- Lisa Manterfield - "I'm taking my eggs and going home."
- Pamela Tsigdinos - “Silent Sorority: A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found.”
- Miriam Zoll - “Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High-Tech Babies.”
I must admit though, at the end of Lisa's book, I was really disappointed. You see, I was looking for her experiences and insights from after she made the decision to stop treatments. I was looking for how she handled life once the door to motherhood was slammed closed for good. Sections about the difficulties of treatments were skimmed over as I searched for the next chapter in life. When the book finished and there was nothing about the months or years post treatments, frustration set in.
So when Pamela's book shifted into that gear fairly soon, I was thrilled. Finally, some insight into where I am in my life right now.
I'm only 17% into Miriam's book. It's definitely going to be a different type of read. More facts and statistics about infertility - both with our understanding of it, the treatment of it, and the fertility industry. However, I just know I'm still going to devour her story just as much as I did Lisa's and Pamela's.
From all of this reading as well as the many blogs and forums I have been submerging myself in, I have begun to see both differences and similarities in my story compared to others.
The biggest difference so far is my experiences with society. I don't seem to have felt the same level of judgement that so many others have. I have given this much thought and there seem to be several factors that could account for this.
- Is it because Australian society is different to say, American society, for example? Do we, as a nation, not place the same expectations on society as a whole? Are we more easy going with peoples life choices? Not so stuck in the dogma of tradition and that life must be a certain way? Certainly life is geared towards the family but that doesn't mean there is judgement placed on those that don't have children.
- Or is it my social circle? My nearest and dearest are all career women who began their families in their 20's. Yet not once, have I ever felt judged by them. Our friendships most definitely changed as their lives began to spin around juggling career and families, but there wasn't ever any purposeful casting out, just changing circumstances.
- Then there is my career. I am a musician, being an instrumental teacher for the most part. A fairly solitary career at it's core. We travel from school to school teaching a day here and a day there, so we aren't truly a part of any school social setting. And our teaching is mostly one on one with the students. No judgement there! So I guess, in contrast to those who work in a office setting with the same people everyday, there isn't the same situation of office talk and pregnancy in your face.
- Perhaps a big part of the difference is that because of my long term issues with eating and weight, I have been constantly and cruelly judged and ostracized by society for all of my adult life, so much so, that the issue of being childless fades into the background. Unlike infertility, there is nothing hidden about being a larger build and the prejudice around that is detrimental and interferes with every aspect of ones life. The many factors surrounding this addiction, to an extent, also saw me retreat from the world at large, so maybe I haven't found myself in the firing line of being judged for singledom and childlessness as much as others have been.
- Lastly, I think that for me, I was single for a long time before I met DH. There were relationships, but none that brought about the question of children. People accepted that. I never got the attitude of "you better hurry up and find someone, so you can have kids". When I met DH, we started trying to have children before we even got engaged. Getting married was always going to happen, there was no hurry. But because of my age, we knew we needed to start trying to have children soon.
So before I could receive the "when are you going to have children", "why don't you have children, it's the best thing I've ever done" comments, people already knew we were doing IVF.
I think for me the issue is more of society, through it's daily life, reminding me of my heartache over not having children. Not feeling judged as much as others have been, doesn't take away that heartache. Society is still built around families and we can't escape that. Pregnancy announcements, bouncing babies, the joys of parenthood. The pain I feel at seeing other people live out my dream of motherhood is replicated in every blog I have read over the last couple of months. It is always there staring us in the face and reminding us of what we can never have for ourselves.
It is a confusing topic to say the least. There are so many possible factors for the cause of the differences I have felt over societies reactions. I feel for every woman out there who has been subjected to that along with the pain of the daily reminders. I hope it is something that can be changed through conversation and education and I am definitely an advocate for speaking out.
I would love to hear your thoughts on all this. My understanding of this issue is far from finished!! Not to mention the experiences that are still to come that might change my perception.
Have you felt societies judgements? Or has it also been different for you? If so, how was it different?