"Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say."
"Always look on the bright side of life?"
"No, 'Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition.'"

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What's in a Title?

After the last week and the ups and downs, I have been left with a few questions regarding the IF community. I know that others have written on what I am about to discuss but this is the first time I really feel I don't belong. So if you are a person who easily offends, stop here or just deal, okay?

What markers, milestones, or procedures make us adopt the title, "Infertile"? Is there a magic number, date or test that pushes us into that infertile pond?

If a couple is trying for 2 years, she has PCOS, he is fine but they have only tried Clomid due to religious beliefs, are they allowed to be deemed infertile?

What if a couple has tried for 1.5 years and is undiagnosed and does their first IUI, are they infertile?

Or, the couple in their late 30's with nothing medically keeping them from getting pregnant but it alludes them for 5 years, does the IVF they finally try make them more infertile?

Now, what about financially? If I spend $1500 and end up pregnant after 5 years and someone else spends $50,000 in 2 years, were they more infertile than I, or should I even be allowed to count myself as a card carrying member?

I guess I don't understand the ground rules. If I am content with just trying medication in lieu of procedure, should I even tell people I am barren? Have I earned enough stripes after 5 years to feel like one of the team?

I feel like I am on the outside looking in. I don't fit in with the "it" crowd. I have done IUI but not IVF. I have done Clomid but no injections. I have had the HSG but no Lap. Do I even have the right to bitch about not getting pregnant? Maybe I need to just suck it up and realize I am on the fringe and unless I shell out a lifetime of savings, I just get to look in the window and wonder how come I don't find comfort for my ailing soul.

How sad is it that I am coveting the couples going through more than I am because I feel unworthy around them... Bleck!


Lori said...

Wow. I am wondering what people have said to you to make you feel this way.

This reminds me of the Pain Olympics, where we compare whose pain is the worst. The one who never conceived? The one who had a chemical pregnancy? The one who miscarried? The one who endured a stillbirth? The one who lost a toddler, a tween, a teenager?

I don't think it's like a Drivers License in a liquor store. You shouldn't have to prove you're a "member" to consider yourself one.

I'm sorry you are feeling this way.

Tammy said...

Actually, it was dinner with DH and his BF and wife that started the thinking. They are expecting #2and DH laid out our struggle. Several comments were made that kinda irked me.

Then it was P.J. and the post about pregnancy after IF and a several comments I have heard from various sources in the last month.

I guess I just feel like we kinda turn on each other at times without realizing it and it bugs me.

KatieM said...

I think it's all individual....do I consider myself an IFer because I tried for 2.5 years, went through 1 m/c and did 5 IUIs. Do I know there are people out there who have it much harder than myself? People who HAVE to do IVF or those who have specific issues to get around other than just being "unexplained"...yes, I whole heartedly understand that.

I think it just all goes back to human nature and "knowing your place" or just plain common decency. For example, yes, I went through a m/c, but in no way could I relate to the pain of a stillbirth....I could be sorry it happened and sorry someone had to go through it, but I could never in a million years say "I can relate". In the same manner I think it is distasteful for someone who tried for 6 months to say they had "trouble" when speaking to someone who has been trying for years and maybe has gone through several failed treatment rounds. Lastly, there is a hierarchy of BFP when it comes to the IF world...it's just human nature...if we are all truly honest with ourselves are we going to be as happy for a BFP for someone who has been trying for less time than ourselves? Probably not.Are you going to be as happy for someone who got pregnant naturally naturally just over their year mark than for someone who finally got a BFP after IVF (or several IVF's for that matter)?

I don't think there is any specific point where you "join the club", you just sort of find yourself there ...it's all an individual process of choices and struggle, while at the same time acknowledging and respecting the journey of others.

JMO though.

Laurel said...

I am so sorry you are feeling this way.
Unfortunately, it isn't a card holding club because if it was maybe there would be a few perks. I am thinking a freebie now and then or a break on your bill with membership. Or maybe even dinner coupons when you reach a number of treatments or a buy one get one free! Heh if only......

Don't let the heated emotions of the issue get you down(you wish, right). Know that there are people out here for you and in a moments notice, we would all be here for you offering support.

VA Blondie said...

I have always felt that the "infertile" title is both medical and personal. There is an official medical definition of infertility. I suspect more people fit the definition than will claim the title.

I do not think it matters how many procedures people have done, or how long they have been trying. I feel that if you are unable to concieve and sustain a pregnancy, you are likely infertile.

Hubby and I made the decision not to pursue IVF. I do not think this makes us any different than other infertile couples. Not everyone has the emotional and financial reserves to undertake IVF.

Hope said...

I do know how you feel. Infertility has so many aspects, it is so unfair and evokes so many emotions.

Some people can be so oblivious to our pain and will say the most hurtful things. Then there are those that just don't give a flip.

Sending you big ole hugs!!

Tammy said...

I really think there comes a point when a person realizes it is not just bad timing.

I also know anytime we start comparing pain and 'war stories' that there is always going to be one person who has more scars. I look at it this way, one person's setback can be someone else's devestation. Each individual deals with pain differently.

The perfect example is someone with an abusive parent. One person may go on to abuse and the other person may end up helping others of abuse. It is all on how we interalize it.

I think TTC and IF are the same way. My five years may be an eternity for someone else and they may have given up by now.

Yes, I do feel less 'hurt' an IVF + more than a natural just past a year + but I don't discount the fact that both situations are unique.

My beef is having someone tell me and tell me that my path is less significant to IF because I haven't pulled out the 'heavy artillery'.

Jen said...

I guess the concept of your path being less painful because you haven't moved to more invasive procedures like IVF irks me. If you have more barriers in your path to taking those steps, maybe your path is more painful because you can't even go there. I think the main problem is that we often try to compare situations, when the truth is that we all forge our own path. Sometimes it is difficult to relate to those who have gone a different route or made different choices. Never should it be made into a hierarchy or for the purposes of exclusion. But I know it feels that way often times.

Tammy said...

Jen - You said exactly waht I was meaning so much better than I did. Thank you.

Monica Fayth said...

I know exactly what you mean. Even after I hit my 1 year TTC anniversary, I didn't feel like I fit in with some of the other ladies who were on webMD's 6+ board since they all seemed to have been through so much more than I had. And then I started Clomid and Prometrium and found out that DH's count was on the low side. But I still didn't feel like I fit in to either 6+ or JSO. Then I had my first IUI, but still didn't feel quite right on the IFTSG.

I think that's why I never got that involved in the blogosphere. It just always seemed like I hadn't paid my dues yet b/c there are so many ladies out there that have had such a harder time. In fact, I'm not sure if I would have even felt comfortable announcing my bfp if Nancy's IVF would have failed.

But in reality, we all belong to the club. unfortunately. And I don't think that anyone dealing with IF is more or less deserving than the rest of us. Even though it feels that way sometimes. Okay, I know this was your vent, but I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone.

nancy said...

As an IVFer, I honestly do feel a little different. That I did so much more than I ever had. But I don't feel that just doing it had made me any more infertile. Not at all. My IVF was simply because I could afford it, not because I "needed" it more than anyone else. And I think that's the cade with a lot of people. I'm not sure the majority of the IVFers went through 5 ~years~ of ttc before finally coming to the decision of IVF. I really think it's simply more of a financial choice for many.

So, no. I don't think the heavy artillery makes anyone more infertile than someone else. Going through IVF did make me feel like I've done a hell of a lot more than some people who may have only done clomid, but that's a big DUH.

jenn said...

I agree that Jen said it perfectly- so my comment is only that I am there now: "I feel like I am on the outside looking in. I don't fit in with the "it" crowd."

I have just recently started refering to myself a infertile. After 18 failed months of trying naturally. I still don't say it out loud- this is an interal admission. But for me- I ~feel~ IF now. But I still don't think I 'belong' - i haven't done a single thing medically beyond getting tested. I have no 'scars' or battle stories- but the waiting & failing & knowing there is no medical rason for it makes me feel like my heart & body have 'joined the club' so to speak. I am still hesitant to say out loud though- I do feel like an imposter because of my lack of medical/RE history.

I am close though- ironically I am closer to being vocal in real life than on my blog. I find myself itching to tell people that this is really hard- I am technically infertile- we have no options right now- and that makes me feel ~more~ infertile. And ask them to please be nice & never mention their friends new accidental pregnancy, or how much they wish they could just go out like I can, but their new (perfect) baby stops them.
wow- this turned into a rant of my own. oops!

Jewels said...

Jen did say what I was thinking, sometimes I feel like I'm watching the train go by, knowing if I got on, I'd have a much higher chance of reaching my final destination, and in a much shorter period of time, but there are reasons in life that I cannot jump on that train, I want to run full force to it, but I cant. And that in its self is a different pain, not more pain, or less pain, not pain that is "unworthy" or "self inflicted". But just pain.

I appreciate your post; it does get me thinking WHO I'd like to be in relationship to the fertile, infertile, IT world.

I like to think of my self as someone who doesn’t compare scars, I don’t know if I am, I want to be someone who can support someone when they are hurt, be elated for someone who feels joy, but the hard part, I think your talking about in this post, is validating my own feelings. Sometimes I feel like I need to the rank of importance on my feelings before I can know how to feel about them. “what should I feel with what I’ve been through”.
Its funny how I can be crying for one friend's infertility, jumping up and down for someone else’s BFP, and still be in a completely different place with my own, and there is no stability in my own, nothing really makes sense when I feel like I’m in the infancy of infertility, and I still cant step in the door, I feel like 18 months of TTC does not merit a deserving membership, like there will be pissed off old timers who say “what are you doing here, your just a baby”. I don’t feel like my stripes are worthy, I’m not beat up enough, or I place someone else’s stripes as more important than mine. Comparing is painful, especially when its me I’m judging and beating down.

My post on my blog about “who am I to say how someone should feel” , well this topic is the whole reason I didn’t say anything, She is scared, that’s it, its not saying anything about me, its just where she’s at right now. I find thoughts coming into my brain, but … I still don’t say anything, I don’t want to discount someone else’s feelings, because whether or not she understands where I’ve been or what I’m going through, the truth is I don’t have a clue where she’s been or what she’s going through, and instead of patronizing her to validate her stripes, I just sat there and knew that what ever stripes she may have, its not my business or my place to question, and it just feels better to support.

((sigh)) but we are all individuals, (heh) come to think of it, I didn’t know you felt this way, I naturally would have though that after 5 years of TTC, you (or anyone) would feel your place, I really didn’t know that the feelings of being lost continue. ~hugs~ and then I think of a friends comment on how after IF and IT and finally getting a BFT. There is a feeling of undeservingness to enjoy a pregnancy because of all the others who can’t, or have not gotten pregnant yet. That is sad, I think we all deserve to Openly feel the way we feel, unfortunately, too many people try to question it, change it, or beat it down.

chicklet said...

I totally used to feel this way too, like I hadn't been through enough to get credit, but seriously, whenever it is that you're feeling this way, it's probably when you are part of the crowd. The fact that you'd even weigh in on it means you get it, so you are one ofus.