Photo by Team Dalog via Flickr Creative Commons License

As some of you know, this month I decided to participate in IComLeavWe:

“Welcome back to IComLeavWe. It stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments should be honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations.”

I am all for conversation, as you know, so I signed up. Probably not the best decision in the craziness that is December, as I believe I have fallen far short of the 6 comments a day benchmark. The interwebs have been pretty quiet this week, and this challenge was made harder by the fact that many of the participants weren’t really posting much in the frenzy of the holidays. And I didn’t have much time in the frenzy of the holidays.

But there is also an other reason I found this challenging. IComLeavWe is hosted by Melissa at Stirriup Queens. Now Melissa is pretty much, so far as I can tell, the Queen within a community of those who have suffered with issues of infertility. She wrote a book called “Navigating the Land of IF”. As such, a lot of the participants in IComLeavWe are bloggers who also spend a lot of their time blogging about issues of infertility (not all, but many). IComLeavWe is open to all, but in practice, most of the participating blogs are tied into infertility experiences in some way. To be honest, despite clicking through and reading many of the blogs, and being moved by their experiences and stories… I really didn’t know what to say.

That’s right. It left me kinda speechless.

I can sympathize and empathize, but I haven’t shared that experience. I am very fortunate that I haven’t shared that experience. But it left me feeling as if I just didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. I didn’t want to seem smug, with my child conceived within a month of our wedding. I tried and tried to think of what I could say; how I could relate. And in many cases I just drew a blank.

I didn’t hold up my end of the bargain in IComLeavWe (though I tried). But I did get something out of it.

I have always talked about having a second child as an “if”. Part of that “if” has always been “if” we decided we have the energy/strength as parents for my husband and I to have a second. Parenting is hard. Also, there is a question of “if” in terms of being able, financially, to handle two children with the costs of maternity leave, child care, ect.

But always in that “if” has been the question of “if” we were fortunate enough to conceive again. I do not take that for granted.

When I went to my doctors for a routine check up, right before my husband and I were married, my doctor asked me if we were planning to try and have kids. I said yes. And she told me that we should try for 18 months and then we would start fertility treatments.

I have symptomatic, but not clinical, diagnosis of PCOS. And, prior to having Audrey, I had a 45-65 day cycle. Which put us at fairly high risk for issues with fertility. My doctor was trying to prepare me for that possibility.

But we were fortunate. I don’t take that for granted.

(As it turned out my PCOS did, at least partially, contribute to breastfeeding challenges, but still. I consider myself fortunate none-the-less.)

Reading all the stories from so many women who have experienced infertility has reminded me of that. Both about how lucky and grateful I am to have the amazing daughter we have and how, we may want an other child at some point, but that that doesn’t mean it will happen.

Life throws curve balls. There is no difference between me and many of the women out there struggling with infertility. It could happen to anyone. To some extent it is luck of the draw; a roll of the dice. Our lives all take different paths. We all get different fortunes.

You know, we know so little about women’s reproductive health. It’s maddening, really. From fertility, conception to birth and breastfeeding, it seems we are really in the dark in a lot of ways. You’d think with all the knowledge we have that we could learn more about these things. Particularly how we live our lives in today’s society/environment and what impact that could be having. Have the statistics on infertility and other reproductive issues gone up? Is it our canary in the coal mine?

I often wonder.

What do you think?


5 responses to “Fortunate

  1. Sophie December 28, 2010 at 10:20 am

    I really like your post as I have felt the same way many, many times. My best friend has been struggling with infertility for about five years now. In the same period, I got pregnant by accident, and then conceived my second child the first month we tried. I was going to write an epic comment, but instead I’ll just link to my blog:

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Justine December 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I think that reproductive issues, and women’s health in general, just aren’t things we *talk* about. It’s too scary to believe that we don’t have control. But I’m glad that you joined the conversation at ICLW, even if you felt a little bit like you were an outsider. We all have varying experiences, and I think that it’s useful for all of us to be here, together. Besides, I wouldn’t have found your blog otherwise! 🙂

  3. Megan December 28, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    It’s nice to see someone acknowledge how fortunate they are to conceive easily. As someone who tried for years and underwent numerous fertility treatments, it was always very frustrating to have people make flippant jokes about how easily they got pregnant, how they were “Fertile Myrtles,” and worst of all, telling me I would get pregnant if I would just “relax.”

    I ended up getting pregnant after we had given up on treatments, completely by surprise. And I will ALWAYS be grateful for that. We are actively trying for a second now, and I’m terrified that Charlotte was a fluke, that it won’t happen. But I could not be more thankful for the fact that I am a parent when I thought I might never be one.

    Your voice is very relevant to this conversation because you get it. You get that it’s such a gamble, that so much depends on luck and factors we don’t understand. You don’t take your daughter for granted, as so many do, and that was always a welcome voice to me when I was struggling with this.

    • Erica December 29, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Thanks for stopping by my blog…I appreciate it. And I really appreciate the post you made about IF. It is something that isn’t talked about in society, and I have found that there aren’t many people in my everyday life that have any idea about IF (thankfully), so I have felt the urge to help those people in my life to better understand my struggles the last 11+ years. It is impossible to explain to someone that hasn’t experienced IF, but to know that there are people out there like you, makes me smile a bit.

  4. Marilia January 2, 2011 at 3:38 am

    I´m lucky to have a beautiful daughter too. I never had any fertility problems, in fact, I never decided on getting pregnant… And yet, I know I´m in the lucky team of moms.

    I resonate with this article more by the end, when you say “Particularly how we live our lives in today’s society/environment and what impact that could be having.” I´m always struggling about the way we live and how to make it different, how to educate children to not live this way, how to teach them to restore nature and live sustainably. This is big.

%d bloggers like this: