In light of my recent post about Facebook, I would be remiss in not drawing your attention to this absolutely brilliant post Facebook-related post from Julie at A Little Pregnant.
Warning: may induce fits of giggles & extreme temptation to literally ROFLMAO. Not recommended for a cubicle environment. (I learned this the hard way.)
*** *** ***
Julie's post links to a story (front page in the print edition, apparently!) in the Washington Post about what happens when infertility collides with Facebook. There was more than the usual share of nasty comments about how we all really need to just "get a life" and "learn to be happy for other people." (!) And that got me thinking about a weird world we live in.
Our culture right now glorifies pregnancy, motherhood, babies & families (with two parents, one of each gender, & the minimum 2.2 children, of course)(preferably one of each kind). You can't walk into a newsstand or turn on the TV without seeing "baby bumps," pregnancy storylines, or at least one headline with the word "pregnant" or "baby" in it (often in screaming capital letters). Every other ad on TV features an adorable baby, someone announcing their pregnancy (think iPhone commercials), or kids & parents modelling some phase of idealized family life.
At every social gathering, the conversation of our family members, friends & coworkers revolves around everyone's kids. What they're doing. When they should be doing it. What they're eating. What the stuff in their diapers looks like, & whether that's normal. What they're doing in school. What they're doing after school. The cute things they're saying. Bringing up other subjects is futile. Inevitably, somehow, some way, the conversation will creep back to the subject of the children.
Yep, pregnancy & babies are soooooo wonderful! Everybody's doing it!! YOU should be doing it!
How many kids do you have? Really? Why not? When are you going to get pregnant too? (Better hurry up, you know, you're not getting any younger!!) Come on, my kid needs a playmate/cousin! I need a niece/nephew/grandchild/godchild/friend's kid to spoil. Don't you WANT kids? Don't you WANT to be like everyone else?
(Ummm, well, yeah. Not everyone does, of course, but most of us do. But some of us find that is a little easier said than done.)
What's that? You're having problems getting pregnant?
Well, hey, cheer up, you know, it's not such a big deal. Kids really aren't that great anyway. (??!!) Infertility is not the end of the world. Things could be worse. There are children starving in Africa, you know. (Of course, you wouldn't understand what it's like to watch a child in pain, since you're not a mom...)
Maybe you're just not praying hard enough. Or relaxing enough -- maybe you should take a vacation. Or maybe you just weren't meant to be a parent. (By the way, did you hear that my sister is pregnant again? It was an accident! She says her husband just has to LOOK at her & she gets knocked up! Maybe you should ask him how it's done, hahahahaha...)
Or maybe -- you should just adopt! Biology isn't everything, you know. There are so many kids out there who need good homes! You want kids? -- take mine, please, hahahaha....
Suck it up! Get over yourself!
The people who say these things, of course, are almost always either parents themselves(usually the biological sort), or have no intention of ever becoming parents.)
Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks there is a HUGE disconnect here somewhere???
Either pregnancy & having kids really is as wonderful as everyone says it is -- in which case, you would think people would be more sympathetic to those of us who find it more difficult if not downright impossible to achieve something that comes so easily to the vast majority, and (as most of them will tell you -- in glowing, gushing terms) lends so much meaning to their lives.
Or (as I have heard some childfree-by-choice folk suggest) it's really NOT that great -- & all this talk about baby bumps & orgasmic births is really just propaganda -- an evil delusional plot cooked up by (a) corporations, who realize cute babies are good for business, & want to sell us more stuff, &/or (b) religious types who take their "go forth & multiply" instructions quite seriously. And when parents realize the truth, they go along with the sham because misery loves company, & heaven forbid we don't suffer dirty diapers & 3 a.m. feedings & teething pains (& later, stuff like teenage house parties, as per my previous post...!) along with the rest of them. In other words, their loud protests about how we the childless & infertile are infringing on their parental joy is simply a mask for a serious case of the green-eyed monster.
Or maybe people are just so unknowing & uncomfortable with anything that falls outside their own limited frame of reference, that challenges their vision of the norm -- that even smacks of something unpleasant intruding on the periphery of their rose-tinted glasses -- that they automatically shy away from it and fall back on platitudes to mask their discomfort.
Or maybe some people really are just idiots. (Another distinct possibility.)
What do you think?
*** *** ***
After writing this, I found a brilliant response to Julie's post this morning from Msfitzita. Go read it now.