I blog, I blog in English, and the blogging community is dominated by Americans. So it would be impossible for me to miss that it is National Infertility Week in the US. This week, they are trying to promote awareness by getting bloggers to “Join the Movement” and talk about how we are making a difference in ways large and small in the lives of people with infertility.
Now, my fertility issues have been resolved. I mean I’m 50, so I’m past all that now anyway. (I’m not a big supporter of women getting pregnant in their 50s and beyond). I’ve found resolution, but not in the way most people assume, ie by having children. Nope, no kidding, that’s me. And that’s okay. So in one way, I struggle with the exhortation to “join the movement” and make more people aware of the fact that 1 in 8 people will have fertility issues. After all, right now, I just want to be me. I don’t want to be defined by anything, certainly not the issue of whether or not I have children. Or more specifically, whether or not I could have children. This blog is not about infertility. It’s about my life. The one I just happen to be living without kids.
Consider too that up until last year, I volunteered for an ectopic pregnancy organisation, and I know what a difference I made in the lives of others going through pregnancy loss and those who then faced infertility. And I write in other places about infertility. I don’t think I need to be exhorted to do more.
Yet, 1 in 8 couples have difficulty having children. Between 30-50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Infertility is a very real and quite common part of life. We all know someone who has been touched by infertility. And yet these topics are not talked about; instead they are hidden away, rarely acknowledged. We live in a world that assumes everyone will have children, that idolises the state of parenthood, and that often looks on those of us with no kids as lesser, or lacking, regardless of why we don’t have children. So I do really support the principle of raising awareness. The more people who are aware that fertility isn’t a given, being a parent isn’t a given, the better. In fact, the more people who realise it isn’t required, the better. It will mean that people will feel freer in their choices not to have children, or the circumstances they find themselves in. And it will mean those of us who tried, but couldn’t (or those who are trying right now), will not feel judged and found lacking.
And perhaps maybe, just maybe, someone reading this will think before they ask someone, “do you have children?” And it might stop them (or you) – forever – asking the follow-up question that almost always sounds like an accusation, “why not?”
For more information, follow these links:
- http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)
- http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html (About NIAW)