A reality for some that brings many questions regarding sexuality, gender roles, self concept, social/cultural acceptance and a whole host of issues. A reality too that only those in the midst of it are able to make a qualified statement as to what infertility really means. It’s not just about the mechanical deficiencies, but it goes way beyond that.
When trying to exist in a world that holds such high regard for the ‘pregnant’ woman, when trying to be objective regarding ‘pro choice v pro life’ it’s difficult to develop spiritually or mentally when the one thing we take for granted is not available to us. Being labelled as ‘firing blanks’ or ‘barren’ are hurtful at best and destructive at worse. In a world where personal development is a relatively new phenomenon it’s easy to forget no everyone develops at the same pace or at the same time.
I asked the following questions –
If you and your perspective wife/husband had a fertility screen before you got married and one of you is found to have a defect making conception unlikely. Would you still get married? Both viewpoints please, if you had the defect and if your partner had the defect.
Thinking personally, does being able to produce eggs and carry to full term/fertilise eggs define YOU as a Woman/Man?
Does it matter if we are able to conceive naturally or not? Does parenting change depending on whether the child has your genes or not?
It was clear that we take our fertility for granted and no matter how we try to justify it, the bottom line was, ‘I expect to be able to get pregnant because I am built that way’ not until we are ready to conceive, do we start to worry about whether we can or not. A time when emotions are high, plans are being formulated for the impending conception and birth, the last thing we need to deal with is being stopped in our tracks as not having adequate equipment.
So there we are, ready to move onto the next expected life event of parenthood with the person we intend to spend the rest of our lives with only to find that one of us will be denying the other the joy of procreation, and on a personal level having to re-evaluate our concepts regarding our gender role. Many gave the ‘PC’ answer of ‘No’ it doesn’t, but for the people living this reality, there is a resonance in the ear of YES YES YES… being able to conceive is part of my right as a woman, yes it does define me. Regardless of any other achievement we make, being able to conceive, carry, bond with a new life, being able to be part of the process and rejoice in its fruition, is part of being a Man/Woman. We tend use generalisations when considering the question of fertility often because we have been fortunate enough not to have to deal with it on a personal level, ‘walk a mile in my shoes’ is a poignant phrase when trying to explain how you feel about being denied what inherently is seen as a God given right.
Parenting is a bit like marriage. Being married no more makes you a wife/husband than being able to produce children makes you a parent. It’s the ensuing journey that really measures your effectiveness and value.
Some people have strong political view regarding the state of the world we live in today, and choose not to subject their own offspring to it. They have the tenderness and love of a parent and would prefer to make the life of an already existing child, as comfortable as possible. However, despite how supportive we are of people who would love to produce biological children, we still tell them how much they are missing by not being able to do so. We berate those who choose not to have children as being selfish. I would ask, who is more selfish? Not child asks to be born, we don’t think to ourselves, it’s only right that we bring a child into this world so they can be exposed to it. We tend to think, I love this man/woman and to celebrate that I want to have a child. (if we even do any thinking, many of us just drift into parenthood and ‘make the best of it’)
If we feel we have much to offer, if we feel that the amount of love between ourselves and our partner is so bountiful that it should be celebrated and shared, as many stated, there are plenty of children crying out for it. Yes, it’s nice to have your own children. Yes, it’s an experience that has to be had in order to understand the euphoria it brings and the sense of completeness. However, having had that experience we should also know that the real joy comes with the experience of raising a child. Just as the real joy of a cake is seeing it eaten gustily, or the real joy of farming is knowing how many mouths are going to be fed.
Some may say, it’s easy for you to say, you have children. Yes I do. However, those children do not BELONG to me, I am but a caretaker for the universe. A vessel used by the elements to perpetuate life. My real value will be measured by the outcome of those children. Did I prepare them well for their own journey? Did I nurture them well enough for them to be healthy or be able to manage any health challenges they may have? Was I a role model for a grounded well rounded individual? These are the real issues that need to be met. Was I Man/Woman enough to put aside my ego, my emotional instability, my selfishness, and do what was important for the children?
When a seed is planted in a seedling patch, it get’s to a point where it needs to be replanted into rich soil that will sustain growth so it can meet it’s potential in the world of vegetation. So it is with children. A womb is simply a seedling patch. The home, the nurturing, the stability and security that goes with parenting is the fertile soil.
To those living the reality of ‘infertility’, change the way you see your problem and it will no longer be a problem. May you share the joy of parenting, with the rest of the world, with pride for it is parenting that measures your worth, not the seedling patch.