Wednesday, 19 September 2012

100% Woman



I was reminded today  that we often hear women going through infertility say that they feel like less of a woman.  I’m pretty sure I’ve said it.  I certainly know I felt it, I thought it.  And yet, we forget that the grief over infertility, the grief over pregnancy loss, is a very female experience.  Waiting every month and feeling the disappointment when we bleed, being forever reminded that our bodies are not performing the way we expect them (as female bodies) to perform, the hormones surging and waning (sometimes natural, sometimes swallowed or inserted or injected), the pain and fear of loss – it is a very real, quite uniquely female experience.And I've always thought it is just as uniquely female (because our men feel it differently) as giving birth.  Don’t ever forget that.  To go through this over and over again, and to survive with love and compassion intact, means, I think, we’re all woman.

The best and almost the kindest advice I got when going through my second ectopic pregnancy (or rather the aftermath) was from an internet friend who had also suffered infertility and loss.  "Go buy some pretty (or sexy or both) underwear,"  she instructed.  I did.  Lace and flowers.  It felt frivolous.  But I felt more like a woman.  So go shopping!

*   With a nod to Ben Elton's Maybe Baby movie, where Joely Richardson's character said something along those lines.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I never thought of it that way. But it rings so true.

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  2. Yep, I've certainly felt that way - less of a woman, because my body won't cooperate to do what I wish it would do.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this sentence: "To go through this over and over again, and to survive with love and compassion intact, means, I think, we’re all woman."

    Here's to being women! :-D

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  3. I bought neon underwear recently to feel more womanly. I felt young, electric and damn sexy! Amazing what a piece of material can do.

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  4. Thank you for the reminder, it is true "To go through this over and over again, and to survive with love and compassion intact, means, I think, we’re all woman."
    Indeed!

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  5. We've suffered through mf infertility, but I can very much relate. Just the fact that your body didn't experience something that comes so easily for so many, and seems such a "natural" part of life, produces so many different emotions and challenges to our sense of self-worth. So much of this is of course, what is fed to us by society, and what are feeble brains are willing to listen to. I think if this was still the time when That Girl, and Mary Tyler More, held prominent places on tv. And the messages of female happiness were centered more on what women could achieve professionally, or in sports, or in the arts, instead of on motherhood. It would be easier.

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  6. Funny. Your post, dear Mali, helped explain why I went to my annual "women's wellness" appointment with my hair freshly washed and flat-ironed and looking my best. It's an all-female doctor's office, but since my uterus was involved I felt the need to express my femininity today. Now I know what was driving my subconscious...

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  7. I have the same feelings as Iris. we, too, are suffering with MFI - but the fact that I am 33 years old and have NEVER even had a HINT of a bfp ever in my life, I can relate. I look at all the women in my workplace who've had NO problems at all getting pregnant or are YEARS younger than me and have children at home...I feel completely and utterly left out and sometimes wonder if I will ever be part of that "club"...lol Those messages on facebook from happy mothers who say "I'm only who I am because of my children"...um gee thanks, so what am I, chopped liver? I have some incredible friends who've decided to live child-free and I am in awe of their decision because, while I want a baby more than anything, myself, they are no less "women" just because they never have or never will be a mother. And they constantly get it for not WANTING to be a mother! I don't know. It's just hard being a woman either way. :)

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    1. Love this comment ^

      Turning that on its head to a way I've not considered before also - to care and feel as deeply as anyone who has carried a baby (whether it made it full term or not) is expressly feminine - that nurturing, would-do-anything-I-can-to-keep-this-safe feeling. And having a snifter of that, an inkling of it, we recognise the womanyness (yes, a new word!) underlying

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    2. I definitely feel that would-do-anything-I-can-to-keep-this-safe feeling very often. I completely went off on a stranger who threatened my friend and her dog last night. And I feel it every time I walk my dog...or take my pets to the vet...or babysit my niece/nephew...etc. I take every opportunity I can to nurture, because it's part of who I am. And you've helped me appreciate that part of my womanyness :) Thank you.

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  8. Lilly's last sentence is very true, "It's just hard being a woman either way"...
    I've got one child but she is very hard, but it was hard before her when I wanted her! It's hard either way for a woman, but then again, we're special ;-)

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  9. oh i have uttered that statement many a time and i'm still feeling it today. my body has let me down in the most spectacular way, failing to nurture pregnancy after pregnancy, something it is supposed to be doing naturally it completely fails at.

    and because of that i have treated my body poorly in return, shoveling junk into it, not treating it with kindness, looking after it, which in turn has added to my feelings of being less of a woman. i'm now working on changing that around.

    great post and very true.

    xx

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  10. Well, I've never needed an excuse to buy pretty undies... but I've never heard that one & it makes sense to me. : )

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  11. Yes... this is one of the hard things.... Some women don't want them, some women don't and will rid themselves. I feel "To each their own". I don't begrudge women who decide to have abortions - they have their reasons. It just is what is best for you. And yes, we are all women. And it is all hard.

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