May 31, 2012

Cycle 2: Day 5

In April during General Conference, President Packer said something that I took offense to at the time.  He said:

Another young couple tearfully told me they had just come from a doctor where they were told they would be unable to have children of their own. They were brokenhearted with the news. They were surprised when I told them that they were actually quite fortunate. They wondered why I would say such a thing. I told them their state was infinitely better than that of other couples who were capable of being parents but who rejected and selfishly avoided that responsibility.

I told them, “At least you want children, and that desire will weigh heavily in your favor in your earthly lives and beyond because it will provide spiritual and emotional stability. Ultimately, you will be much better off because you wanted children and could not have them, as compared to those who could but would not have children.
I'm not quite so sure why I took offense - I think it mainly was because I felt he was belittling the couple's grief and pain.  How could President Packer compare these two scenarios and focus on their eternal judgment rather than offer kind words of comfort and counsel?!

Then the other day I came across an article titled "10 things to never say to a women without children."  I often see titles like this and I always read them.  Typically they always are written from the point of view of a woman who cannot have children.  I glanced over this article and thought it sounded like any other one I'd read like it.  Then I really started reading it.  While some points were made from an infertility view, most were taken from the context that whatever woman you're talking about chose not to have children.

This is when I got upset.  

I honestly could care less if another couple decides not to have children.  That's not my choice.  But I get upset when people compare the experiences and emotions between women who cannot have children vs women who choose not to have children.  Understandably, treating an infertile woman and a woman who chooses not to have children like neither knows how to care for kids is equally offensive/rude.  But asking "when are you going to start having children" is (in my mind) much more painful for the infertile woman.  If you (general 'you') are choosing not to have children, there is obviously something more important that makes the decision easier (but not necessarily easy) to stand by.  You have a reason.  There is a logical explanation for why you do not want kids. So when I ask you "when ..." you can easily say "we aren't having kids for reason x,y,&z."  The question is possibly emotionally tough, but you have a supporting reason to stand on.  For women who cannot have children, all we can do is shrug our shoulders and either say "not for a while - we can't have kids" or lie with some made up reason/half-truth like "we're not ready" or "we're waiting till we're financially stable."  

I don't know why, but all of a sudden I was so proud of the battle I'm fighting.  I am fighting myself to have kids.  While totally draining (as any battle is), I am fighting for something good and worth while.  I no longer felt this major self pity party.  I was pumped to kick infertily's butt!  Whether through natural conception, IVF, adoption, ...  we are going to have children!

So now I can read President Packer's quote with a little more understanding - what we're going through isn't great.  But how blessed are we to have this perspective - that we do to want something that is good and precious in our lives.  

That's when I told Garrett that I'm grateful we're going through this.  If it wasn't infertility, it would be something else.  Our lives will have challenges.  But I feel so blessed to know that we're fighting to do what we know is right.  We're not giving up and being hopeless.  We are blessed to know that whatever the outcome, we can make this trial happy - by the way we talk about it, the way we react to it, the way we support each other. The things that we will have to do to fight for the chance to have children can potentially help us become really great people - selfless and supportive. I am so glad that this is my trial.  I don't know what other trials I could handle, but Heavenly Father knew that this trial would be hard, but that I would find the strength and support to get through it.  I will have hard times ahead, but in this moment I am happy.  I am grateful.  I am hopeful.  

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