Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lucky Me...



Lately, I have been trying to get onboard the gratitude train.  But I have to say…if one more person tells me how “lucky” I am to have the resources to go through fertility treatments, my head is going to explode.  I get it.  Not everyone can afford IUI’s, IVF’s or donor egg cycles.  I’m blessed to have insurance and savings to cover the treatments.  But I really have to disagree about being “lucky.”

Recently, someone told me that I am lucky that I am dealing with infertility now, as the technology today offers more options for family building.  I also was told that I should feel lucky beacuse there are lots of women who want a baby but don’t have the resources to even try assisted cycles.  The person who recently said this to me is just one of many people (including infertility friends) to tell me why I am so “lucky.”  I’ve had it with the insensitive statements and I've had it with keeping my mouth shut about it.  Maybe the people making these statements didn't mean any harm, but that's kind of irrelevant when it feels like I got punched in the gut whenever I hear the words "You're so lucky."  So here is my rant about why no woman dealing with infertility should be told that she is lucky.

First, no one would ever say to someone diagnosed with cancer that they are lucky that they have chemotherapy and radiation therapy available now, because it wasn’t available in the past.  I’ve watched people go through the side effects of cancer treatments and the emotional pain and fear that goes along with a cancer diagnosis.  There is nothing “lucky” about any of it.  Maybe those with cancer today have better odds of survival now than they would have had in the past.  But they are not lucky and I don’t think anyone would dare tell them that they are.  Likewise, I am not “lucky” to have infertility treatments available to me that weren’t available in the past.  I still have infertility.  I still may never have a child.  The treatments available may give me better odds of having a child, but those treatments also include horrid side effects to medications that I have to inject into myself multiple times per day, every day, for a month at a time, or more.  I am glad that infertility treatments have come a long way, but I don’t think it is fair to say I am lucky to have infertility now, as opposed to infertility in the past.  I’m pretty sure that infertility is equally sucky, no matter when you have it.

Second, I know how blessed I am to be able to pursue ART options, especially the very expensive endeavor of using donor eggs.  I appreciate that there are women who haven’t had the opportunity to pursue ART because of financial considerations, and I think it is deplorable that there isn’t a system in place to make sure that infertility treatment is available to anyone who needs it.  However, again I would argue that I am not lucky to be able to pursue ART.  I would never say to someone who had a miscarriage: “You are lucky.  At least you got a positive pregnancy test.”  I wouldn’t say that because I am acutely aware of the pain that a miscarriage brings, especially for someone who desperately wants to be a mother, and I am aware that the only thing scarier to me than not getting pregnant is getting pregnant and then experiencing a loss of the pregnancy.  And yet, it seems to be perfectly acceptable for people to say to me “You are lucky.  At least you got to try 12 cycles of ART.”  Nevermind that they didn't work.  At least I got to try, right?  Yeah, I’m so lucky that I got to go through three years of side effects and have had more people looking at my nether regions than most strippers.  I’m so lucky that I got to go through three years of being sure that science’s involvement in my baby-making process would mean that I was going to get pregnant…only to find out that even science can’t seem to fix my broken plumbing.  I’m so damn lucky I can’t stand it.

I know I sound like a brat right now (and brat probably isn’t the word a lot of you are thinking of).  Really, I am not as ungrateful as I sound…or maybe I am.  I’m not sure, because I’m so angry.  But, on this day before St. Patrick’s Day, I have to say that I am not feeling particularly “lucky” and I would be much obliged if people would recognize that my pain isn’t lessened by having undergone 6 IUI’s and 6 IVF’s.  I still don’t have a baby in my belly or my arms, just like the women who need, but don’t have the resources, to go through ART.  I’ve suffered enough pain to deserve some validation that my situation isn’t lucky.  It sucks...because infertility sucks...no matter what the circumstances.


9 comments:

Lindsey said...

I'm sorry. I don't think you're lucky if that helps! I recently wrote a post about how I would give up all of our finacial security and ability to afford ART if I could just be fertile. I think mostly that people who haven't experienced IF really just don't know what to say. I'm sick of talking to them about it, thats why I started my blog, to save me from being told daily how lucky I am, or just to relax. Also STFUFerts.blogspot.com helps, haha. Sending shamrocks your way that this cycle you will be lucky!

My New Normal said...

Yes, lucky wouldn't be the word I would use to describe anyone who needs any kind of ART.

Having the money isn't really the issue for most of us. Although I suppose it would be worse to need ART and not be able to find a way to pay for it. But lucky,,, to not be able to just get pregnant like the rest of the world.... I don't think so.

New Year Mum said...

We certainly aren't lucky... it's amazing what people say when they think they're trying to help. I agree that ART and other options should be more widely available to everyone... it is a delight to have children - and really a 'right' not a 'privelege' especially for parents who want one so much and would care and love them so much xoxo

Christina said...

Seriously? People have told you that you are "lucky" to have to spend thousands of dollars at the chance of a baby?!? I can't even fathom my response to that! I'm still at a loss of how to respond to people after explaining my m/c. There is no "lucky", no "at least", no real upside to IF. I think the only thing(s) that I can think of as "lucky" for someone to have to experience IF is that they are so very lucky to understand how precious each and every life is, how compassionate and understand people can be, and how incredible they themselves are as people. But they are not lucky to have to go through anything IF related.

Endo_Life said...

Wow, this has rendered me speechless!!

Princess Wahna Bea Mama said...

Thanks so much ladies for the support on this one. I worried after posting that I was being too harsh. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone in finding the "lucky" comment inappropriate. Thanks for helping me feel justified in my indignation. Love you ladies.

Michelle said...

Unbelievable how insensitive people can be. Personally I would much rather have my savings on preparation for my child or on my child if we could conceive naturally. I am thankful for the fact that I have the money to help us but there is no lucky in IF. You are definitely justified in feeling this way.

amiracle4us said...

so....yea you are 'lucky' to have coverage, but really? Who would want to go through all this whether it costs $1 or $10K? NO ONE!! Nothing is lucky in regards to IF. I hate these comments; soooo sorry you had to deal with that.

Kathryn said...

Your words are not specific to infertility. They work as well for other forms of loss that must be grieved before a way forward is found.

I am an adoptive parent. Just as someone is not lucky to need to go through the whole infertility thing, also a child is not lucky who needs to be adopted... The act of adopting can certainly help the child, but the child had to have lost a family already to need to be adopted.

Thanks for sharing.

Kathy W