbing. If you haven’t talked to me all year long, please don’t invite me to your baby shower. Fair enough?

    Also, most infertile women who badly want a child, do go on to have a child, either biological or through adoption. They don’t sit around cursing mothers for the rest of their lives. I don’t know any adults who are so crass as to talk about someone else’s child being “ugly”.

    Infertile women are persecuted in society, in some countries they are abused or murdered. They are made to feel useless if they can’t reproduce. My husband’s own family wanted him to divorce me because I couldn’t have children.

  8. Wendy C. Says:

    Arminta,

    I want to thank you for having the courage to write about what you’re going through. Your perspective sheds a lot of insight on some feelings that surround infertility. I can imagine how difficult it must be for those who cannot conceive and want very badly to do so. I currently work with someone who can’t conceive and I’ve always been very careful when engaging conversations with her that involve kids, or even more specifically, babies. I never initiate conversations like this with her, let alone contribute anything that would make her feel some kind of way. This is how I first learned that she was infertile. At a team outing after having several drinks, she and I were talking about girlie stuff – men, sex, etc. At one point we even talked about sexual positions among other things, so I felt comfortable enough to ask her if she was taking any particular birth control. After reading your post, I almost feel as though this could have been a slight invasion of privacy, but I only brought it up because I was mentioning some of the side effects I’d experienced while being on the shot. Anyway, she said very confidently that she didn’t take birth control and that it “used to bother her” but it doesn’t anymore. I immediately picked up one what she meant, I apologized and changed the subject. The rest of our evening went very well and everything picked up nicely the next time I saw her at work.

    That was almost 4 years ago. Today, I can see who she really is – a very mean spirited, jealous, spiteful, but hurt individual who really IS bothered by her infertility and it reeks in every way. I feel bad that almost 5 women who work very closely with us have become pregnant within the past year and she has found a way to exclude herself from the things that she once “wallowed in”. She never attends any of the ladies baby showers, which is understandable, but she also talks very negatively about them. I became pregnant about a year ago, but decided to abort very early at 5 1/2 weeks. I didn’t mention it to anyone besides my [now] husband, but I guess she could tell I was pregnant because my eating habits were different and I gained a little weight in my face. I weigh 117 and am 5’4″. Anyhow, after I aborted she started saying all these crazy things out of the blue like, “People better stop playing God,” and other things. Then once my husband and I married, she got reallllllly upset, most likely at the thought of us having a child. I tried to ignore her, thinking that she was just overly sensitive about things. But this is what took the cake. I do not wear short skirts because of an unsightly scar I got in a car crash. Lots of people wonder why I don’t wear short skirts since I am so petite and according to some, attractive – but after many remarks about how I just wear what I’m most comfortable in, people get the gist and just accept it and leave me alone.

    BUT not this woman. She senses that I am insecure about my legs, so what does she do? She pokes and prods at every opportunity, even when others are within earshot. She knows I NEVER wear skirts unless they are long, and she constantly asks me things like how short my skirt was going to be at the holiday party, or one day, “Oh girl, you aint nothing if you can’t show your legs!” I thought her behavior was very mean and it hurt me to know that she was trying hard to expose “my flaw” since I guess the world has realized by now what her “flaw” is. The thing is, I never talk down to women who can comfortably wear what I cannot. I compliment them easily and still desire VERY badly to wear short skirts and dresses. VERY BADLY!!!

    Then something happened that changed the course a little. One of the ladies at work who is in a lesbian relationhsip decided to get pregnant via AI. Well she had everything bad in the book to say about this woman and how “unnatural” her decision was. Everytime the pregnant woman would come by my desk to talk to me, I would congratulate her continuously, and raved about her pregnancy in a way that made the other woman very jealous. Everytime she would walk pass my desk on her way out, I’d look her right in the eye and say very chipperly, “Goodnight!”

    I admit that my actions were probably hurtful, but I felt that I had to stoop to her level to get her to understand that shit wasn’t cool. I was always cognizant of HER feelings in the beginning, but her rude and debilitating comments changed that. I still feel bad for her, because she is now 51, and what’s really hurtful is that women in their 40s are having babies like they are in their 20s. Regardless, it’s no reason for her to act mean to people because of her issue. I don’t. It IS ok for her to feel sad, and even a little envious at times, but to outright try to HURT people and MAKE them feel her pain is just not excusable.

  9. mika Says:

    Reading with interest your article, whilst this may be true in some instances..there are a lot of other women who are very dignified..although you can sense their plight..I personally think it is up to each individual to broach this sensitive subject carefully particularly if it is a close friend and refrain from having such a high handed opinion..life can so change at anytime..

  10. Wendy C. Says:

    Arminta, so do you think that I was being bitchy and not justified?

    • arminta Says:

      Not at all! I was saying that this woman is obviously a bitch, and probably still would be whether she had kids or not. People who prey on the insecurities of others and thrive on judgement are rarely unhappy (or “made” that way) because of their circumstances. Usually that’s who they are and their circumstances just add fuel to the fire.

  11. Wendy C. Says:

    Thank you. I could be wrong, but I believe that her actions are the result of her own feelings about IF. I could go on to say that she was not the first infertile woman I’d encountered, who in my opinion, was incredibly nasty – as was suggested by one poster in the intro of your article.
    I refuse to believe that all infertile women are callous, or are incapable of feeling emotion. That would be stupid and insulting. But I don’t see why it is so easy to chalk up other people’s bad experiences with infertiles to everything under the sun except the attitude and emotions driven by the person’s infertility.

    I get it. Childbearing can be, and is, a beautiful thing. It is a gift of live that is available free of charge. Age is not required and anyone (O+) can be a candidate. Education is not applicable and ethnicity and race are not required, but will rather be determined. It is something that we should all be afforded, but unfortunately, things are not always in our favor. I and many others could share with you similar feelings of exhaust and despair, and believe them or not, are just as devastating in our eyes and have the potential of crippling our lives if we allowed them to.

    There are countless blogs discussing attitudes amongst infertiles and fertiles, and neither seems to understand the other’s “side of the fence”—only their own. You prefaced this article with, “I approved the comment and it is visible on the original post. It is rather negative and I did consider not approving it, but the author didn’t make any jabs at me or attack all infertile women in general (at least not directly), so I went ahead and approved it, because people can have opinions that don’t jive with mine, as long as they’re not mean about it.”

    …..what was it exactly about her post that you found negative? It seemed to me that she was detailing her “not so positive” experiences with infertile women. Now, it would be silly to assume that all [IF] women’s negative behaviors can be attributed to their infertility, but I don’t think that dismissing them as being completely irrelevant is being honest.

    • arminta Says:

      You know her better than I do 🙂 I was just trying to say that some people are unhappy because of their infertility and some people are just bitchy and also happen to be infertile. Same for people who have never experienced infertility…

      I’m definitely not trying to to make excuses for anyone and I’ll be the first to admit that while we were “in the trenches” I was not always a pleasant person to be around and am guilty of having said and done things that hurt other people out of my pain. Then again, I’m not always a pleasant person to be around now (although, I think I’m better than I was). I also know plenty of people who have been hurtful (again, including myself) out of pain for a variety of reasons not at all related to reproduction.

      I guess my issue with the original comment that sparked all this is the generalization and judgement. To me every person is different and has their own reaction to the people and events around them so saying things like “infertiles are nasty” or “fertiles don’t get it” just riles me. I don’t get why we women have to “hate on” each other like that. This post definitely was never intended as an attack on “fertiles” at all.


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