The airing of grievances

Disclaimer: The Airing of Grievances, like traditional venting, doesn't have to be a well-constructed diatribe; any diatribe will do.  Even this one.

For Christmas, my MIL got each of her kids a copy of Jon Stewart's Earth (The Book): A Visitor's Guide to the Human Race, and I've been reading it just about every day.  Jon Stewart is a pretty funny guy and the book is very entertaining, as well as mildly informative.  As I read it I'm reminded of things I learned in middle and high school school science classes, and then I giggle at his sarcastic comments and think, "If an alien did happen get their hands on this book after the human race was wiped out, it would never understand these jokes and would probably think we were really freaking stupid."  But I digress.  ...Already.


The other night I got to the section on "life," and there's a list of the scientific criteria required for an object to be considered alive.  I know you still have them memorized from 7th grade, but just in case you missed class that day, they are: Organization, Homeostasis, Metabolism, Growth, Response to stimuli, and Reproduction.  And now you can guess where I'm going with this.

Lately I've been stewing thoughtfully pondering the common perceptions many people have about infertility and ART.  So, in the grand tradition of Festivus (which I realize I'm a week late for), I give you my Airing of Grievances. 

Thankfully I don't see very much of this in real life, but I can't even describe how sick it makes me when I see ignorant comments on online infertility articles saying stuff like,
  •  "Infertility is God's/nature's way of controlling the population,"
  • "Obviously there's a reason you're infertile, quit being selfish - stop trying to conceive your child and (just) adopt," and,
  • "You're being pretty dramatic, so what if you can't have kids?  It's not like you need to!  I don't have kids and I'm perfectly happy about it!" 
You all know what I'm talking about, you've seen the comments and know I'm just scratching the surface of the idiocy that's out there.  And if you don't, please see Exhibit A.

So when I'm reminded that one of the basic criteria required just to be considered ALIVE is the ability to reproduce, my jaw drops that so many people think infertility is no big deal.  Or that it's some kind of punishment.  Or that there's some deeper reason for it that somehow benefits the rest of the world (i.e. population control).  Or particularly that any reaction to discovering you're infertile besides simply and quietly accepting it, stop trying to conceive, and adopting a child instead, is selfish and egotistical.

Well guess what?  It's not selfish or egotistical to have the desire to reproduce.  It's LIFE.  Life wants to continue and it tends to do whatever it can to survive.  Remember that line from Jurassic Park, "Life finds a way?"  It's true.  Seriously, just think about your garden - you work hard to keep it pretty, tearing out weeds like crazy, but no matter how weed-free you manage to get it those damn weeds are always going to find their way back in there.  It's what they do, and that's just plants!  Animals, and certainly humans are also wired to perpetuate their species and keep living.  I believe that a desire to create genetic offspring is evidence of that.  And I believe that desire, for many if not most of us, goes right to the core of our humanity.  Which is why those of us unable to act on it feel like the very foundation of our lives is shaken, damaged, or sometimes irreparably broken.

So to anyone who still believes that infertility is anything other than a disease or malfunction of the human body that Infertiles have every right to treat however they damn well please, to quote Frank Costanza, "I got a lot of problems with you people!"  And I respectfully request that you immediately cease and desist with your self-righteous, know-it-all, judgmental, and often downright mean (and even more often downright stupid) assertions.  We don't need any more proof than we already have that the wrong people were "chosen" to be infertile.



Alex said...

Amen, sister!!!

elephantscanremember said...

Very succinct.

Angie said...

Alex stole my comment! I couldn't have put it better myself. I remember my high school biology teacher telling us that people go around whining, "I don't know what my purpose is in life." He very bluntly put it that our purpose is to reproduce. I'd like to think, though, that even if I'm never successful at procreation I've had some meaningful purpose in life (and so have the rest of my buddies). Kudos to you for saying so eloquently what needed to be said of us infertiles.

Sarah said...

This is why I love your blog :) I'm linking it from mine.

Happy festivus!

Heather said...

LOVE the airing of greivances!!
people who have never been through infertility just have no clue. i know several times people have said their comments to me and i want to say do you have any idea how hurtful that is? now get away from me!

My Vegas said...

Oh Kitty--I *heart* you and your posts!

Thank you for this!

Tanya said...

Kitty: I heart you! You are awesome and I love your blog. I hope that you kick infertility in the teeth soon!

E said...

Great post Kitty.

Allison said...


Also, Jon Stewart is serious YUM. I told my BFF that I would be sister wives with her with him.

And I'm not kidding.

Misty Dawn said...

And I bet all those commenters have children with no problem. People really don't understand the ins/outs of adoption, for one, the cost and issues. People should just keep their damn mouths closed.

Christina said...

I agree with the first comment, Amen!!

Steph O. said...

That's my favorite episode! "I got a lot a PROBLEMS with you PEOPLE!" I couldn't read most of those asinine comments!

Good post Kitty!

Daisy83808 (Lex) said...

Amen! Those are terrible, ignorant comments. I don't think God does things like IF as a curse or population control. I think He does it to show us a miracle. We would probably not think about the miracle of life if it weren't for IVF. The Bible has several stories of women dealing with IF. All of them brought an amazing miracle.

tracy said...

It's not that I didn't believe you that there are people out there that make such mind blowing stupid comments about IF, I just couldn't fathom the ignorance and complete insensitivity of some people. I am completely dumbfounded. And quite honestly I feel like punching those people in the face.

junebug said...

Excellent!!! Love it. :-)

Emily said...

Well said!!!!

Sara said...

Amen sister! Great post.

(here from creme)

Tanya said...

Here from Creme...great post. Its been a long time since I felt angry about what someone has said about IF or getting pregnant but the other day someone commented on a article about not wanting children that conceiving was as easy as being "stupid, sixteen and drunk". If that person were across from me at dinner I probably would have launched across the table and tried to strangle them. Thankfully they were safely in cyberspace.

People who don't know about things should just stop talking about them...I find most of these stupid comments come from people who just have no idea.