Two of a kind, working on a full house.

19 Feb

As we round out the first cycle of the TTC break, I find myself becoming pensive and sad. It seems that no matter how much wine you drink or how many miles you run the ache that accompanies the inability to conceive will find you.

We ate at a local Mexican restaurant yesterday for lunch. As Randall and I sat munching on chips and salsa and talking about how we love the word haberdashery and other random things, I noticed women gathering in the party room I was facing. I watched as pink and brown balloons were set up, as piles of pastel presents arrived. Women laughed and fawned over the two cakes, both diaper and traditional. The expectant mother arrived as we got our check, her face lit up and her grin grew as large as her burgeoning belly as she saw all of the work the women had put in for her unborn little girl. Taking it all in, I surprisingly felt no jealousy, no envy, just a hollow sadness.

I had a ridiculous spat with a friend yesterday. We were talking about when we plan to start treatment and how I was feeling about it. I let my upbeat attitude lapse for a minute and told her it was kind of unbelievable, I just never imagined how it would feel to write a check for a chance to conceive a child. She flippantly replied that she had had to pay for her daughter too, so she totally understood. I responded back that I thought paying for a vasectomy reversal and a subsequent immediate natural conception was a little different. I felt like a bitch the second I said it, because really who I am to judge.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about before I wrote all this other stuff. I was thinking of joining a message board for people dealing with infertility. I thought it would be helpful for me to have people who had been there to talk to during treatment cycles. I had one picked out, had added my “history” to my profile signature as is protocol for the board and began reading the board daily so I could get the vibe  down before introducing myself. Unfortunately through this reading, I now know I will not be joining this board.

Last week, a “regular” poster made a post regarding “real infertiles.” She complained that she was tired of seeing people who were new to infertility coming to their board and getting pregnant. She felt like her infertility and that of her friends who had been around for awhile was much worse than those who were new and demanded “respect for the veterans from the new people.”

Sadly, this is a really common thought in infertility circles. It’s like this twisted game of poker. A girl using Clomid with annovulatory cycles has a full house, but that is always trumped by the four of a kind of someone doing IUI and the royal flush of infertility is having to resort to IVF. Having failed a combination of any of these in addition to the use of others gets you more chips, while a very bad diagnosis or a miscarriage coupled with failed cycles gives you the pot. Using this analogy, as someone with an unexplained diagnosis and no treatment cycles under my belt, I am not even invited to the table. Sickly, I can only assume I’ll be able to buy in when I give myself that first injection.

I’ve been thinking about the psychology behind this line of thinking for awhile. I have come to the conclusion that since becoming a mother is the gold standard of womanhood those who can not achieve this Holy Grail of motherhood on their own have to justify their worth as women by the amount of work they are willing to put in to become mothers. Bitterness accompanies these justifications because deep down, no one wants to be here, no one wants to win the poker game of infertility.

Sadly, this theory doesn’t rest solely on the infertiles of the world. The same motherhood hierarchy continues when it comes to breastfeeding, diapering, immunizations, educating, rearing, etc. The common line of thinking seems to be that the “harder” you work at being a mother, the better mother you are. Who decides these standards? Why do we buy into them?

This entry got heavy at the end, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile and wanted to get it out here. I am going to do an update on the Ten Before Treatment sometime early in the week, so stay tuned.

**Bonus points for knowing the cheesy country music reference the title came from.** 🙂


2 Responses to “Two of a kind, working on a full house.”

  1. Lacey February 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm #

    I agree with your observations of motherhood and always trying to be the best of the best. And I’m not even a mother. I think it’s incredibly sad that some judge others based on their parenting decisions (such as breastfeeding, using cloth diapers, etc.). I’m not sure why women continue to tear each other down in this respect, but sadly it’s not the only area of our lives where we tear each other down.

    Oh and surprise, surprise, I know this one. I do love Garth Brooks.

    • leslieford February 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      Of everyone, you getting this one surprised me. 🙂

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