Infertility, discrimination and anger

Posted on: October 29, 2011

Week thirty two

My blog this week is one of a difficult nature, so many emotions to try to capture on paper.  Here goes.

I come across all sorts of people from all walks of life within my personal and professional life.  As a talker and a social person often I have open discussions with those whom I come in to contact with about all sorts of things,  obviously because of has happened this year a discussion about my op or where we are at in our life is often not far from my thoughts.  Wondering how to respond when people as me how I am,  have we got children etc.  There are standard lines prepared almost like a pack of trump cards that can be called on as and when needed.

Recently my prepared lines failed me.  Finding myself in a group situation with women who worked in a variety of roles, our commonality being the course we were all on.  During some group work the conversation naturally evolved in to a discussion about adoption and what prospective adopters have to do before getting to panel to be approved as an adopter.  No one in the group knew me, or my history. However considering how common infertility is I was shocked by the details of the conversation.  Not that I wish to undermine the professional integrity of those present but as an infertile woman my emotions were raw. The person present with a background in the adoption service discussed issues surrounding the current adoption system,  the conversation then went to the difficulties faced by adoptive parents and how (in this persons opinion) one of the main issues was women who are infertile and that they have not dealt with the fact that they are unable to have a biological family. As I listened to the view points raised around the table , I felt myself getting more and more emotional – wanting to put them in their place. My professional  head was arguing with my emotional side – weighing up how to fight for all infertile women who are being judged by those who have never found themselves in this intolerable position. The easy option was to remain silent so there was no opportunity for me to open the cavernous vacuum of emotions that no doubt once started would not stop.

In some ways I can liken the conversation to a verbal assault. It took all my strength to remain silent, yet I felt guilty for not standing up and standing strong for other ladies who are infertile.  How dare women who are fertile make judgements on women who are robbed of the most natural thing in the world.  How can others who don’t understand possibly have a comprehension of what it is like living with this life sentence.  How on earth do you begin to deal with being infertile? I am making it up as I go along ……. I don’t know how you deal with it – I know there is no choice,  I cannot change direction and start again. Nor can many other women. 

Adoption is often the only route to parenthood left for women who are infertile, the conversation showed me that those professionals have limited understanding of what it takes to make a decision to start the adoption process.  Adopting is a beautiful and loving thing to do, far more of a decision than having a baby.  Deciding to begin the adoption process entails months and months of scrutinising by external forces, and at anytime those people can make the decision on whether you will or will not become a parent.  The whole process is arduous, long and incredibly emotionally draining.  I am told by friends who have adopted that it is worthwhile and rewarding, but that for 18 or so months their life was on hold and scrutinised at every turn.

Duncan and I have started the adoption process three times, three times we have made the call to say ‘we are ready’ , and three times for different reasons we have been rejected – told that ‘you are not ready’.  Can you imagine how that feels? 

Happily I hope that you can’t imagine how it feels.  Each time we have been rejected the reasons have been very plausible, however it is still a rejection another affirmation that we are not good enough to be parents …. either biologically or through adoption.

We would hope that if we made that call to start the process again that we would not be rejected at the first hurdle again – yet neither of us can find the strength to put ourselves emotionally in that position.

Can you imagine what would happen if all prospective parents had to under go scrutiny to become parents, and that for some seeing a big fat positive on a pregnancy test was not as easy as going in a garage and buying a chocolate bar?  Maybe if there was a rigorous process there would be less neglect of children in the world. Maybe silly people would not make a judgement on a women who have not dealt with their infertility

I don’t want people to be in my shoes, I want people to understand that infertility is not  choice, it is not something that can be dealt with,  you cannot move on just like that, this is part of our life story.  As well as understanding that we are not second class citizens because we haven’t got children. 

Endosister Liz


4 Responses to "Infertility, discrimination and anger"

Beautifully written as always Liz, the way you write just strikes every emotion in me, I feel sadness with you, I feel happiness with you but everytime I read your blog I just have this feeling of overwhelming strength that radiates from you, I know I have said this more than once you amaze me Liz and I know this blog is going to help so many people, much love xxxxxx

Hi Nicki, I woke this morning thinking about what had happened and just knew I needed to write about it. Thank you for your beautiful words – I am sad that the process is so long and arduous because i know there are some beautiful people that would make wonderful parents just waiting -hope you are doing okay my lovely xxxxx

Lovely written, this is why we are afraid of starting the adoption process, im frightened of the rejection, after all the failings of infertility treatments we couldnt take anymore.
I feel your sadness, love to you. xxxx

Oh Sarah I really hope this post was not too sad, I wanted it to be a balanced view point – which is hard when there are so many emotions connected with something so important. I would encourage you to speak to your local adoption team – there is no saying that your story will be the same as mine. I wish you all the best in the world and hope that you are doing well and in good health at this time xxxxxxxx

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