Saturday, July 28, 2007

Intellectually Speaking

As I went about my day on Thursday, I did not realize that I would enter into a philosophical debate on infertility with a complete stranger.

I was on my favorite search engine (starts with a G, ends with an oogle), when I decided to do a blog search for infertilty blogs. I know - what a stretch, huh? This is how I've come to network with the wonderful friends I have thus far and I always like to try and find newbie blogs where I can learn more about our condition and possibly make another friend or two. One can never have TOO many friends, right?

Well, this time I stumbled across a feminist blog discussing the topic of intolerance and infertility. I thought to myself...hmmmm, if anyone should understand what it is like to have a stigma against them, it would be a feminist. She would have our backs. I was totally expecting it to be a pro-tolerance piece. Boy, could I be more WRONG.

I will let you read for yourself before I try to paraphrase everything but all in all, the author was speaking about her insensitivity toward infertiles, as well as her belief that all infertile women should adopt rather than trying to have a biological child through invasive, expensive procedures (namely IVF). In short, any other choice rather than adoption is chastized as selfish.

After reading the article, I was seething. This was the epitome of the detachment that we infertiles must tolerate on a daily basis. I was angry. How could someone - who claims to be liberal and who fights for women to have equal rights - be so blind and intolerant to their choices? How could someone who admittedly does not want children criticize those who do? Why are infertile woman morally responsible to adopt all of the needy children in the world? Infertility is such a personal struggle and I felt as though this was a slap in the face. I could feel the disdain with every written word. I had to take a step back. Was I taking this too personally? So, I posted it to a BG to see if I was overreacting. I knew they would be honest with me.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one who felt strongly about the issue. Not everyone was as offended as I was, but many of us took the time to comment on her blog about it. After I saw her response to a few of us infertiles, I garnered the courage to write myself. She was surprisingly very polite and seemed to sincerely listen to everything we had to say. I was no longer angry but instead wanted to use this opportunity to try and reach someone. I wanted to share my viewpoint and try to show a different perspective. Even if she doesn't agree with me after all is said and done, if we can get one person to understand where we are coming from, perhaps we can change the stigma surrounding infertility. I really wanted to say "change the world" but I don't want to sound as overly optimistic as a beauty queen contestant.

I certainly don't mean to bash feminists or cast them in a bad light. I consider myself a feminist to some degree - although I am far from an extremist. I am married to a typical Southern gentleman, who loves to open doors for me in a restaurant or open and close my car door for me. I find those little things to be endearing rather than chauvinistic. I like the color pink and all things girly. I like dresses and flowers and frilly things. I shave my legs and armpits. But I do believe in a woman's right to choose. I do believe that women should be paid the same amount as a man for performing the same job - not $0.70 to his $1.00. I fully support a woman's right to vote and have a career and I realize what women before us have had to endure for us to get the rights we have today and sometimes take for granted. Womens' Studies 201 and the movie Iron Jawed Angels taught me a lot about this. When/if I have a daughter, I want to instill in her that she can be WHATEVER she wants to be and NEVER to let anyone tell her differently. The sky is the limit. I just have to draw a line when it comes to the hetero white male-hating, bra-burning feminism. That is not me but I would never tell another woman she was wrong for doing so. Everyone is entitled to their beliefs and who would I be to judge? Maybe I am just more considerate and caring than others out there... not that I'll ever escape that in the blogland or IRL. Some people just cannot or will not look beyond their own little world and walk in someone else's shoes for a moment.

When it comes to IF, I am very passionate and so I will go to the ends of the earth to defend us. I feel like the big sister who wants to stick up for her family. I was so proud that we as a community could come together and enhance such a thought-provoking discussion. I thought we represented ourselves very well. And it makes me proud to be a part of such a network of intelligent, articulate women.

The topic has now evolved into a controversy over biological drive vs. societal pressure to have a traditional, nuclear family. I have yet to comment because I don't consider this too important. I think it is perhaps a mix of both. I have an intrinsic urge to create life with my husband, but I may also want the type of family that we are accustomed to and dream of. Whether this is a biological or environmental pressure is insignificant to me. All that matters to me is that my husband and I want a baby to love and to complete our family. I want to see the world through my child's innocent eyes. I want to experience everything that comes along with motherhood. And I will do whatever it takes to get there. I'll be damned if anyone will try to guilt me out of my and my husband's life choices.

Okay, off of my soapbox now.


Sticky Bun said...

It's so hard--I get very frustrated when people with no experience take strong stands on issues they clearly don't know everything about. It just seems so presumptuous. I haven't read her post, but I'll have to check it out...

Also, I wanted to take a quick moment to thank you so much for your kind words and well-wishes. I know how hard things are for you right now, and I am so sincerely grateful for and humbled by your support. Thank you! :-)

Grateful Always said...

Wow... at least you got published on her comments. I suppose my words attacked her too much to publish... oh well. Her post had me upset as well...

It was an ironic thing coming from someone who is supposed to be so liberal... felt like maybe how the minority felt when the majority would judge them incorrectly...

M said...

I think you stated the issues very well and I agree with your stand. I think the biggest thing is this girl doesn't even want children so how can she know what is feels like to want them...or endure IF?