Friday, September 11, 2009

The Barrens

Initially, I think this blog was just going to be a linguistic sandpit, where I could practice stringing words and clauses together for wry or comic effect.

But that's pretty self-indulgent (well, to be honest, everything that happens here is pretty self-indulgent - isn't that part and parcel of bloggery?). I guess what I'm trying to say is that there are more important things than being cute in text.

I'm 'infertile'. To be diagnosed as such doesn't take much effort. Shag fairly regularly for about a year with your loved one, and without any form of contraception, and don't spawn. It's been .. ooh .. maybe 4 years now, and nothing at all. Not even a miscarriage, though to be honest, I'm not sure whether I'd feel better or worse if something like that happened.

I've had a vast number of doctor's appointments, as has my loved one - which shows that we are both as physically healthy and normal as you might expect. So I have no reason to be infertile, I just .. am.

I don't really know how I feel about it. Well, I tell a lie. I feel wretched. I'm consumed with misery and envy each time someone announces their joyous tidings. I haven't actually advertised the infertility, because I think it would make all my gloriously fecund friends a little less comfortable about springing yet another "Hey! We done it again!" piece of news on me. Also - in a very weird way, I admit - I see infertility as some kind of failure on my part. And I've never been very good at failing anything. I used to bring the house down with tantrums if I didn't end up with Park St in Monopoly. So it's far easier to express a disinterest in the whole affair. The parents can drop all the grandchild hints they like - I've taken to responding with feigned indifference. I'd rather that than have their pity, or their careful avoidance of 'the issue'.

I suppose in some ways, infertility is good. It has made me assess and re-assess my life values. Is having children the be-all and end-all? What makes me really happy? Would a child make my lifestyle worse? Who says I'd be a good parent anyway? At what point do I assume it's never going to happen? How would I change things if it got to that point? And of course, most importantly, what on earth would I do if I DID conceive?

There are a plethora of questions stemming from that last one. Mostly around abortion issues. Yes, I know it's a very touchy topic for some - and when I was young and foolish, I had some pretty firm assumptions, such as: any severe abnormalities = abortion. It seemed vastly unfair to bring up a child who didn't have the capacity to reach full human potential within their lifetime. Now? Well, admittedly the question is highly theoretical for me, but I'm not so sure. I'm pro-choice, that much I'm not afraid to say, but what would my choice be? If I aborted a less-than-perfect foetus, would that be spurning my only opportunity to be a parent?

I know all this seems dreadfully selfish - but why else do people have babies:
  • because they want to pass on their DNA (consciously or unconsciously);
  • because they want to nurture something;
  • because it's just what humankind - and in fact every other living organism - DOES.

As it stands, there's not much else to say. Every month, there's a little bit of hope, that maybe - just maybe - the magic has worked this time. And every month I'm disappointed. You may have experienced bad PMT first or second hand. Believe me, it counts as nothing when you add a hefty dollop of dashed hope to the mix. I'm sure there are other people out there who know exactly what I'm talking about. I've gone past the point of being super careful with lifestyle, though. I can't put everything on hold for something that may never happen.. so yeah, I'm back to drinking coffee and tea (not excessively, but a cup of each a day), I no longer chow down on folate supplements like they're M&Ms, I do largely steer clear of booze, but that's a general lifestyle preference, rather than something I'm denying myself Just In Case.

And if you're thinking I'm just writing this post because I have bad PMT, you'd be right.