Mumsplaining: Why you’re not always an expert.

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I have a number of friends who are currently pregnant, and it’s really reminded me how infertiles and pregnant women/mothers are looking at things from completely opposite viewpoints. Infertility is so isolating, I don’t feel like I can join in the conversations of my mother friends for fear of getting the old “just you wait….!”, or the few people I have told don’t seem to know how to deal with such an emotive topic and completely ignore what I’m going through.

But while I choose not to participate in parental converstations, I’m a good listener, and I’ve been trying quite hard to keep my eyes from rolling around in my head.

I know mansplaining is a thing, but I think we need to add mumsplaining (or momsplaining) to our dictionaries.  The amount of times mums and mums-to-be think they’re experts and need to explain child bearing to silly little me astounds me.  And I’m talking about women who haven’t even birthed the baby and had to change a nappy yet!

So, my mumsplaining friends, here are some things you aren’t an expert on:

How to get pregnant

Statistics don’t lie, most people will get pregnant in a reasonable time frame providing you’re doing it right.  If you’re one of those people, your advice can get in the sea.

No amount of,

“we did it every second day for a month” or
“I put a pillow under my bum” or
“It took us four months and it was SO HARD, but then I started taking unicorns piss capsules, I totally recommend them!”

is going to make a difference to me.

So you had sex at the right time, hooray for you!  What do you know about the lifecycles of sperm and eggs, or the position of your cervix, or the texture, acidity and use of your cervical mucous?  What do you know about hormones and chemicals and how your brain is connected to egg development? What do you know about having sex at the right time for literally years and what it does to a relationship?

Do you have some advice?  Is it based in science and something my Doctor is unlikely to have told me?  If not, keep it to yourself.

Experience with Medical Professionals

I had a friend try to ‘mumsplain’ a stretch and sweep to me, with added extra emphasis on how AWKWARD it was.   Trust me, I know how it feels to have medical professionals poke around in my business.  Was ‘poke’ an inappropriate word to use?  Good, because that’s how it feels.  It feels like a violation.

Maybe you remember the first time you saw your babies heartbeat?  Maybe you felt excited and nervous when the dildo wand came out and got lubed up.  Last time I had one of those up me it was to confirm a miscarriage, complete with blood.  SUPER AWKWARD HUH? LOL.

Your awkward situations with medical professionals get you one step close to meeting your child, mine get me a big fat bill, some hollow encouraging words and an extra tear in my already broken heart.  It’s not really much of a reward if I’m honest.

Hormones

Anyone remember the lady that used clomid as a defence in court?  I know pregnant women often use the hormones excuse, but maybe don’t use that on somone who has been on fertility drugs.
Every woman I’ve known who has given birth and taken clomid at some point has said pregnancy hormones were a dream in comparison.  And when I refer to clomid as “grumpy pills” to my husband, he smirks a little and keeps his mouth shut.  Men around the world are terrified of women on this drug, it’s not just crying in the supermarket feeling overwhelmed about deciding between carrots and pumpkin.

Clomid is of the devil, and I’m pretty sure your baby isn’t.

And don’t even get me started on the bonus hot flashes!

Pre-baby Lives

I know you’ve done it, admit it, if you’re a parent you’ve scoffed.  Someone has said something about childrearing while not a parent, and you’re ready to tell them why they’re wrong.

I know non-parents have plans and thoughts which may change with experience.  Maybe we don’t get just how hard it is to go to the shops now, what with all the baby paraphernalia and the actual baby.  And maybe we’re so lucky to have all the time and the money and the freedom.

A friend who is about to become a dad tried to dadsplain money and babies to me.  I wonder how much they spent, with their baby furniture and pram bought by family and hand me down clothes and free maternity appointments?  And yet I know a couple who recently spent $15,000 in one month to lose that wee embryo and come away with nothing.  I know what I’d rather spend my (lesser amount of) money on!

Maybe non-parents dreaming about becoming parents are living in la-la land.  Maybe we have it all wrong and we’ll roll our eyes at ourselves one day.

But just give us this.

Infertile or not, give us all the benefit of the doubt.  Infertility changes you, much like someone who has a near death experience might say “I’ll never take another day for granted”.  You don’t tell them that you’ll throw their words back in their face when their car breaks down.  We’re not saying we know the challenges, what we’re saying is, “this has had a profound effect on me, and I’ll never be the same again”.

But, even if you were an infertile (and I may get flamed for this one!), you no longer “get it”.

I know ex infertiles think they get it, but hear me out.

You are Captain Hindsight.  You are looking at infertility as a woman with a happy ending.  You know where your road ends up, you are a mother.  The number of children is irrelevent, and I’m sure it’s pretty awful to not have the family size you imagine if you’re dealing with Secondary Infertility.  But you know you are a mum, you know what it’s like to have a child, you imagine your future and theirs, ending your story being old and grey, your grandchildren or great grandchildren sitting at your feet.

You can’t help it, the journey was worth it for you and you should be happy.  When you got pregnant you moved to the outskirts of the group, and the moment you had your baby your membership was revoked and you joined The Mothers.  Don’t be upset, none of us want to be in this group anyway!

The moment you say “I’m so tired, I wish she would sleep”, you lose me. When you wish for some time to yourself you may as well be from another planet.

And while I said above that you’ll never be the same again, having your baby is also profound.  You might feel different from the other mothers, you might feel more grateful or be more worried; but when your child came into your life, your world shifted again in another permanent way.  In a good way this time.   I’m not saying you can’t offer support, just don’t use your happy ending as hope for anyone but you.

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Mumsplaining: Why you’re not always an expert.

  1. Jeepers my typing is awful – sorry lol! You may have just helped me get through the next two weeks of waiting though! This ride is shit. Im sick to death of people saying “your time will come” or “enjoy the fact you have all that time to yourself”. What i actually want is someone to cuddle me and either admit they also struggled or just cuddle me for no reason other than to let me know they care. x

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  2. This was one of the best posts I’ve EVER read on infertility and the shit we deal with, from parents of all types. Mumsplaining and Dadsplaining are the perfect terms for the holier-than-thou attitude that comes out of way, WAY too many’s mouths.

    WTF is it with those who have a baby and then suddenly assume to know everything there is to know about both the biology and psychology of baby making – and parenting. And the icing on the cake is those who say that you “don’t know what love is until you have a kid” as if a) somehow that you’re lesser than them in the matters of the heart, and b) that somehow all parents love their children more than anything else in the world. It’s messed up, stuck up, and ignorant.

    Also appreciated your talking about those who have gone through IVF successfully – they are no longer part of the club, you’ve got that right, and while I can respect “secondary infertility”, it’s not in the same category as those who’ve NEVER had a child. I had to sit in a RESOLVE support group and the most dramatic outburst of tears came from a woman with a 7 year old daughter, and made all of us childless folks around the table so effing uncomfortable. I want desperately to be in the new club of those who’ve been able to get pregnant, and know that if it does finally happen for us, that I will close that door with gratitude and never, EVER complain about it again.

    PS – Femara is also a demon drug. I am in awe of the women who have to be on it for months and months (as it’s used for breast cancer treatment during chemo as well). And my anger about Bravelle’s recall after an unsuccessful IUI using it last year? Hell hath no fury…

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      1. HAHA! Ok – thanks 🙂 I’m on day 2 – so far it’s treated me quite well… minus some anger last night ahhhhh! I’m pretty calm actually. And consistently sleepy.

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  3. I loved this article thank you…..
    I have been having ‘Issues’ with my cycle for 8 years. I had been to several doctors several times to get it sorted, them telling me ‘maybe its how your body is now’ or ‘maybe its just mind over matter’
    Needless to say I changed doctor surgeries twice and now have a fantastic doctor (who is now on maternity leave). Almost 3 years ago after taking myself off contraception completly, and being told that this is how my body is, most but not all of my problems stoped. So for the first 5 years please bear in mind I wasnt actually trying for a baby as my ex was a knob and i met someone new who had 2 pre teens and wasnt wanting anymore.
    As i said 3 years ago i stopped contraception, and didnt fall pregnant, changed to new fantastic doctor beginning of last year. i was poked, prodded and vamped again all tests were clear, fine, ok. Endometriosis may have been an option but as I didnt have symptoms that wasnt an issue (they didn’t do the op to check though). So unless I was trying for a baby nothing more could be done. So now comes the awkward conversation with my partner who said ‘I wouldn’t be f*^king (yes he used that word) you if I wasn’t ok with having a baby with you(OMG the tears that came after hesaid that lol). So with that now being in the works, I got referred to a gynaecologist, more poking, prodding and one unglorious invasive lady tunnel xray later,my results were all clear. Then came the numerous and neverending blood tests for ovulation (progesterone) checks. Here is my problem….. I don’t ovulate…..
    So Sept 16’ I start on letrozole 1 tab. Blood test day 21, still didnt ovulate. Oct 16 take 2 tabs. Blood test day 21, I only just ovulated.
    Found out on 8 november I was pregnant, 10 days later, my partner’s birthday, I started loosing it. By the monday i had “lost it” but ended up in hospital where I lost my tube aswell, as our bub was quite happy in it 😦 (Ectopic Preg)
    So now not only don’t I ovulate, I do have Endometriosis which gynae found while in there, and LOTS of it…. I only have 1 sucker to help me get pregnant…..

    All the while im getting “your time will come” “youll be a fantastic mum” “oh you just wait till you have one of your own” “enjoy your sleep while you can”
    while inside im screaming….please just shut up!!!!! and thinking what sleep (mind is running a million miles/hr wondering ‘If’ ‘When’ ‘Why not’ ‘will I ever’)

    I know my journey may not have been as long or as hard as some of yours, but the varying degrees of infertility are real, and the struggle is hard. Both physically and emotionally.
    I have accepted what has happened and have started on letrozole again. First dose was unsuccessful, with my progesterone blood test results from day 21 being 4, <15 being normal. I'm due for my mate over the next couple of days, and waiting for my blood results to come back.

    All I can say is I wish you all the very best and don't give up hope. What will be will be.
    I dont have the $$$ and if it comes down to IVF, I may have to never be a mum, and that is my cold hard reality.

    Ladies may 2017 be OUR YEAR!!!

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