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.
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!
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.