Now that the shock, stigma and the ensuing hairball of emotions that infertility exploded on me has dissipated, I’m happy to report that with each year (nearly nine) post-treatment, life has become better than good. And, furthermore, my reproductive organs are thrilled, positively delighted, to be out of the limelight.
It’s also a relief not to be wracked with shame, guilt or feelings of failure.
It didn’t come easy, casting aside the infertility baggage, but these days I much prefer to focus on the non-reproductive aspects of my life and the freedom that comes with reinvention.
I was fully prepared to let the “youngsters” focus on National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), this year themed “Don’t Ignore Infertility.”
There was something, though, about reading Lisa’s post, Don’t Ignore…The Life Without Baby Option, though that pulled me back into the conversation. That’s because the vast majority of NIAW blog posts, testimonials, infertile twibbon-wearing women focus on infertility through the lens of trying to conceive — or we hear from mothers recalling the devastation infertility once wrought on their lives. The voices missing or hard to discern over all the cooing (or kids fighting) are those who walked a thornier post-infertility path.
Thornier because once infertility treatment ends — without the result we once hopefully sought — it is akin to having the door slammed behind you or being cast into the wilderness. The infertility industry (and it’s now reaching nearly $4B a year) is focused solely on those in treatment. There’s another monstrous market focused on mothers. If you’re not, well, you are O-N Y-O-U-R O-W-N.
That is unless you stumble across the not-easy-to-find online, but without question, eclectic, charming, passionate, extraordinary and strong group of women who, left to their own devices, are making their own way and extending a hand to those just coming onto this path, one that doesn’t involve mothering in the classic sense, but they are nurturers nonetheless.
I’ll have more to say on this rarely researched group of women when I get the go-ahead from the Dr. Marni Rosner to share a link to her research, Recovery From Traumatic Loss: A Study of Women Living Without Children After Infertility. It contains all sorts of “ah ha” moments and insights about what we’ve lived through and how we survived.
Meanwhile, I thought I’d share one other link, a story in The Globe and Mail, that still blows my mind because it includes my name (aka the “non-famous”) along with an assorted set of celebrities. Amid the obsession about celebrities getting pregnant, those of us in this “silent sorority” who can’t or didn’t get pregnant are finally getting into the collective consciousness … slowly but surely.
As always, welcome your thoughts…