Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Busting a Myth-Blame Game

To honor National Infertility Awareness Week I have chosen to repost a piece I wrote two years ago for RESOLVE's call for writers.
The theme was "busting myths" about infertility.
Here is my contribution:
one of many sticks I peed on
MYTH: You did something to cause your infertility that is why you can’t get pregnant
According to RESOLVE there are few lifestyle choices that cause permanent damage to your fertility. I think when push comes to shove; the easiest path for most is the “blame game”.
For us the first years of our infertility was my fault; according to doctors and family at least.
I cannot tell you how often I heard that I must be doing something wrong…
you must not have counted the days correctly.
You must not have kept your pelvis tilted long enough? 
You probably didn’t have sex enough or at the right times.
Being a longtime vegetarian
You just are not trying hard enough
If they were not focusing on our sex life; they were offering up suggestions for food, exercise, eastern medicine and rituals. In our physicians, friends and families eyes, this was entirely our fault and we had clearly overlooked something.  It quickly became insulting and hurtful.
Well, we were rabbits! I have been a healthy vegetarian for close to twenty years, I had never drank, I had never smoked, I took my vitamins, I moved my body, I wasn’t overweight or underweight. I was just your average healthy Jane; nothing remarkable or special about me.  
We explored non-traditional medicines, exercises, meditations and non-evasive medical treatments that fit our beliefs.
When I finally complained about extreme pain (I waited several months to do this as I thought I needed to suffer to become a mother), I was told that I was overreacting to having painful periods. It was only after advocating for myself that it was discovered that there was a medical reason for my infertility, and it had NOTHING to do with my lifestyle or lack of trying.
My Infertility came from a combination of a birth defect and aggressively relentless fibroids, cysts and stage IV Endometriosis. Nothing I could have eaten, taken, or chosen did this.
Making love 24 hours a day, 7 days a week would never have changed this.
It was not my fault and no one is to blame.
This is the message that is the hardest to still get through people’s minds. The easiest route is to play the blame game; the harder choice is to be empathetic.
So I implore you to "Be tough" and make the harder choices.

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