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La Vida in Vitro, Epilogue to Part 1 ~ Thursday, August 21, 2008



La Vida in Vitro, Epilogue to Part 1


An Urban Myth for the Infertile

I have many friends who, over the years, have told me innumerable stories about how "a friend of a friend was struggling, just like you. But then, she and her husband gave up and started taking steps to adopt a child/had just adopted a baby/had given up on having children. And then, guess what? She got pregnant!"

I know this is true. I know people who have lived this very phenomenon themselves. Actual friends, who share this with me as their experience. It's a beautiful thing--and what a wonderful event, to be blessed with such a bounty of love and children. This is their experience and their reality.

But, it seems that if someone hears you're infertile, or sterile, this is the often the standard panacea, told by someone with no direct experience of infertility, concerning the friend of a friend. (I'm inferring the lack of direct experience in many cases, just because if they'd struggled with it themselves, they'd likely have learned how complex and varied the different causes of infertility can be.)

Everyone, without exception, who has told me this story has done so with the best of intentions, no doubt because they don't realise (and haven't asked, or given me the chance to explain) that in some cases, infertility can be conclusive and irreversible. They're doing it to cheer me up, to give me hope and help me feel better. At first, when this used to happen, I'd smile and thank them. Sometimes I'd try to explain that for me, this is a biological impossibility, while touching on the whole deities and healing hands bit.

But this is one of those memes that's as robust and tenacious as those albino crocodiles in the sewers. And, because I don't like being coy, and saying,

"Oh yes, well, I have some ahem, medical stuff coming up"

or lying outright and saying,

"We're uh, just not ready to um, start a family right now",

it's entirely possible that a question like,

"where have you been all this time?" or

"what will you be doing next week?" or

"so, when are you and Tom going to start working on a family?"

will result in some mention of my infertility. And then, often as not, The Story will, once again, rear its grim and gossamer head, and I'll smile wanly and mumble something like, "well, that's lucky. Good for them."

See, it's not that I call it an Urban Myth because it's not true. I call it an Urban Myth because it's Out There, and because for many people who are infertile, depending on the nature of our condition, it could never, ever, apply to us. And so, for us, it truly is a myth--one that we hear depressingly often, and which serves as a reminder of the kind of pleasant surprise we're never going to experience for ourselves.

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::Posted by Anduril Elessar @ 6:00 PM::::

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Anduril Elessar
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