Tuesday, April 26, 2011

National Infertility Awareness Week -Myth Busting

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and in support of that, Resolve has asked us to bust an infertility myth on our blogs. I have thought a lot about what myth I could talk about. There are lots of misunderstandings in the world of infertility and lots of amazing blogs are tackling them this week. Melissa over at Stirrup Queens has an amazing one about the land in between those who have struggled, but now have children (like us) and those still in the trenches of trying to conceive. It is a great post and absolutely worth reading. But the myth I decided to write about is this:

"Infertile people are selfish. There are lots of kids in need of a good home. They should just adopt."

This is going to be a two part myth bust, but stay with me, The first part is the "just adopt" part of this statement. This is a myth that is always hard for me to hear, and I have heard it a lot. Maybe it's hard for me because there was a day when I know I would have said it. I can hear my 17 year old self, freshly back from a mission trip working in an orphanage in Haiti, feeling exactly this way. Maybe it's because I have two amazing nieces through the wonderful process of adoption. Nieces that I can say with all my heart that I could not love any more if they were my sisters biological children. They are lights of my life. Truly.

Here's the thing about this myth. I am not sure everyone realizes how difficult adoption is. No part of the adoption process, domestic or international, deserves the word "just" in front of it. The emotional draining and incredibly expensive process is just as difficult, and in some ways harder, than going through fertility treatments. The waiting, the paperwork, the home inspections, the money, the courts, if international, the other countries government, THE WAITING. My sister and her husband have been waiting on their daughter to come from from Guatemala for three and a half years. And they are still waiting. They have spent several times more money than we have spent on infertility treatments. Adoption is amazing, but adoption is not easy. It is not something you "just" do.

And now, to the second part of my myth busting. That infertile people are selfish for spending time and money, for injecting our bodies with these hormones, for going to the ends of the earth to carry a child. Sometimes not even always a biological child. We all know how common egg and sperm donation are. And we keep pushing. Keep trying. Keep paying money for one more cycle. Doing anything to become parents.

And I guess a small part of me sees how, from the outside, it may look selfish. And maybe a part of the process is, but not the part that chooses this over adoption. Only the part that chooses this over living child free. It may be selfish to desire a child this much, but nobody on the outside can begin to imagine how that feels. To want something more than anything else in this world, something that is natural and should come easy, something you feel you are meant to do, and for it to be just out of reach. For me, going through infertility treatments has been and continues to be both the most selfish and, at the same time, selfless things I have ever done in my life. I sacrificed my body to bring a child into this world. Poking and prodding, needles and ultrasounds. Blood draws, hopes, dreams, crushing emotions. All to have a child. The most selfless act. Because in reality, I did it all for him. It was my first test of motherhood. What will I do for my child? My child I don't know for sure exists. The answer was absolutely whatever it takes.

How we get to parenthood is a very personal choice. To assume that people are wrong for choosing fertility treatments over adoption is just a lack of knowledge in regards to both categories. Neither road is easy. Actually, both roads are extremely difficult. Both roads cost insane amounts of money. Both roads are full of questions and emotions and heart ache. But both roads are also, hopefully, full of joy. The greatest joy I have ever known. And that's why we do it. Both roads. That's why we travel down them, to end at parenthood.

**Learn more about NIAW here, and about the basics of infertility here.**


  1. I hear ya! I just went through a failed adoption (kind of) and I tell people all the time adoption is TOUGH...and adoption does not suddenly make your body 'work'.

  2. Although I cannot ever truly understand infertility, Tim and I have had to make hard choices.
    We were lucky to fall pregnant quickly, but I have been SO ill, that I now know I could never go through pregnancy again. I feel selfish for making a decision like this based on the fact my body really does not respond well to changes in hormones.
    And that is hard, because I always imagined having more than one child. We have discussed the potentiality of fostering or adopting, but it IS so hard and so expensive that we may never be able to take that option. And I am sick of people saying "just you wait", as if I haven't even thought this through. I never said to anyone that I wouldn't like another child, just that for us it isn't really an option. People just don't seem to get it.
    This is my long way of saying this is a great post xx

  3. Thank you for sharing this. There are so many myths that need to be 'busted' in relation to IF. ICLW #32

  4. There are so many people out there who need to hear this. However you get to parenthood, neither of these are easy options. Not sure what divine joke makes it so easy for people who should never have children to do so, but it's a cruel and awful twist to the whole picture that factors in here somewhere too. Some people can be wonderful parents and some never will but all children deserve to be loved. You asked a while back for people to tell you their favorite post you'd made. This is mine!

  5. Very well put. Infertility is hard to understand unless you have been through it.

  6. While adoption isn't easy, I think that a lot of people assume it is too expensive to even consider. While that can be the case, it absolutely isn't always, especially considering the adoption tax credit.
    You're articulate in this as always :)

  7. Well said!

    Adoption is another route to becoming parents, but it's certainly not for everyone and like you said, I do not think couples going through IF should be made to feel like going to the ends of the earth to get pregnant is a 'selfish' choice. Thanks for writing about this. IF is a tough road and I think the more we openly talk about it the better understood it is.

  8. Here for ICLW.

    Great post. People make adoption sound like it's as simple as driving over to Babies R Us and picking out one you like. Anyone who has been through it knows it is anything but.

  9. I went through all the IF stuff, then most of the way through an adoption (that failed) and adoption isn't a cure for infertility. There are no easy solutions and people need to learn this. Great post.

  10. I was thinking, I could send you that book to borrow for a little bit. I'm definitely not using it now and it's a good one to read. Let me know what you think. 100 bucks is WAY too much but it is a great resource. Let me know.

  11. First off, I think you are so strong, not only for putting your body through so much (physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc), but for being courageous enough to share it with us!! I am a die hard bio-girl reader, and you and your family are always in my prayers!! Stay strong and only you and Nick can know what is best for your family!!

  12. Myth busted!

    Nicely stated - the selfishness bit drives me nuts too and just adopt myth is just as you said it!

    I can't wait to