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.