Thursday, August 10, 2006

"They Say"

Don't you just hate how "they" say a lot of things without really knowing you or your personal situation? "They" say that having children changes you forever. "They" say you can't possibly understand how children change your life until you have them. "They" are correct. I have had a foster son for almost 2 years now and my life is different. And I have changed forever, just as I changed forever with every major life experience: highschool, going to college, breaking up with my first boyfriend, getting married, buying a house, getting a real job. And yes, acquiring a child. I mean, I didn't get my child the old fashioned way, but I'm every bit his parent and couldn't be more his parent if I'd given birth to him.

Anyway, back to "them"... "They are right. I'm a different person now.

"They" will say that maybe I should be careful what I wish for when I wistfully think of a gaggle of siblings for my foster son. "They" sometimes even say, "Oh, you can have my kids... you'll find out soon enough that they're not worth it."

"They" are not always correct. And you know what else? What "they" don't realize is that even though having kids changes you (and this is not necessarily a bad thing), NOT having kids also changes you. Or at least it changes you if you can't have kids. I know I look at things more cynically sometimes, and I've lost some of my naivetee (not sure if that's a good or a bad thing). I also know that I can look at myself with more humor now. I can laugh at my failures and I can see how ridiculous this whole process is. That, I think, is a good thing.

I used to think that infertility had made me more sympathetic to people. I think, though, that it's done the opposite. When I read people's infertility blogs, sometimes I can't help but think, "oh just quit your whining; you'd think you're the only person on the planet who had one failed IUI." But the women who write these hysterically funny blogs in the face of devastating infertility problems... my heart breaks for them, even as I'm guffawing at their well-written, but painful, adventures through the land of infertility. It's almost like I've become selectively sympathetic, and I'm not sure why.

It's true that infertility hurts. A lot. It's painful no matter where you are in the process. Trying to conceive sucks ass because when you really want something, it always feels like it's *just* out of reach until it's finally yours. So the day a woman says to herself, "that's it, I'm officially trying to conceive," it becomes a laborious process. Every little twinge matters. Every cramp is a sign of impending doom. Every headache could be an early pregnancy sign. Starving? Obviously early pregnancy sign. Not hungry? It HAS to be an early pregnancy sign! Everything matters! Everything is a sign! And unless you're one of the lucky ones, you'll probably come crashing down the first time you take a pregnancy test, because we all test too early and too often. For most women, the agony is short lived and within a few short (but agonizing) months, she finds out she is expecting. We infertiles, though, the ones that have figured out that the old fashioned way may just not work for us... we start to change. In some ways for the better... I certainly have learned to appreciate my life for what I DO have, even if I don't have a baby. And in some slightly less flattering ways... I'm definitely more snarky and short tempered than I used to be.

I guess I don't really know where I'm going with this. I guess I'm just tired of people trying to suggest to me that they know better than me. That they know what's good for me, or what my life is like or what my pain is like. No one knows how ANY other person feels about anything. One infertile may feel and respond to her plight in a completely different way than the next infertile. Even if I've been through the same number of IUIs as my buddy Jane, that doesn't mean I have any idea how she feels. I can't say, "I know exactly how you feel." I can't KNOW how she feels. I can sit there and listen. I can be there for her if she needs a hug. I can offer advice if she asks for it, or keep my mouth shut if she doesn't. But I can't KNOW anything.

And neither can "they".

1 comment:

Lisa said...

As a former foster child and current child advocate,

I quit listening to 'them' a long time ago.