There’s a popular adage that goes something like this: “Be kind, because that person may be fighting his or her own battle.” These words are something to live by, and even more so, when one encounters someone who is struggling with the emotional and physical turmoil of infertility.
Belle Boggs, the author of “The Art of Waiting,” shares stories that come from the heart. With an underlying current of compassion, Boggs who suffered from her own infertility, conveys the plight of couples who have lived the life of infertility, attempted adoption both nationally and internationally, and spoke with heterosexual and same-sex couples contemplating assisted reproduction and much more.
Boggs writes in her piece, “Many infertile women say that the worst part of the experience is the jealousy they feel toward pregnant women, who seem to be everywhere when you are trying (and failing) to conceive.”
How are we as a society conveying our compassion to those who are failing to conceive month after month? According to research, despite any well-intentioned attempts, we fall short.
“Does anyone really care that someone cannot have a baby?” And does this lack of empathy become more crystallized when infertile couples and individuals are asked, “Why don’t you just adopt?”
While it’s a simple question often posed by a family member or friend, the truth of the matter is that adoption is far from easy.
“Adoption, whenever it takes place, is traumatic for someone involved: the birth mother or father, the bewildered new parents, the child. Sometimes all of them. Yet it is also a powerful, attractive narrative, especially in the face of infertility,” Boggs shares in her piece. “Look up any list of things not to say to infertile couples, and you’ll find the suggestion, ‘You should just adopt’—we’ve heard it, and read it, and probably even thought it ourselves. There are so many children in the world who need homes, the story goes, millions of them. To focus on your loss, your inability to become pregnant or have a genetically related child, is selfish.”
Since when did wanting a child of one’s own become selfish? It’s not selfish for those who can conceive, correct?
Boggs goes on to point out that adoption can prove to be as “frightening of an unknown” as assisted reproduction. There are just so many variables.
In her piece, Boggs interviews a couple by the name of Parul and Nate Goetz. After multiple failed fertility treatments and heartbreaking miscarriages, they decided to adopt.
Nate shared with Boggs that the business of adoption, “…has very little empathy, and that’s a problem. You’re talking about three different people: the birth mother, the child, the adoptive parents. It requires a great deal of empathy.”
Infertility is not a choice or a lifestyle– it’s a harsh reality that many individuals and couples face every single day. And we need to recognize this.
“The life an infertile person seeks comes to her not by accident and not by fate but by hard-fought choices,” Boggs shares.