Tuesday, April 26, 2011

...bust a myth...

 this year for national infertility awareness week, resolve has focused on, 'busting myths of infertility.' i've been meaning to do this for a while, but there are just so many that i wanted to expose.  my brain literally spins with all i could write about.  

however, there has been one that has plagued me for years.  so many have put this myth on my shoulders, filled my mouth with words i've never said, and assumed things about my own personal emotions and thoughts.  

'women/men with infertility hate/despise/resent/won't be friends with pregnant/fertile women/men.'

are. you. kidding. me?

what really bothers me about this specific myth, is that the person assuming this is making my infertility/sterility about them.   no.  i have had to put up with some insane abuse over the years from an array of individuals and this is what truly crawls under my skin.  it's attitudes like this that make it hard for those struggling with infertility to talk about it in the open.  this is why we are afraid to talk to friends, family, or anyone but our therapist.  those who place this myth on their infertility struggling family/friends are placing themselves in something that isn't their place.

i know this sounds completely harsh, but it's true.  

if i despised pregnant women, or rather, women who could have children, guess what?  i wouldn't have many friends.  in fact, i would have missed out on some of the best relationships in life.  

yes, truth is it's hard to hear when it's easy for couples to get pregnant.  when they can somehow, 'plan', and i use that word loosely, their families.  i know people who have had four children in the time it took me to adopt the boog.  

no, it doesn't hurt because infertile individuals hate or despise anyone, it hurts because we yearn for something we can't have.  something that is innate, divine.  when you are in the 10% of those who can't have children, everything hurts.  even though i have the boog, when i walk through target and see 13 pregnant women, my heart hurts.  

now, don't get me wrong here, because i would not trade my trials or experiences in any way because then i would not have boog.  the winds of trials pushed me towards something i wasn't expecting.  a perfect, beautiful little guy that i get to call my own.  however, the harsh reality doesn't change.  i'm sterile.  

when i say it's hard to walk through target, or sit in my doctor's office, or even be around family, it's because my heart hates that i'm unable.  don't think i sit there and think about anyone but me and my husband when it comes to my infertility.  that somehow those who throw this myth on me are involved with my own personal struggle and life with infertility. they are not.  

so before you ever think that, think again.  you have nothing to do with someone elses private struggle.  just because you are pregnant doesn't mean you are a target.  it's awful to place blame on those with infertility issues when you probably don't have any idea of how they are truly feeling.

so please, do not make someone's infertility about you, because it's not.

we don't hate you, we aren't angry at you, we are just hurting.  it's not about any pregnant woman.

at least that's how i feel about it.

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Jewls said...

Great post Kenna! I feel the same way. I can be happy for other people and still be sad for me...

Dana said...

So true.

Layla said...

Ugh, so true. AND another one - not all infertile women are upset about it. To me, it's the least of my problems. I just want to live a life without pain. That doesn't minimize the importance of it to other women with the same issue! It's different for every woman going through this. I may or may not be able to have kids, the jury is still out. I may or may not always be in pain, as well. And that's what I worry about more. I just hate the instant sympathy I get from people as it relates to infertility.

Alecia said...

this is great. but i will admit that i was scared (well not scared, but didn't want you to know) that i was pregnant. i didn't want it to hurt you even more. because for me (i'm more selfish and immature) if someone else i know is going through what i'm going through, it helps me feel better, like i'm not so alone. when people get things that i can't have, i get bitter and mean and don't wanna hear about it. i'm glad you're bigger than that. but we all don't know that. i'm glad you wrote this so we can know how you feel about this. i'm also glad that there is an "infertility week" . yes, there are MANY things we all need to learn about the subject , and one is how to deal with handling situations such as this one.

AubreyMo said...

Perfect post.

"and please, don't assume anything about what that individual thinks or feels. you have no idea." When in doubt, ask (if you know each other well enough). Or even better, just simply be there for them. Assuming things could just make you miss out on a very great friendship and wind up hurting feelings.

Whitney said...

Standing Ovation! I completely agree. I feel like I have had friends distance themselves from me for this very reason. Then I am mourning the loss not only of having babies, but losing friends as well!

Ashley said...

Wonderfully put. It frustrates me when people around me having babies tread carefully or on eggshells. Pregnancy is a fact of their life the way sterility is a fact for me. I would rather have them share their joy with me than feel sorry for me. I have a couple friends who are wonderful that way. Thank you for posting this.

Alli said...

Here, here! Good job.

(I made the last comment under Ryan's name).

Christina Munyan said...

I'm glad that you wrote this post too. I have to admit that I also didn't want to tell you when I was pregnant because of some of your facebook posts and blog posts. Several times you have mentioned that you didn't want to be around pregnant women and it hurt your feelings to hear about their struggles of pregnancy when you would kill for that opportunity. I guess that in any situation, there are always at least two ways of looking at things.

Cali said...

I got the same impression as Christina because of those things. I guess I was looking at it the wrong way, thank you for clarifying.

Kristin said...

amen, Kenna. I love it when you WRITE. You are so good at putting into words what I cannot. Thanks for this. Hope it's ok if I share it.

Anonymous said...

I hate writing this anonymously.
I swear it is not because I am chicken but because I am fighting a battle to become civil, then friends, then hopefully be able to act like the family we are with a reader of yours and I know my comment will only thwart my efforts (wait, did that make any sense at all???)...

I don't disagree with anything you've said here but you do have to acknowledge there are those struggling with infertility who do think they hate women who are fertile. Most of the women in my family have struggled with infertility/sterility (pcos is a beast) and so I have personally witnessed them telling other women who are using their infertility to milk attention and make everything about them ( birthdays, weddings, pregnancies, family dinners...) to shut the hell up. since it comes from women who went thru ivf and 5-10 years of infertility, 3+ still births and countless miscarriages, or being rendered sterile following back to back ectopics or hysterectomies for one reason or another, I guess it's more acceptable than when I complain about it since they've been there done that .

Some people use it as a control tactic. They do. To the point where others put off starting their family til "so and so" finally gets pregnant.

So, this myth exists in part because of both sides of the playing field.

Ashley said...

This had really made me think. I wanted to be sensitive to my infertile friends (I have multiple) but it seemed that some them really pulled back from me after I announced my pregnancy and then even more after Carson was born, and our relationship hasn't been the same since. I wasn't intentionally pushing them away, but I wonder if I was subconsciously distancing myself or if they were distancing themselves too. (I wouldn't blame them if they were, I really can't even begin to imagine the heartache they've felt.) I'm glad that you wrote this, because, like I said, it's made me think. And Carson and I would still love to come and meet Boog.

Ashley said...


What I've found happens is that people step back because they don't want to make your pregnancy about their infertility. I'm infertile and when I announced my pregnancy, several friends told me, "I love you, I'm so happy for you but I'm sad so I may not be around as much."

Having been there, I totally understood. It's not that they wished it away from me, but they were worried their sadness would deter from my happiness. It's on both sides because you don't want to make them feel like you're rubbing your good fortune in or complain and hurt their feelings and they don't want their hurt to come across as anger toward you.

Honestly, sometimes it's just that hard to look at. Not that you'd ever want to take it from someone else, but it makes you wonder what you're going to have to do to make it your turn.

If it will ever BE your turn.

It just hurts. And honestly is a no-win situation.

Mostly communication is key.

Please excuse my incoherency.

Ashley Rose said...

I have never thought that and would never have the audacity to make someone else's personal struggles about myself. I have to admit, though, I find myself being very cautious about how and when and where I talk about family planning. I guess that's good and bad. I have a few friends and family members who struggle with infertility and I see the heartache in their eyes when people talk about NOT wanting to have kids or announcing a pregnancy. I don't want to be a reminder to my cousin or my good friend that they are not able to do what many others can. I would LOVE to see a post sometime about how to respectfully address that kind of tender situation.

Kandice said...

thank you kenna. great post.
my brother in law's girlfriend just posted on fb tonight that she is pregnant again when their baby is just 5 months old. my heart hurts, my arms are aching and tears are streaming. it may not be a good decision on their part and that's up to them but i don't hate them, i'm just hurting.
thank you again.

kenna said...


i completely agree. i admit i was in a bit of a rage when i wrote this, so i wasn't seeing the other side so well.

i have seen people with infertility do this. in fact, i have seen individuals, 'cry wolf' with infertility JUST for attention.

just how i said putting this myth on someone makes their infertility about them, it goes the other way around.

infertility is personal and private, as is being fertile, and starting a family when you want. sure, i'm jealous that people can do that, but i won't insert myself into that personal and private parts of their lives.

thank you for the comment.

Lechelle said...

Through the adoption of my son and dealing with my own fertility issues I made some of my best friends in the adoptive parent world. Then a few months ago when I found out I was pregnant and the chances of carrying the baby to term were horribly bleak, it was my infertile best friends who were my biggest support. As I dealt with my own pain and fears with the pregnancy, I appreciated them even more for all the love they showed me despite whatever painful reminders my pregnancy gave them. Even now, with things looking miraculously hopeful, they still are there for me in a way no fertile friend ever attempted.

Courtney Bardsley said...


I love your blog and your writings. Thank you for talking about this issue. I too am infertile and majority of the time I am thrilled when my friends get pregnant. The hardest is if they complain to me that they are pregnant or complain about "what it is doing to their body". Seriously?! It has only happened once or twice and not by my closest of friends but at that point I just want to smack them and say what a beautiful miracle that is happening to them. Gratefully, I have had amazing girlfriends who have approached this issue with me tenderly and sweetly and make sure that I am apart of their pregnancy as much as I would like to be and call me Aunt Courtney to their kids. They are amazing! We enjoy seeing and being a part of the beautiful children our friends have and the amazing pregnancy they get to experience because they are our friends/family and we love them. Just be sensitive when you talk badly about being pregnant or the experience of being pregnant, because we would kill for the opportunity to have that closeness to our babies.

Kenna, I'm glad you're doing well health wise and you have a cute little boy! He kind of looks like you!! Its amazing the blessings Heavenly Father will give us after all the hard trials! Keep staying so positive!


Anonymous said...

Normally, I would write this with my name attached, but since it is about my in-laws, I can't really do that and not cause a possible rift between us. My husband and I had 3 children before my in-laws were able to have their twins through in vitro. After we had our first child, they refused to speak to us. Would not come over to my parents-in law for a long time if we were there. When they did finally start coming, they sat in silent indignation. It wasn't until after they had their twins, that they started talking to us again. I am not saying this myth applies to everyone, but it does exist as a fact for a few people.

kenna said...

anon, i agree.

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