Our Right to Choose - Fertility Treatment and More
Our Right to Choose
Does infertility divide men and women into two categories? Those who can and those who cannot? Or those who have and those who have not?
For women, this seems to continue a conversation that is so basic you can separate out the elements with your bare eyes.
Women who can have and do have babies and families. And women who do not.
Same conversation as women who stay at home with those babies and those who go outside the home to work? Same conversation as those women who choose to breast feed and those who do not? Same conversation as those women who choose to participate in attachment parenting and those who do not? Same conversation as women who choose to cook for their children and those who choose to feed them in a different way?
The conversation, taken down to its elements is the same.
Do we support each other? Do we support one another’s choices?
Or do we rip each other apart because the other woman hasn’t chosen what we have chosen?
Fertility Treatment Judgement
We see it even in fertility treatment; even within the subtext of infertility. We judge each other constantly. We judge ourselves constantly. Should we do that fertility treatment? Try that doctor/practice? We search the media eagerly to hear of the next best thing; whether it is a doctor or a food or an exercise, when we see that it’s linked to a successful pregnancy. We judge the efficacy of the other’s choices. If fertility treatment cycles work, we are tempted to rush and duplicate what that woman chose. When it is unsuccessful, we often condemn that other woman for her seemingly ridiculous choices.
We all have choices. They are not usually unlimited choices. Nor uncomplicated choices. Some of the conversation swirling around about fertility treatment implies that everyone has access to treatment. That is simply and absolutely untrue. Many men and women out there will never be able to afford or have substantial enough health insurance to be able to see fertility treatment.
And yet we continue to judge one another. Instead of getting on the same side, supporting one another’s struggles, we judge. Instead of supporting the other woman’s right to make a choice, we separate and are divisive.
I’m not diving into this here. Not going to make even more judgment on those judging. That would be just joining the party that I would prefer not to be at. I’m here to say a few things about this though.
Making Decisions for Oneself
I can barely make good decisions for myself. Living in my own skin, understanding my own life after having lived for decades; I still often have to search deeply for what is the best decision for me. I often find it much easier to live in my glass palace and instruct all those folks around me about what the best thing is for them. So much easier to understand and simplify a life or decision looked at from the outside. With so much less information, I feel so prepared that I know what’s best for someone else. By making declarations about a broad right and wrong, in effect, I am saying that I know what’s best for someone else. Despite not having lived their lives. Despite not facing their decisions from having lived those lives. Still, I know best?
I think I’ll stick to figuring out my own decisions, based on my own life. I welcome the compassionate and loving individuals in my life who gently comment, guide, and advise me on a very regular basis to continue doing so. I chose to invite that into my life and resist staying closed off and defensive. I know that I need help.
I just also know that help isn’t in the form of someone telling me what’s best for me. That’s for me to figure out. Whether it’s about fertility treatment or breast feeding or childcare.
And I support your right to figure it out as well. Any help I can give, I’m glad to do it.
But I know that you are the authority on your own life. And I will respect that.
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.