From a very young age we start asking questions. “Why?” That’s my favorite and most dreaded word to come out of a child’s mouth. Mostly because it feels like that is the only thing they ever say, constantly on repeat. Every statement, request, and thought is followed by “WHY?” So inquisitive and curious, these little ones. They want to know everything. They never sound judgemental when they ask questions, they always sound genuinely interested – or at the very least just monotonous – but never negative. I wonder at what point that switch flipped and we began to jump to conclusions without having all the information or personal experience to really understand what’s going on…..
The following are real quotes and comments I found by reading only TWO stories/posts regarding surrogacy and ART (assisted reproductive technology). Both were riddled with negative thoughts and views of those who choose these options when for one reason or another they are unable to conceive. Unfortunately this is only a small sample of the hurtful and ignorant comments.
***Also, almost every other person said in some similar variation “Why don’t you just adopt?!” So there’s that as well, and because clearly they know how easy and inexpensive that is.
“Think about this, maybe there is a reason they, couples/singles, such as this cannot have a child naturally. With this attitude and mindset they shouldn’t be able to procreate……Using women as birthing pods, when there are so many earth angels that need loving and forever homes.”
“People just going against what your body is not accepting, rich entitled people problems, not everyone is meant to be a parent, it’s pathetic the way you’re willing to risk your mental and physical health just to be selfish, not to mention the ridiculous amount of money spent forcing yourself to get pregnant.”
“That’s so bad, we must stop manipulating the weakest human beings. Stop playing God.”
“Stop interfering with nature. By every woman not having a child, it is nature’s way to balance life on this Earth.”
“There are greater issues in life than infertility. Very, very few of us get everything we want in life. Deal with it and be happy with whatever you have. There are plenty of people out there who would be happy to trade places with you.”
My favorite affirmation is “Be curious, not judgemental.” It’s a good reminder on how things we say and ask can be interpreted. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and the theme is #StartAsking. I would like to start asking my friends and family to be informed, be positive, be helpful, be supportive – please do not be the quotes above. It breaks my heart that there are people out there who think I am not worthy of a child. That I am being ridiculous. That I should be happy no matter what. This isn’t their life, it’s mine. Until you have experienced what I have, you don’t get to tell me how to feel. Until your spouse has experienced what mine has, you don’t get to tell me I’m not good enough. Until your family has gone through the grief mine has, you don’t get to tell me I’m weak. Do not be those quotes, do not judge someone and criticize a struggle you don’t know. Start asking how this could affect you. Start asking if your loved ones are hurt by infertility. Start asking how you can be there for someone. Start asking what lawmakers and legislatures are doing for issues in the infertility community. Just start asking. I saw a post recently about #NIAW and this quote really stuck with me: “The point of speaking out, during National Infertility Awareness Week and beyond, is not to complain or get attention, but to try to transform our suffering into some kind of meaningful change, and awareness is the first step in any cultural shift.”