Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Judgment Day

I've been thinking a lot lately about how how judge the people around us.  Several things have been contributing to that.  Katie at From IF to When had a great post a couple of weeks ago about judgment, bouncing off of another post by Mel from Stirrup Queens.  Like I said yesterday, the Creme de la Creme list is out, and seeing my Infertility Manifesto on there reminds me of the judgments that led me to write that post.  And I had an experience recently that made me feel very judged and reminded me of the unfairly high standards that infertiles are expected to meet, as compared to people who become pregnant easily.

I highly resent being judged, particularly by a different standard than that used for other people.  Yes, I realize that by having this blog, I open myself up to be judged by more people than I otherwise would.  However, aside from a couple of specific circumstances, I haven't encountered judgmental statements from people about what I post.  People may be thinking them, but I haven't had to deal with it because they have rarely been shared with me.  Besides, I believe in the importance of shedding light on the experience of infertility even more than I hate being judged, so this is worth the price of being judged to me.

Now, I know I can be judgmental, too.  The biggest reason that I had been thinking about Katie's post is that I have been reading Inconceivable, by Julia Indichova.  I'll get more into this when I finish and review the book in another post, but the book definitely sparked judgmental feelings in me that I had to grapple with.  The author conceived on her first try at about 40 and then dealt with secondary infertility related to age and extremely high FSH.  It helped me to deal with my feelings about this that she recognized she was "going back for seconds" before so many infertiles had been served once, but I did still struggle with anger at what felt to me like naivete and selfishness/greediness on her part.  It's never likely to affect Julia, because she's never heard of me and will probably see this blog, but it still struck me that I was being judgmental of her and that it wasn't fair of me.

Back to a couple of days ago, DH and I were essentially told that we really shouldn't be parents because at this point, while we don't have kids, we engage in activities that involve travel and being away on weekends, and we haven't committed to giving every bit of that up before even conceiving.  Who said this is immaterial here, it's the point itself that really had my blood boiling.  It is nobody's right except mine and my husband's to determine how is right for us to live our lives.  Unless there is a reason to suspect abuse or neglect, it is nobody's right except mine and my husband's to determine how to raise our future children. Unless there is a reason to suspect abuse or neglect, it is nobody's right except mine and my husband's to determine whether we "should" be parents to a hypothetical child that may never even exist.

DH and I both know that if we are able to have children one way or another, our lives will change drastically.  We know that what we are able to do, the amount of traveling we will be able to do, and the breadth and depth of our activities will change drastically.  Doing all of the things that we do to the extent that we do them will be impossible for a time.  Whether that time is two years or twenty, we have no idea and will not be able to know until we get there.  Doing absolutely nothing except work and parenting would be impossible for us as well, though.  I have seen that kind of parenting in action, and it's not what I want for my child, let alone for myself. 

All that said, though, I don't owe you or anyone else that explanation, and neither does DH.  It's none of your business what discussions we have had between us about how to schedule things and how much we will continue to do unless we choose to share information with you about it.  It's not even any of your business whether we're even had those discussions unless we choose to share that information. 

You wouldn't tell a woman who is already pregnant that maybe she shouldn't be a parent.  Don't say it to me.


  1. Amen, sister. People LOVE to tell Jason and I that once the babies are here, we can kiss traveling goodbye. First of all, MYOB and eff off. Second, I realize we won't be taking 8 week old twins to Europe. Just because that's what Jason and I dO doesn't mean that's what we'll be doing right off the bat WITH BABIES. Ask ANY patent how their life changed when they had kids and they'll give you a laundry list. Wtf, people.

  2. The comments don't stop when you're pregnant though, they only change & increase. And once you have the baby you're truly in for it, especially during the first year. Everyone knows better than you do, so they think. I may be one of the ones you're talking about when you say you've seen the adverse effects of only working & parenting. I was raised in bowling alleys & bars so I gave you & your brother a completely different life, & I went too far the other way it seems. My answer to critics was always - walk a mile in my shoes as me & I know you couldn't do better than I am because I'm doing my best with what I've been given. That means you have to have all my childhood experiences & life experiences up to that point, plus live with all the current challenges. We all make mistakes as parents & as non-parents & unless one is abusing a child or anyone else, no one has a right to judge!

  3. I've talked enough to Kristin back when we thought this would be easy to know at least some of the major areas of judgment once I do have a baby, but I hadn't been prepared for it with the IF originally.

    And no, Mom, I didn't mean you. You had Tupperware at times, which was as much development of you as income, you had church stuff, and you had Aunt Joy and Jenny and Uncle Bill, and after Dad you dated. I ended up clarifying this more on the Facebook page for the blog because of what someone said, but I was referring more to the extreme of the mom I knew who changed her son's sheets his whole time at Hopkins.