You can achieve anything series – Part 2
The exact same reasons for the belief, or rather, the message, that I outlined in my previous post exist here in the infertility world:
Society: Our pro-natal society teaches us to believe that a) everyone will become a parent easily, and b) our place in society and our life’s value is inextricably linked with becoming a parent. When we begin to find that it is not as easy as we’ve been led to believe, we start to question ourselves, our value, and our place in society. We start to panic, and feel helpless. The message that we can in fact have children, as long as we try hard enough and never give up, fits all those societal expectations that we have absorbed.
Hope: We began trying to conceive because we wanted to be parents. Hope that we will achieve our goals keeps us going. Hope without control is tough, so we need to believe that we have some control over the process. So we have to hope that our efforts will allow us to achieve our goals. After all, we’ve been taught to believe that the alternative is not to be considered.
Altruism/Connection: “You can do it too!” “Never give up!” “We’ll be parents together!” Those who have been through infertility have known the torture of wanting something that is so central to our humanity, but seemingly outside of our ability to achieve it. It’s hard going through this, and hard to see others still going through it. So those who have received their prize like to encourage those who are left trying, they want to connect and pass on some of their happiness and satisfaction. It’s well-intentioned, and done with love, I know. Those who are still going through it want to believe that these statements are true for everyone, including and primarily themselves. So they too will encourage others to keep trying, to keep believing, to keep wanting it enough.
Self-aggrandisement: After often years of effort, grief, loss, treatments, disappointment, it is perhaps natural for someone to want to congratulate themselves on achieving their goal, to feel that they made the difference, that they wouldn’t be pregnant without their specific efforts, their decisions that made this cycle different, their perseverance that shows they wanted it enough, that they tried hard enough, that they believed, that they were worthy. They want to feel they had some control, and that they can take some credit in their achievement.
Commercial motivations: The fertility industry and adoption industries push success and opportunity and focus on the outcomes. It’s in their financial interests for people to keep going and going, to try new things, to keep believing it will work for them. Pamela writes extensively on this issue, and I bow to her superior knowledge.
Two of my commenters on my previous post provided other good reasons that also should be noted:
Fear: Valery suggested that maybe this is also out of fear - fear that maybe they actually never had any control. If there was no control, it means that they could just as easily not have had the success, despite all their efforts.
Guilt: Ruby suggested that perhaps it was out of guilt. Survivor's guilt is easier to deal with if you believe that you had some control, and can take some credit, for the result.
So, does wanting it enough work? Don't answer that - it will be my next post, and you can guess what I'm about to say!