Cancer Ever After

Musings on Infertility, Adoption, Parenthood and Cancer

My Sister’s Cousin’s Niece’s Sister-in Law . . .

on 01/06/2015

If someone says, “Just wait until you get pregnant on your own! You could have four kids!” again I’m going to scream. Word to the wise–every infertile has a few pet peeves. Here are mine:

“My doctor said I would never have kids.” Really? I’ve visited FIVE reproductive endocrinologists, TWO rheumatologists, FOUR perinatalists, and TWO ob/gyns. NONE of them said I would NEVER have kids. Best estimate is that I have less than a 2% chance of getting pregnant on my own. I’m not sterile. I’m infertile. That means there is a small chance a natural pregnancy could occur, it’s just very unlikely to occur during my fertile years. If your doctor told you that you will never have kids and you’re not sterile, you need a better doctor.

“Once you have a child of your own and/or adopt, you will get pregnant.” This is where I then hear the obligatory story of the sister’s cousin’s niece’s sister-in-law who got pregnant after a doctor told her she never would. Yet that same person usually has an aunt, a cousin or someone they know much better, and who they are closer to, who NEVER got pregnant after years of trying and without help. Or they did adopt and that miracle baby never came along.

The reality is that some causes of infertility can resolve on their own. Someone who ovulates only once or twice a year can get lucky. Someone whose thyroid is causing the infertility can experience a shift in their thyroid function and get pregnant. Yes, some people get lucky. But for every story you have of that random person who’s more than six degrees away, I’ll see that and raise you four.

I have friends with failed adoptions and no children. I have friends who have tried on their own for ten years with no miracle, or who have had five rounds of IVF without a single pregnancy. I know people who have had four, five or six miscarriages and no babies in their arms.

Unfortunately, those stories are a dime a dozen when you actually speak to infertile people. Don’t get me wrong–I would welcome that 2% chance becoming a reality down the road. But I’m a realist. That 2% chance will shortly turn into 1% at my age and then .05%. It’s just not likely.

And last, but not least: “Just relax.” Please don’t treat me like the only issue is how much I want a child. There is something wrong with my body. It’s a medical problem. I hope you don’t tell someone with cancer that your sister’s cousin’s niece’s sister-in-law cured herself of leukemia by drinking warm lemonade through a paper towel on Tuesday mornings. Sure, that will solve things!

I realize this post may sound ranty to some, but I want this to cause at least one person to pause before they say these things. Think about the person you are saying them to. I’ve found a measure of peace with my infertility. I’ve found my path. But these words shred the soul when you are still finding your way. None of us wants that.

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