30 April 2010

On Fertility, or Infertility, as the case may be

The older I get, the less I care what others think. After seven years of infertility, I got pregnant with child #1 at the age of 42 via in vitro fertilization. I'm 49 - no more kids are coming down the pike. So when I get the question about more kids, I tell them I'm too old, it was too hard getting this one, and I usually I tell them it was an IVF pregnancy. And I find that by opening my mouth about the IVF, it usually results in something like "oh my friend, blah, blah, blah" or "my sister, blah, blah, blah" or "yeah, me too". The more I talk, the more other people talk, the more it's out in the open. I don't think that's a bad thing – infertility tends to run under the radar for the general population, yet it's a big issue. If I'd known, maybe it wouldn't have taken seven years to get pregnant, maybe I'd have gotten into treatment sooner. But I just didn't know.

Why this now? It's National Infertility Awareness Week. And I'm cleaning out my drafts folder.

14 comments:

Julie @ The Mom Slant said...

I'm all for being open when you feel comfortable doing so. It's why I don't mind telling people that Oliver was a big surprise.

Still, I caution my husband - who is so enthusiastic about children that he tends to ask innocent, well-intentioned questions that make me cringe - to be cognizant of infertility and remember that not everyone is comfortable confiding that they're having (or have had) trouble conceiving.

allison said...

Hmmm. I've never thought of infertility as something that runs under the radar. I've known several couples who've had trouble conceiving, some who've adopted, which is a whole other can of issues. There's a lot of lobbying for government funding for fertility treatments etc. here, so maybe that makes a difference. Do you mean if you had known about the treatments it might not have taken so long to get pregnant?

slow panic said...

that's one of the things i like about getting older -- caring less about what other people think and feeling more comfortable with myself.

because i was adopted i was worried i wouldn't be able to get pregnant. weird huh? i've talked to other adoptees and they had the same fear.

Jody said...

We wear our infertility pretty publicly (no one remembers the spontaneous triplets), so I feel as if the world is full of folks struggling to conceive. Really, I'd rather live in that world where the one where it doesn't occur to people that it can be hard.

Although there are times when I do wonder, "what if we'd just been able to get pregnant the old-fashioned way...." Our whole lives would have been different. It's a little scary to consider.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I didn't have any issues in that regard, but it has always been on my radar because I've had friends that struggled with infertility. It's a heartwrenching problem.

slouchy said...

funny, no one ever asked me whether i wanted to have a third child until AFTER my hysterectomy.

Ozma said...

Well, you probably know this a big thing for me. I'm insanely trying for another baby in my forties. The natural way. Insurance company made it too hard to do IVF and I have crappy ovaries and I'm in huge denial.

I mean, I really do this--I really try to get pregnant every month like a crazy person. I think I will have to adopt more than one child before I can snap myself out of it. I'm infertile, fo sho.

Anyway, I got off the infertility internet sites--that was an accomplishment.

I guess the thing people don't get in my case and the bla bla bla is how intense the longing for a second child can be. But people just don't get infertility anyway.

I feel an urge to confess to the absurd fact that I just want a bunch of children and it really is hard for me that I don't have them here with me.

In my case, I think it was waiting too long though. So I should not complain except for the fact that that wasn't my fault.

Ozma said...

Well, you probably know this a big thing for me. I'm insanely trying for another baby in my forties. The natural way. Insurance company made it too hard to do IVF and I have crappy ovaries and I'm in huge denial.

I mean, I really do this--I really try to get pregnant every month like a crazy person. I think I will have to adopt more than one child before I can snap myself out of it. I'm infertile, fo sho.

Anyway, I got off the infertility internet sites--that was an accomplishment.

I guess the thing people don't get in my case and the bla bla bla is how intense the longing for a second child can be. But people just don't get infertility anyway.

I feel an urge to confess to the absurd fact that I just want a bunch of children and it really is hard for me that I don't have them here with me.

In my case, I think it was waiting too long though. So I should not complain except for the fact that that wasn't my fault.

rachel... said...

I don't think people who haven't experienced fertility issues understand at all, so it seems like a good thing to express yourself about your feelings and experiences. I don't think people intend to be nosy or insensitive - they just don't get it.

heidi said...

I always tell people trying: If it's not working, get help sooner, rather than later.

painted maypole said...

I was one of the crazy lucky ones... first month off birth control. But I know so many people who have struggled/are struggling with this. I think it is getting more and more out in the open, thanks to people like you.

niobe said...

I'm too old too. But, apparently, that didn't stop me from acquiring a couple of extra kids.

(not that I'm suggesting that you -- or anyone else -- take that road)

mayberry said...

I read a lot of infertility blogs when I first started reading blogs, and I think I learned a lot about being sensitive to this particular struggle. So I appreciate you and others who share their stories.

bipolarlawyercook said...

I get asked a lot about kids, do I want them, etc. Especially at the store. And for me, the answer is no. I love my nephew, love my friends' kids, love cooking for my family and friends and coworkers. But it's enough.

It's really hard to engage in those conversations with people who want kids so badly, when I'm still young enough to try and have decided I won't-- getting into the reasons of not passing on my own crazy is just something I'm not going to do, I've decided.

I stick with "I'm happy loving my friends and their kids" and leave it at that.

I'm happy for you and your lovely daughter. And that you can have those IVF conversations with people, and raise those issues with folks and make them more aware of the issues. Good on you, Maggie.