Monday, July 26, 2010

Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged

It all started innocently enough. A friend posted this to her Facebook:

Ferry Building Farmers Market: one mom, infant triplets, a bus of a stroller. Brave, insane, inconsiderate? Discuss....

And fairly begged me to comment via text. For those of you who don't know, the Ferry Building is a crowded old building crammed with people during the farmer's market. Any size stroller is a pain in the butt there to move around, much less a triple wide. I own a triple wide and I only think it's fit for wide open spaces like the zoo. But I have the luxury of owning more than one stroller. So I said:

Desperate? The poor woman probably can't get out wo them but she could use a double and a baby backpack if you'd prefer! Would be a little more considerate

And thought that was the end of it. But then this appeared:

wait...are we supposed to discuss the stroller or fertility treatment...which can also fall under the categories of brave, insane, inconsiderate. just saying...

Oh ho! Picking a fight with an infertile woman are you? Well then. Here we go again. It definitely inflames the hell out of me that people see a woman with a multiple pregnancy or offspring and instantly 1. know they did fertility treatments (even though triplets do come spontaneously people, even quints do) and 2. get to judge the use of such treatments just because more than one baby came of it. 

WTH? So, if I had done fertility treatment and only had one baby I'm above judgement? If I had just accepted my infertile status I'd be above judgement or perhaps even saintly? I'm sorry, did you accept the mole growing on your face or did you get it removed? Did you accept your cancer diagnosis or did you get treated for it? Did you accept that you couldn't walk due to a birth defect or did you get physical therapy and canes to walk with? 

What's the difference?

So I lay in bed fuming this morning thinking about it. These young women who have not experienced infertility passing judgement on those who have is inexcusable. First, as women, we should stick together. We don't need beat downs from each other. Second, as a woman, you should understand something about what being infertile might do to your psyche that a man might not. Third, if it doesn't affect you, bug off. 

Asking a woman to just get over being infertile is like asking a life long runner to get over not being able to run ever again. It's like asking a life long lover of books to just get over being blind. It's like asking a teacher to get over never being able to speak again. It is a part of (most) women's being that they are procreative. It is part of who we assume we are at birth, we can be mothers whenever we want to be. In theory. When you are hit in the face with the reality that you can't? It's trauma. What you do with that trauma is your business.

And if the doctor tells you that you have less than a 20% chance of having any babies at all with your eggs and so he throws the book at you with every hormone in the book and 6 shots a day and you still only produce 3 viable embryos? You put them in your uterus. And if, by some miracle, against stunning odds, all three of them implant and grow? You are just lucky as hell. Not someone to be judged.

Just lucky as hell. 


  1. Well said, and completely accurate.

    Better living through biochemistry--for EVERYONE.

  2. Tell, tell, tell...the rest of the discussion. Please at least tell me you gave an abbreviated verbal beat down similar to this post?

  3. So, did you comment? People need to hear when they have crossed the line. Well said, Mira!

  4. Oh I said that she couldn't assume that triplets were the result of fertility treatments and she said that was a 1 in 8100 chance and I said that with 7.9 births per minute that's one set of triplets every 1000 minutes, so that's not uncommon then is it? And I said that unless she suffered infertility she should not be so judgmental. So then she said she was the daughter of infertility. I assume she meant an infertile woman. So then I just shut up because then she makes no sense at all and is just an idiot. I coulda picked a longer fight but I didn't think it was worth it.

  5. Currently seven months pregnant with triplets myself, I'm always interested in how you respond to these sorts of "attacks". As I started telling folks about our big news at work a few months back, I was stunned to realize how easily, "So, do twins run in your family?" was constructed as code for, "So, did you do IVF?" And even more so how many people actually asked flat out about our fertility treatments.

    I didn't honestly mind the questions because I'd decided early on to just NOT be embarrassed by the need for medical intervention, and it turns out I've had a few friends in similar situations turn to me for, well if not advice, at least background on the process. So far we've been lucky not to have anyone judge us too harshly or imply too obviously they thought we were being selfish, though my husband is SURE that's what they're saying behind our backs!