Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Trying and Failing

I've wanted to blog for a long time on the unhappy topic of infertility.

It seems like such a plague for my generation.  I've known so many friends who've tried and failed and tried and failed and went through months or years of heart-aching inability to conceive and/or carry to term.

No one tells you that trying to get pregnant in your 30's is hard.  No one tells you that fertility peaks around 20-24 and it's a long, slow but ever steady decline from there.  And if anyone ever were to say these things, they would be pilloried by the media as oppressively misogynistic--trying to keep women barefoot and pregnant and out of the circle of power.

Society tells us to be independent women.  To compete with the boys.  To go to college and grad school.  And then to throw ourselves into brilliant careers because, what the heck was all that schooling for after all?

And then our hearts tell us to make families.  And our bodies try and fail us.

Eventually, most of us do have kids.  But it wasn't/isn't an easy, straightforward path.  Facebook status updates are full of success announcements, but show none of the failures.

For every update that says--there's a bun in the oven!  There are hundreds of unwritten updates that should say--Year 2 of trying, still no bun!  And for every birth announcement, sadly, there are many and more unwritten miscarriage announcements.

And sometimes the first baby is not so hard to come by, but subsequent ones may be much much harder.  I was totally caught off guard when it took 5x longer to conceive this 2nd baby than the first.  I'd never heard of second child infertility until I started googling around for answers.  You always hear that once the fertility spigot has been opened, so to speak, it just keeps comin'!  But if you google that phrase, you'll see that's far from the truth.

Just yesterday a friend told me her 4-year old son is dying to have a sibling and she's been trying forever to get him just that.  My heart totally went out to her.  I could see the conflicted look of pain in her eyes as she noted my belly bump.  A look I know all too well.  I no longer joke with people about their plans for having 2nd kids because you never know how hard or how long they've been trying...and failing.

I hate writing about this topic.  I hate bumping up against the hard realities of natural laws.  And I hate the sour, bitter taste of trying and failing.  But I feel like it's a major diservice to women not to let them know.  To not say something.  Our society already does a heckuva job covering up these hard truths.

May you never be too soon old and too late wise.

P.S. This is a great, but sadly too rare article on a personal fertility crisis from the WSJ.


CP said...

I felt like I could have written this! I never heard of secondary infertility until it happened to me. Devastating. More women need to know about it! Thanks for the great post!

Alice in Wonderland said...

Actually it was reading about this in your blog first that inspired me to finally put 'pen to paper' so to speak!