So I've really thought about it... A lot... And, to say the comments from that person's page don't bother me would be a lie. Because, really, who likes to hear trash about themselves. But, in a day of thinking, I've come to several conclusions.
First, I actually kind of feel sorry for the person. I read through some of her pages (I know... Everyone would say that was a waste of my time) and found out that, although she is my age and wants eight kids, she is currently celibate. That has to be painful. To want a family but to not be active towards one. On top of that, I found a few contradictions (like infertility treatments should only be for people who are older or ill and need help conceiving, yet she considers my PCOS not an illness worthy of fertility treatments.) And this got me thinking. Most people believe infertility to be something you just move on from. They dont view it as a disease. And, therefore, it is easy to say "Just live childless" or "Just adopt" (which, I take offense to because there should never be a "just" in front of adopt, as though it is some substandard option). But infertility is a problem and should be treated as such.
Would we tell the woman with breast cancer to just "deal" with her misshapen breasts or make harsh comments if she opted for breast augmentation? Or, if someone lost their hair to alopecia, would we make fun of them for choosing to wear a wig? Of course not... Because they are sick and these are valid treatments for their psyches and for what the disease robs of them.
I have Hashimoto's- should I forgo my medication? PCOS took my menstrual cycle and ovulation away; FSH injections gave me them back. It is a medication for a disease. And, yes, I was able to conceive and am grateful for that, but treating a disease is one of the benefits of modern medicine. I had surgery to correct my IC, which is a physical condition. Why wouldn't I? Why wouldn't someone with cataracts have eye surgery? It's not different. These are diseases and conditions and their treatments. Pregnancy doesn't make a difference if you are trying to repair things that are broken in your body.
The writer seems to have a problem with young marriage and people under 35 actively trying to conceive. I make no apologies for being a young bride. It was the best decision I ever made. Her argument is, if it is the real thing, then why not wait a while. My parents dated for years and divorced after 20. My best friend waited until she was out of college after several years of dating and divorced after 9. Waiting doesnt prolong marriage any more than early marriage does. I've been with Peter since 1998 and I wouldnt change one thing. The struggles of being married young only strengthened us, as did growing up, in many ways, did. I'm grateful for that. As to trying to conceive from the moment of our marriage, we knew we wanted a family and that I would struggle to conceive due to my amenorrhea. Since we werent sure how long conceiving would take, we started early. And yes, we dont believe in birth control (another source of contention with the writer).
I was 27 when I met Dr. Lee. Considering fertility is considered to nose dive around 28, this doesn't seem overly young to me. I'd accomplished what I wanted professionally and I was ready to be a housewife and stay-at-home mother. Contrary to the writer's obvious bias against those choices, they are that: my choices. I choose to stay at home. It wasn't forced on me, nor should it be forced on anyone. She diagnosed my illness and prescribed a treatment which worked and found us pregnant. Unfortunately, my IC was an underlying condition that was left untreated and ended in the loss of our pregnancy. With my first trimester losses, we dont know the causes because, unfortunately, miscarriages prior to 8 weeks are common and there is a lack of understanding regarding the cause. It pains me that my IC wasn't treatable until I became pregnant with Bobby and Maya, but I am grateful every day that it was and I was able to carry them as far as I did.
The writer makes a fairly large deal out of my losses and that, perhaps, God was telling me that I shouldnt have biological children. Wow... To think that all it takes is fertility treatments to circumvent God... I now know what to do whenever I want to go "one up" on God- medical science! The God I believe in is more powerful than that; if I werent meant to conceive, then I never would have. End of story. We all know people who have undergone serious fertility treatments (and I dont consider medication "serious" fertility treatments) without success. So, it does happen. Science cant answer all of our questions or fix all of our illnesses. But to say that God doesnt want something and our doing it made it possible? I dont believe that. And, until she or I talk to God in person, neither of us will know what God can do, cant do, or wants. If we believe that God is the architect of life, then all life comes from him. Regardless of whether that conception took place with or without assistance.
Yes, adoption makes you a parent, just like birthing a child does. And yes, we plan to adopt. In fact, we were working with an agency. But, in addition to expensive, our agency required a mandatory waiting period after the birth of a child, so our file had to be put as inactive. And, although it will be money well spent, the treatment for my PCOS was fully covered by my insurance, which made that option an easier one. In the end, we are all related anyway and biology means very little.
And, as to waiting a year or however long in between conception, I didnt notice a medical degree or a residency in gynecology and obstetrics after this woman's name, so I think I'll stick with both my RE and OB, who are members of ACOG, and both advised three months after any 12 week pregnancy. The March of Dimes lists after one menstrual cycle, which seems to be in agreement with both the CDC and ACOG. They also say that the woman should feel emotionally able to continue. For some women, this might mean never, and for some, it might mean right away. My doctors, both, had psych consults with us and decided we were well enough emotionally to continue. Again, I view their medical expertise with a little more than the grain of salt that I view the opinion of someone who doesn't know me.
The writer also has some opinions regarding my religious beliefs. Religion and spirituality are personal choices and, while the world will probably never fully agree, to assault the head of one's church (while, at the same time, professing your diehard belief to your own faith) is insulting, and, honestly, a little immature. But, as the sign on the church I passed yesterday said: "Forgive your enemies: it messes with their heads."
It is clear that this woman has never gone through the loss of a pregnancy, and, God willing, she never will. But, as countless medical professionals will point out, our children start showing physical characteristics once their features begin forming. And, any psychologist will tell you, that naming your child, holding your child, and taking as many photos and momentos of your child- REGARDLESS of when they die, will make your grief and your healing easier. As to why we couldnt baptize our first trimester children. Unfortunately, due to their embryonic state, there was nothing of their bodies that we could save to bury, cremate or baptize. In addition, our faith believes that baptism is a sacrament for the living, hence, our our five children who were born alive were given the Rite of (Catholic) Christian Baptism. As baptized Catholics, our three children who died after baptism were entitled to a funeral or memorial Mass. Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander, Bobby, and Maya were ALL born in the technical second trimester. And, until the moment they exited my womb, they were all medically considered fetuses (which is from the 8th week, when the baby exits the embryonic period, to birth). It is a sad truth that, in spite of all medicine has accomplished, it is impossible to save babies born in the early part of the second trimester. Yet, that does not negate any short lives that they are possible to have outside the womb. Yes, eyes may be fused shut and lungs may be incapable of long term breathing. However, a moment of life is a moment of life, and is something to be celebrated and remembered.
Miscarriage. Stillbirth. Infant Death. It bothers the writer that I differentiate between my miscarried (first trimester) babies and my second trimester babies who passed after their brief lives outside the womb. She argues that babies born prior to 20 weeks are miscarriages; and, as hard as it is for many of us to accept, babies born prior to 20 weeks who show no sign of life are not considered stillborn by the medical establishment and are considered miscarried children. If my babies had passed before birth, it would kill me to think of them as "miscarriages", although it would be medically accurate. However, due to their circumstances, they are considered to have died in infancy. Would they have died in spite of medical treatment, sadly yes because their bodies were not equipped for outside of the womb. But grief isnt measured in timelines or words. It's measured by love; and not one of us can compare or contrast the grief of another person with our own. It is too unique to do so.
Friends, we shouldnt judge this woman for her lack of compassion and understanding, or by her ignorance, be cause she doesnt know any better. We can call her tactless and believe what she is saying is cruel, but, really, do any of us know how we would feel had we not had these experiences ourselves? We hope that we would be understanding of those around us, but do we really know what we would think inside? She is putting to words what she feels, the same as many of us. It hurts because we know the flip side of her writings- what it is like to long for a child and to be faced with losing that child way too soon.
When I met my husband and he explained that his family had special dinners of remembrance on my brother-in-law's birthday and deathday, I found it odd. I couldnt understand. At one time, I think I may have even told him I found it a little morbid. I just couldnt understand how healing remembering could be. He talked to me for hours about how remembering brought solace to his soul. And, while I wish that none of us had to know how true that is, he's right. Remembering my children is a light in darkness for me. I would never wish that away. I would never stop simply because someone else doesnt understand. Because, until they have a reason to, they may never be able to.
I dont know why, of all the blogs on life and death, she stumbled upon mine and chose to write about it. And, it really doesnt matter. Perhaps by the compassion we show- to each other AND to her- we can give a deeper insight into the world that we live in and the lives we carry on after loss and heartbreak. Forgiveness isnt easy; but it isnt about the other person. It's about ourselves and what makes us who we are.
Thank you for jumping to my defense and for your outpouring of support. Every time I think that my blogging life may be coming to an end, you guys show me what this is all about. We have choices: we can be quiet in our journeys and struggles, and allow people to believe that miscarriage and loss and infertility are things to be ashamed of. Our we can be open in our journeys and struggles and let others like us know they are not alone. That path is not without bumps. It's not without negative thoughts from others or without fear about what others may think. But the only way we will ever take the stigma away from grief and infertility is to stand up for ourselves and to not feel shame. We have nothing to be sorry for. Our illness doesnt define us.
And the words of others don't either.