How to speak

I got embroiled in a heated online discussion recently.  The gist of it was whether or not people should turn off pregnancy tickers when posting on an infertility message board – I’m sure you’ve seen it all before.  One of the comments stated that I was a hypocrite trying to speak for infertiles when I have two children.  I get that.  I really do.  No matter what I have been through, I have made it.  And making it is what it is all about, it is what alienates one group from the other.

Since I have had Anna, I have realised even more how awful my life would have been never to have had her.  And then some days I find it hard to remember exactly how painful it was before, how much of a struggle it was to get through the days.

So, should an infertile survivor have any role to play in the infertility community?  In the general public as an infertility commenter?  I’m not looking for supportive comments saying “After what you’ve been through…” etc, I am really just interested in people’s views from both sides of the divide as to how they perceive those who have had children.

I should add that I have spoken to this commenter and completely understand where she is coming from – not everyone will know my history (why should they?) and will see someone with two children talking about how awful it is not to be able to have children.

37 Responses to “How to speak”

  1. Deborah says:

    Jaysus, I’m no expert, but wouldn’t you think people would want to hear from someone like you? You’re that glimmer of hope that they too can get there? Of course some people might resent that, but really, that’s their problem, not yours. You’re an expert in the area, not because it worked out for you, but because of what you’ve been through. I’m sure there are plenty of experts that it didn’t work out for. All your experiences count for something regardless of how “successful” they were. Just my two cents.

  2. Oh this is one of my biggies!

    I can’t stress strongly enough how important I think it is that you, and other successful survivors continue to speak and help others.

    There is far too much silence surrounding the subject as it is.

    We need people with experience and knowledge to help us along the way, and who better?

    In fact I find myself a bit insulted when people who have been so vocal about TTC and infertility suddenly stop talking about it once they have been sucessful.

    I’ve rambled on about this in the past myself, but the most intersesting thing I thought were the responses.

    There were some interesting reasons as to why people don’t speak about it afterwards.

    http://xbox4nappyrash.blogspot.com/2008/06/or-maybe-not-enough.html

  3. Sinéad says:

    Of course you should be entitled to speak about this. Regardless of whether you have one or 10 children now, you suffered infertility for years, went through various treatments and became something of an expert on the subject. Why would anyone NOT want to hear all the advice you could offer – which could be a huge help – purely because you successfully managed to have a child?

    I find that hypocritical.

    I understand also, that people are hurting and it’s a painful subject, but your years of infertility will never be cancelled out by the fact that you eventually had another child, and it’s very patronising and arrogant of anyone to assume that.

    Hope the little one is well.

  4. Artblog says:

    I agree, I’d like to think people are looking for “inspiration” to get them through the rough times, I know a lot of infertile bloggers stayed with me during my pregnancy for that very reason.

    Funny that I should be the bearer of hope, but as you said, we made it, so we can be. Some people just like wallowing in their own misery, best left to wallow then so we can spend our time with those that need it!

    X

  5. deno says:

    I agree with Xbox, it’s a bit insulting when people have been very vocal about ttc and infertility suddenly stop talking about it once they have been successful. You see that all the time. Maybe people stop because it is too painful to go back to those bad memories, that I can understand. I also understand the bitterness one can have towards someone who has one or two children, when you have none at all. We cannot comprehend how they feel, because our struggle began after we had a child. They are two very different things. It’s a very good topic to bring up and I hope to see more honest responses.
    P.S. I am 11 weeks 4 days. Nuchal scan and blood results are this Thursday (((gulp)))) I am not sure if I should go ahead with the CVS test, did you?
    Hope all is well with Anna.

  6. Fiona says:

    Xbox – very interesting. I tend to find that the more people have been through and the more they have been involved in the infertility community, either online or IRL (although most I know are online), the less likely they are to try and put it behind them. I suppose it’s because they still have access to support and also because they have the ability to help others. As long as infertility continues to be misunderstood by the general public, there is need for a space to vent and be heard and that is something I still need.

    I don’t want to go on about it too much, but I am so happy right now – I have everything I could want and nothing can phase me, nothing is a hassle or unbearable now that I have the family I dreamed of. The only thing I have allowed bother me is other people’s insensitive comments and lack of understanding of infertility. Good to know I can still be angry, wouldn’t like to lose myself completely!

    People get that infertility is about pain and loss but NOBODY understands the daily grind. The grief I could handle but it was the constant minute-by-minute, all-encompassing hold it had on my life that was the hardest part – the temping, the drugs, the diet, the supplements, the peesticks, the monitoring of every ache and twinge, the agony of hope, the inevitable monthly bereavement. And the comments.

    “There are far worse things in life than infertility”. Not for me. My children are the most important and best thing I could ever hope for. If I was to lose them or if I had never been able to have them, that WOULD be the worst thing that could ever happen.

    Anyway, I’m ranting, should have written a post instead!

    Artblog – but I was big wallower in my day!

    Deno – so happy to read that you are 11w4d!!! Best of luck today with scan and bloods. I didn’t have the CVS or amnio but scan and blood tests were good so I didn’t feel the need. Anna is great thanks, starting to babble now, so cute.

  7. Amber says:

    I think the fact that you have so much knowledge on the subject is wonderful and really I would imagine that for most people actually getting real information as opposed to the old wives tales sort of info is vital if they are to educate themselves on the topic.
    Infertility is a minefield, I think there is no right thing to say to someone, what is helpful one day may kill someone the next.
    But I think that people do need to talk and share information.
    I am gobsmacked at how little I know about the workings of the reproductive system when I read some of the posts on TTC.
    I don’t think you are actually claiming to talk for anyone, I for one have always found your posts and blog to be very personal, your own story, whihc just happens to be backed up with the facts you have learnt along that way.
    Congrats on Anna by the way.
    Blog is being updated again, must be a sign she is not too demanding!

  8. Sorcha says:

    Fiona,

    Big congrats on Anna’s arrival if I haven’t said it already.

    If I were a person who had been diagnosed with cancer and come through the other side, I can’t imagine that once I’d gotten the all clear, I’d just forget that at one stage, I was a cancer patient. I would be a cancer survivor for sure, but it would always be a part of me and it would be a part of my life story. I would imagine the scenario is similar when it comes to infertility – having two children wouldn’t mean for a second to me that I wasn’t infertile anymore, particularly if I’d had to go through what you and so many other women go through to have their babies.

    Thankfully, I am lucky and can only speculate as to how I’d feel if I survived cancer or infertility. Touch wood, neither of those things has happened to me, but having read your blog for these past two or more years, I can tell you that every time I see a newborn baby, I do think of you and what you had to go through. I look at my little girl everyday and I thank the lucky stars.

  9. deno says:

    Hey Feebee, I’m reporting in even if you don’t read this for a month LOL. My results came back pretty good. Nuchal fold measured at 1.2mm and ratio was 1 in 1250. I chose not to do the CVS yesterday. But I will do the amnio at 16 weeks. Bye, bye 1st trimester and Helloooooooo 2nd Tri !!!! Now that I am knocked up, all these blogs have all but disappeared!!

  10. Lorna says:

    first of all, congratulations to Deno – delighted all going well.

    On this topic, I think we need people to remember how painful infertility is and yet that there are people who have succeeded with pregnancies. I am one of the lucky ones – have 2 fabulous kids aged 6 and 4. I had 2 miscarriages 18 months ago and following fertility treatment which revealed my progesterone was too low to sustain a pregnancy, we are now in the situation where we have been trying for the last 4 months to get pregnant. I also went for bereavement counselling recently as I am coming to realise more and more that I am not over the miscarriages. Although I am so aware that I am so lucky to have 2 kids and my pain is so much less than for someone who is really struggling to concieve or hold onto a first pregnancy, it is helpful to read Fiona’s blog for the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

    To sum up, do keep blogging Fiona. I have found it really helpful to read over your last blog – the two week wait one too and find that I am not totally balmy, someone else once felt like I do now!

  11. willthiswork says:

    You totally have a right to weigh in on the matter. You’ve been there, you know what its like. I’ve been trying for three years now. It sucks. I’m sick of it at this stage. Its nice to see that some people get through it! It gives me hope.

  12. Fiona says:

    Sorcha – good to hear from you. How is your little girl doing?

    Thanks Lorna. It is easier to have one or two kids already but it doesn’t take away from how all-consuming TTC can be. Hope you don’t have to wait much longer.

    willthiswork – I’m glad other people can give you hope. How are you doing? Are you doing another IVF?

    deno – woohoo!!! Great results. Have you managed to “relax” at all yet?

  13. deno says:

    Fiona, I think I need to be placed in a asylum! no I have not relaxed LOL will I ever? NO! I have my good days shared with the sane Denise, then the following two days with the psycho. I find myself back on your old blog along with other blogs, trying to go week by week of what you were feeling. But then you over analyze and compare…not good. The problem is, I know all the horror stories of what can go wrong and you know excatly what I mean. I guess I can never change that, it’s part of the deal.

  14. Sorcha says:

    Hi Fiona,

    Rhiannon is absolutely great – growing like a weed and talking at ninety miles an hour. In the depths of toilet training, but all is well otherwise.

    Having a toddler about is just so magical 🙂

    Hope you are all enjoying life as a four person family – this Christmas coming will be so special!

  15. Fiona says:

    Deno – any updates?

  16. deno says:

    Had another scan last week (14 weeks) and babe looked great. Doc wants to do a Anatomy scan week 17 before deciding on Amnio. We may opt not to do it, he doesn’t want to take any chances. He thinks everything looks great and all the tests have come back normal. I am 15 weeks today, belly is popped out. Can’t feel baby yet, can’t wait till I do. Hope all is well with you and the family.

  17. Fiona says:

    Great news Deno! I think I would be very slow to do amnio, not sure I would want to take any chances now things are looking so good. Best of luck with your decision.

  18. deno says:

    Just to let ye know…it’s a boy!! and everything looked great on the scan. 17 weeks now. Still can’t believe it.

  19. Fiona says:

    Congratulations!!!! A little boy, how fantastic! It really is looking good for you now, so happy and relieved for you. Did you decide about the amnio?

  20. deno says:

    I decided it against it. We did a anatomy scan that brought my numbers up to 1 in 3400. So I feel comfortable with that. I know if something was wrong I would have more than likely lost it in the first Tri, like I did with all the rest.
    I can feel the baby move now, so that is very reassuring.
    My ds is so happy it’s a boy, he is all excited. How is baby Anna? bet she has grown so much. Try and post a updated photo of her.

  21. Fiona says:

    That is so reassuring and hopefully the movement will continue to reassure you.

    Anna is very well thanks. Have been meaning to write a post about her for ages, just to document her progress for myself really. If I don’t write about it now, I might forget. I’ve written so much about how she got here and nothing about how she’s got on since she arrived. Will try and do it this week.

  22. deno says:

    I am sure your life has become so busy, it’s hard to sit down and write in peace. Look forward to reading about her progress.

  23. jenny says:

    I think that what Fiona has been through is very dramatic. Lots of treatments, miscarriages and the trauma of all that. But it’s great that she knew she could conceive and that got her through and she never lost hope because she knew she could get pregnant. But for people who have to come to terms with infertility and get into a place where they have to ACCEPT that they will never have children and learn to live without hope- they are the real heros. And they won’t blog about it because its too bloody painful. And everyday is a grind and people think they should get on with their lives and most of their infertile friends become pregnant and naturally gravitate towards other pregnant women etc I think if you have been through all that- then you have been to a place where Fiona can’t even imagine.

  24. Fiona says:

    I completely agree. I couldn’t imagine it. I can try but I couldn’t possibly understand. Even when I put myself back to where I was, I never gave up hope because I always had a reason to have a little bit. I don’t know what would have happened to me if I had had to give up hope. And I already had one child. You are right – those people stop posting on message boards and they stop blogging. They can be all too easily forgotten because they have stopped shouting. I don’t know how they cope – yes, they are the real heroes.

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  28. Arjun says:

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