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24 April 2012 @ 09:08 am
Don't Ignore Me: My Message to the Infertility Community  
This post is in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, April 22-28 2012, and the Bloggers Unite challenge.

The Infertility Community on-line can be a wonderfully supportive place. In a world that so often ignores the pain and hardships of discovering you suffer from infertility, it is a huge relief and blessing to be able to find others who have been there, who understand, whom you can rant and rave to when faced with insensitivity and lack of understanding from friends, family members, and even random strangers who don't get why a casual question like "Do you have children?" can hit you like a slap in the face.

Except, sometimes I actually feel like I don't belong in the infertility support community, or am not as welcome in it as others. Because I'm not going through any fertility treatments yet - nor am I sure if I ever will, or pursue alternative family building methods including adoption.

So much of the emphasis on a lot of IF messageboards, blogs and Facebook pages is about fertility treatment discussions, triumphs and tragedies with them, and I totally accept and am fine with that, really. But...what about those of us who are not sure we want to go down that path? Right now it's a simple matter of me not even being able to consider it, because I'm not in a financial position to do so. I went as far as the first $500 bloodwork screening last year, and then was told the next step would be a laparoscopy (my second; the first I needed because of a dermoid ovarian cyst cost me over $5000 several years ago) and that's when I stopped. I'd only just finally bought a house that cost me nearly all of my life savings because, being self-employed, I couldn't get a mortgage or even then a loan against my house. The idea of needing anywhere from $10,000 - 50,000+ more to undergo treatments that may or may not work, it's just not gonna happen for me right now.

Beyond the financial aspects, I'm not sure I want to put myself and my partner through the emotional and physical turmoil of IF treatments. I see how difficult it's been on friends of mine (both "real life" friends and "on-line" ones), many of whom had their relationships nearly fall apart from the stress - some even were driven to such depression that they became nearly suicidal. Adoption is a possibility I have been starting to research, but again, money is a factor, as well as mine and my partners' ages, the fact we aren't married yet, and a lot of other reasons that I know will not make the process particularly easy for us whether we were to try domestic or international adoption.

I do want to have a child, but I also love the life I have right now. I love my partner, I love our relationship, I love saving what spare money we are able to sock aside to enjoy traveling and art and making a wonderful life together. I'm not willing to put that life on hold for something that may be impossible or cost us too much beyond the financial price tag. And sometimes I feel like, within the Infertility Community, that means I don't want a baby "enough". Because I'm not willing to sacrifice everything in pursuit of that dream. And it is still very much a dream that I hold on to, but right now, perhaps, I have to put more of my efforts into coming to terms with a future that may mean my family remains a family of two (plus cats), not three or more. A child-less future - not child-free, because I still consider that a term that implies an active choice of not wanting children. I want children, I just can't seem to make it happen naturally. And so I'm left right now trying to find peace and acceptance, giving it up to God and His Will as to what my future will hold.

So yes, I'd like to see more room in the Infertility Community for those who are trying to accept a childless life. I'd like to see organizations like RESOLVE give us more support too, and not make it seem like this is merely the "last resort option" for those who have tried every method desperately to have a child and failed. I don't consider myself a failure; I just consider myself someone who wants to accept and enjoy the life I have now without sacrificing it to a dream that might never be realized. Don't ignore me because I'm following a different path in my infertility journey. Don't treat me different if my choices are different from your own. Let's all learn to respect and support each other, please, because we face enough challenges and misunderstandings from the fertile world already.

Infertility 101
Learn more about National Infertility Awareness Week
My personal page about NIAW
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