Thursday, July 24, 2008

Article: "The great taboo"

There was so much in this article that had me nodding, "yes, yes & yes." The writer is angry -- but perhaps she has reason to be.

The usual comments you might expect to find follow the article -- the childfree by choice people who say she doesn't speak for them, parents telling her to get over herself & adopt, etc. I also found some comments about it on an infertility message board. Some people thought that she was being rather harsh about DE -- but I don't think that should detract from her central message she's trying to convey.


  1. Her anger doesn't bother me because I do think it is often justified. But the DE/adoption thing does irk me. I wonder if it is because of the way the article is written. Early on she says that it is her impression that society, as represented by the mothers in her acquaintance, doesn't consider you a woman unless you popped out your very own genetic offspring. If that's why she is against DE, I think that is a bit sad since it allows someone else (or your perception of someone else) to determine the course of your life. Later on she talks about seeing your features in your children and grandchildren, and I absolutely respect that not having that would be a huge loss. I guess what I am saying is that there are a ton of reasons to reject some paths to parenthood (reasons valid for some people, and not for others, as with all these very individual things about infertility and loss) but I am very sad to think that she would reject these based on what she thinks constitutes a real mother in someone else's estimation.

  2. Great article, I'm so glad you posted it, Loribeth...I think she should have clarified her statements about DE, but yes, it doesn't take away from the message of the article.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I was shocked that her employer considered IVF medical leave "nonessential" -- then again, I have been lucky to work in woman-friendly environments.

    I'm not going to touch on her feelings toward DE or adoption because I'm not sure how much is her reiteration/interpretation of what society perceives to be the ideal vs. her own beliefs. I do think she could have clarified it a bit -- but I don't think that the childless woman is obliged to justify to the world why she doesn't want to adopt or use DE technology, just as fertile biological parents don't have to justify their choices.

  4. A really good article and some interesting responses to it. I feel so sad and frustrated when I read hostile and judgmental reactions from people with children and from people who have chosen not to have children - the way they are unable to see any other point of view and any feelings than their own. You cannot know how it really feels to be childless without choice unless you're actually there (it may sound harsh, I'm sorry, but I believe that - at least right now), but understanding, consideration, and compassion goes a long way and is so important. I never did understand 'brutal honesty' - what good does that ever do anyone? Thanks for posting the link to the article.

  5. As someone who go "the DE speech" from the very first RE she ever saw, I really understand why someone would reject DE as an option. That is a very personal choice. (In my mind, it has become an excuse for many REs to not truly look at how they can help women who, for whatever reason, find their ovaries less than cooperative in creating quality eggs. Spend some time on the High FSH boards to understand.)

    I thought the article was great. And, the truth is that women are just plain nasty most of the time. Really! Remember high school? Me? I hated it. Lots of stupid cliques and such - women are much more exclusionary than men. Even if men are giving one another a hard time, they will include their entire class / group - women won't. Women often find excuses to exclude people. Not being a mommie is a very common one to use in today's society.

    Considering how contentious some of these issues are - even within the infertility community - I have been thinking that maybe there should be a semi-anonymous place for people to vent just what they thing about a range of things - from doctors to all the types of tech to religion's attitude towards tech to facing childlessness. There are views that are unpopular that I get the feeling are lurking out there around the edges that people are almost afraid to voice for fear someone IRL or even online might be offended. For this reason, I have to applaud the woman for stating why she is not open to donor egg. For her, it would be a lie. And you know what? That is her truth - it doesn't have to be anyone else's.

  6. Ack! I think Blogger just ate my comment. Please let me know if it didn't come in...

  7. Trying again ;-)

    I was struck by the similarities and how much the writer and I share in common. Besides our age, endometriosis and failed IVFs I also fully understand her sentiments and the anger, sadness, envy and bitterness she harbors.

    I've applied a lot of energy to work through the devastation and lingering emotions that result from such a life-changing experience. I also understand her need to try to explain why she feels the way she does. I lashed out at the world around me because the pain was too much to bear. The contrasts, at times, in experience are overwhelming -- in other words the joy from the pregnancies and babies delivered to the women around me only exacerbated my loss.

    It's one thing to have choice and control. It's altogether different to know that a choice was denied. I hope that readers of the article take the time to understand what led her to write the piece in the first place. It's only by shedding light on the pain, releasing it that the healing can begin.