Thursday, August 7, 2014

"You Have No Idea"

This is one of the things I hear most often from my fertile friends with children. "You have no idea what it's like to be a parent until you are one". I know that they mean well. Or maybe they feel they can confess how freaked out they were without judgement from a non-parent. I also don't disagree with them. Just like I don't think you can understand what it's like to be infertile unless you've experienced it, I don't think you can really know what it's like to be a parent until it happens. But it still bothers me.

A small part is probably bitterness. This statement is usually accompanied by a large dose of smugness. There's almost an "us vs. you" undertone. It pisses me off. First of all, I know that I don't know. People who think they know everything about everything usually don't know shit. Second of all, my lack of knowing is not for lack of wanting or trying so please stop reminding me about how you got pregnant and had a baby when you wanted to while I had to keep waiting and waiting.

Another issue that I have with this statement is that my experience has not been and will not be the same as the experience of the person making the comment. The average fertile person gets about 9 - 12 months to decide to get pregnant and prepare to actually have the baby. I've had 9 months...plus about 21 more. Do you think I didn't think long and hard about what it would mean to actually get pregnant and have baby? I had a hell of a long time - and still not as long as some - to think about what that would mean and how it would change my life. I had to think long and hard about how far I was willing to go to make that happen. I may not know, but I am not naive.

But the biggest reason that I hate hearing this is that the the fact that I do not have a baby in my arms yet is completely irrelevant. For the past year, I have had to choose to make enormous physical, emotional, mental, and financial sacrifices for my baby. The difference between what I have done and what the average parent has done is that I had to make all of those sacrifices for a baby that I knew might never actually exist. As far as I'm concerned, I became a parent the day that I was diagnosed with infertility and decided to pursue treatment. Other women become a parent the day that they became pregnant, whether they have their take-home baby now or not. I have a feeling that the average fertile parent would not understand that. They should know how lucky that makes them.

So I'm sorry if I don't seem overly impressed with your nugget of wisdom. Remember, I don't know what it's like to be you, but YOU don't know what it's like to be ME either.

I'm grumpy.




13 comments:

  1. **slow claps to standing ovation**

    I think every word you just said has been going through my head for the past three years (only you said it way more eloquently than I could have). When people say things like this, it's almost like taking a stab at you, and it hurts. I especially get mad when people say this to me now, because I feel like they don't realize that I count Conner and Ben as my children. Thanks for writing this. I'll probably read this over and over again!

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    1. I'm so glad that you liked it. I had you in mind when I wrote parts of it. You are an amazing mother and it bugs me that anyone would ever doubt that <3

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    2. That just made my day, seriously. Thank you :)

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  2. Ugh! My comments keep disappearing! Let's try again. . .

    I LOVE THIS POST! You articulated very well what I am sure so many of us are feeling or have felt. I hate when people try to compare what they have experienced to what I have been through. Like you said, I don't know what it is like to be them, but they also don't have any clue what it is like to be me.

    I also HATE when people say "you better be ready to give up [fill in the blank] once you have a baby." Seriously, people?! Do you have any idea what I have given up to even have a hope of one day becoming a parent? I am pretty sure I am willing to make adjustments and sacrifices for a baby. ::steps off soap box::

    Great post!

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  3. I effing love you. That is all.

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    1. Love you too. Ditto what I said to Krystal - I was thinking of you when I wrote some parts. You are and will continue to be an amazing mother <3

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  4. ::joins Krystal's standing ovation::

    I nodded reading this whole post. So well written, and you so hit the nail on the head. And now I'll echo Chickin, I freakin' love you, lady!

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  5. PREACH!!!

    That's all I've got. You're so right on with this.

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  6. I 100% completely agree with everything you said here!! That statement angers me to the core. Seriously, though, even if I HAD a child I still would never be able to truly understand what that person's experience of being a parent is like. And yes, they have given up certain things to be a parent, but we've all given up a heck of a lot without being able to enjoy the benefits or good parts that come along with parenthood or in the case of some, without the joys that come along with being able to bring your babies home.

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    1. Yes - I completely agree! We've had to experience all of the crap and sacrifice, but none of the joys. Hugs <3

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  7. Thanks everyone! While I'm sorry that you've felt the same way, it's nice to know that we're not alone. Hugs all around <3

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  8. I know I'm late to the party but this is pretty much my favorite post ever. I HATE when people say that to me. Yes, it may be true that I have no idea--but so what?! There are plenty of things I don't know about in this life, but it doesn't mean it's going to stop me from doing them. If we limited our life experiences to only those we are familiar with we would never do ANYTHING. Before they were parents they also had no idea what it would be like. Now they do. Congratulations. I love you for addressing this Ana. ::confetti & applause::

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