Sunday, August 3, 2008

invisible parents

How do people who have children feel about people who are trying to conceive without success? So many people are in that position that there's a board for it on - trying to conceive is a valid part of the parenting experience, whether it's successful or not. There are secret parents, parents in plan, in dream, in yearning, just not yet in actuality.

I just found Xbox's site, and reading backwards through the struggles they've had was even worse because you see the hope but you know it was not to be realised.

I feel... so sad. Guilty, that things were easier for me - and guilty that I'm not doing a better parenting job having got what I wanted. And I desperately want to wave a wand and share my fertility round, make wishes come true. It is such a cruel irony, that pregnancy happens so inopportunely for some while it is so desperately yearned for by others.

One thing I maintained, from my broody teenage years up, was that if I was unable to have children I wouldn't go the IVF route. But that was before I tried to have children and perhaps it carried no weight then. And now I have children, so it still carries no weight... perhaps if I was not such a user of alternative therapies I wouldn't be so ready to reject the hormones and probings and the way the language and personalities of the fertility clinics reduce people to no more than failed body parts.

Eavan Boland described that well:
The Famine Road
“Idle as trout in light Colonel Jones
these Irish, give them no coins at all; their bones
need toil, their characters no less.” Trevelyan’s
seal blooded the deal table. The Relief
Committee deliberated: “Might it be safe,
Colonel, to give them roads, roads to force
From nowhere, going nowhere of course?”

one out of every ten and then
another third of those again
women – in a case like yours.

Sick, directionless they worked. Fork, stick
were iron years away; after all could
they not blood their knuckles on rock, suck
April hailstones for water and for food?
Why for that, cunning as housewives, each eyed
–as if at a corner butcher – the other’s buttock.

anything may have caused it, spores
a childhood accident; one sees
day after day these mysteries.

Dusk: they will work tomorrow without him.
They know it and walk clear.
He has become
a typhoid pariah, his blood tainted, although
he shares it with some there. No more than snow
attends its own flakes where they settle
and melt, will they pray by his death rattle.

You never will, never you know
but take it well woman, grow
your garden, keep house, good-bye.

“It has gone better than we expected, Lord
Trevelyan, sedition, idleness, cured
in one. From parish to parish, field to field;
the wretches work till they are quite worn,
then fester by their work. We march the corn
to the ships in peace. This Tuesday I saw bones
out of my carriage window. Your servant Jones.”

Barren, never to know the load
of his child in you, what is your body
now if not a famine road?
--Eavan Boland

So things have changed a bit since that was all the comfort women were offered - God knows fertility is now a multi billion dollar business, ruining lives and bankrupting people, as well as bringing miracles and joy... a hard choice to make. A soul destroying route to go down too. I would not have dealt well with long term ttc, I know.


Nick McGivney said...

Hoo boy. You hit a period in your life when it seems that all around you are trying, trying, trying. For a short while you can laugh and joke about 'all those condoms we wasted' but it wears thin real quick. If only I'd a quid for every time somebody said 'and all the babbies hanging off off of them druggies' legs, wudden it make ya wunder'.
As Bill Bryson says in his remarkable Short History of Nearly Everything, life just wants to be. And we're stuck in that wedding conga too, God bless it. We want to make life happen, in the main. No fun when nookie becomes a chore though. You should stick this post on Rollercoaster just for the hell of it. Might be cathartic for some.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Nice post, I think!

We all need to see the other side a bit in order to appreciate it.

It's a fine line, not ill wishing on someone and wanting them to understand your situation, especially when that situation is so hard at times.

As for the fertility 'industry', it's all part of the drugs industry, costly and driven. Unfortunately, that industry has to be a means to an end for so many now.

Fertility, 'issues' on the other hand are faced by those who just want something very basic, very primal. To procreate, to have a family around them, to love and be loved, to be a mum, or a dad.

jothemama said...

I don't think there's much people with children can say to provide catharsis, Nick.

X, This post isn't a criticism of anyone! Except for what the poem illustrates, a callous response towards women who couldn't conceive, and the cruelty of the terminology employed by the medical profession - the word 'barren' is particularly upsetting. I know it's not a nice poem. I hope the medical response is more sensitive now than it was.

I only say fertility issues because there's such a broad spectrum of problems and treatments and stages - no way I know how to encompass them all in one phrase!

I know just what you mean about that urge - I had it from an unfeasibly early age. And I followed babies yearningly with my eyes for over a decade before I had one.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

I didn't mean to sound like it was a criticism, not at all.

Anytime that someone not caught up in infertility gives it some thought is very refreshing, and helpful.

1 in 6 couples, there's a thought.

Anonymous said...

I've been reading his site for a while now, Jo. I don't know if you went back far enough to read a post called "Better than Christmas" but it would break your heart.

Xbox4NappyRash said...

Tinman18 - I saw this comment update in my mail, and for the first time since then I went back and read that post.

Gave me a lump in my own throat, like it was someone else, really weird.

Anonymous said...

When I first read that post, Xbox, I was going to leave a comment on your site, but I couldn't find the words and besides, you had lots of other commenters for better at saying what they were thinking than I was. I did nominate the post on Mulley's site for the Irish Blog of the month award, though I later noticed that you're actually in Holland.

Hope it all goes well for you.

(You can have your site back now, Jo):)

Xbox4NappyRash said...

not just yet Jo, sorry!

tinman18, I'm very very flattered.

(I'm Irish though, through and through, right down to the breakfast roll!)

Thanks a million, savage ego boost.

jothemama said...

Work away, gents. I'm all for a bit of chat.

jothemama said...

Actually, I think Xbox and his peers are at the forefront of the new blogging movement - the mammy blog has had its day in the sun, and everyone wants to see the men getting personal.

Sniffle&Cry said...

Ta Jo,

Bit syurpy, but

jothemama said...

There's a time and a place for syrupy, S&C - though it wasn't, really :)

I am amazed by the corage of people who keep trying after repeated miscarriages - because I got pregnant so soon after my mother died, I thought a lot about losing the baby too, and felt that there was no way I could risk it again if I did (you know the way you think about these things). Yet so many brave people prove that that's not the approach to take.