Before I get started on this post, I want to tell you that it’s ok not to read this if it’s a post that might upset you. I understand that infertility is not a soft subject and it can be difficult for many people, but I really need to put these feelings out there and vent about some of the comments I’ve been receiving.
So, I’ll guess I’ll start by saying that I am infertile. If you’ve seen my recent tweets, then you’ll already know this as I did post some of my frustration there. I have known this for three to four years now, although I knew it was a possibility for a year before that. The reason for my infertility is not something that I really speak about on my blog or in this community much, which is my eating disorder. I have anorexia and this has ceased my ovulation. I’ve had some fertility tests done in the last couple of years, and despite the possibility of recovery in the future, I was told that it’s not possible for my body to handle a pregnancy due to the other medical problems that I now have.
I feel it’s important to clarify that many womb-owning anorexia recoverers (is that a word?) can go to on to conceive if they are weight restored, have menstruation/ovulate and/or their body has had a period of time to heal. It can take longer for this to happen, but it’s still possible for many people. Whilst this is fantastic news for my friends who suffer, it’s not possible for everyone. I’m one of these people who it’s not possible for.
As I have known since the age of sixteen that it was likely, I have kind of made peace with it. I have accepted it, but it seems that others around me haven’t. I feel like this is lifes way of telling me that it’s just not in the cards for me and honestly, I’m ok with that. I now feel that it’s better if I can’t, because I don’t think I’d be able to deal with it if I bought a child into this world and passed some of my problems onto them. I don’t think it’s fair and I couldn’t bring someone into this world for them to just be miserable. Maybe I am saying things like this to make the news easier to deal with or maybe I actually feel this way, but regardless of whichever it is, I shouldn’t have to deal with the comments, especially from those that I care about, that I am fending off on a regular basis.
Here are just a few of the comments I have received from people, some of which include my family or those who know me offline and are aware of my situation:
- “What will you do with your life now that can’t have kids?”
- “Real women can have kids.”
- “It’s your own fault, if you didn’t do this to yourself, you’d be able to have kids.” (this one is particularly upsetting to me – Anorexia is not something I “did” to myself. It’s something that the mental illness did to me.)
- “Are you going to adopt? Foster? Get a surrogate? You do want children, right?”
- “It’s your duty as a girlfriend/wife to give your partner a child.” (Are we still in the sixties?)
- “Why is he with you if you can’t give him a family?”
I’ll start with the less offensive of these and work through them. The questions regarding wanting children and other methods of fertility. I know many people who can’t have children would love them, so I see why these questions are asked, but it’s the way that these people ask the questions. It’s like they are expecting me to say yes, simply because I’m a woman, and what sort of monster woman doesn’t want them? Well, me. If I can’t have them, then I won’t. I support others who do have children and that’s fantastic for them, but what’s right for them, isn’t right for me and I’m not going to bring a child into this world through some other measure just because society says that I should.
“It’s your duty/why is he with you?” Personally, I think these questions are extremely insensitive and rude. I am actually disgusted by these comments, but I don’t think people realise how hurtful these types of sentences can be. Family is not the be all and end all of a relationship. We can be a family without a child and as long as I satisfy him and he’s happy – why should you care whether a child is involved or not? We are now in 2016, so I really shouldn’t have to defend myself for not having children.
As for the I’ve brought it on my myself and other disgusting comments regarding my mental illness, I have lots to say about that and none of it is pleasant, so I’ll keep those thoughts to myself. Like you should. If you’re a person who’s ever said this to me, I hope you understand how inappropriate and disgusting these comments are. If I didn’t feel bad enough about myself already, I have people like this coming in and making things worse. It’s almost like if it was for any other reason, other than Anorexia, they’d shut up and say nothing. I think that’s what makes this so upsetting to me. If it wasn’t for a mental health reason, they’d just accept it.
Why should I be made to feel bad about not being able to have a child and not wanting to go through other methods to have one? Motherhood is not for everybody and it seems that it’s just not meant to be for me. I find it extremely rude that people suggest I’m less of a woman for not being able to have a child. I am actually a real woman, because I’m a woman. I have thoughts and feelings too and it seems to me that some people forget that and just look at me as though all I am is a womb.
It seems to be a very common thing for people to comment on others fertility and family size throughout a relationship. It starts with “so, when are you getting married?” and leads to “when are we having a grandchild?” – I really believe that people need to stop this. You don’t know the ins and outs of someones relationship, health and life, so you have no idea what these questions stir up in people. If my partner knew about this before our relationship started and he loves me regardless, then why can’t others just leave it alone?