Fertility Medical Monday - Conceiving; an Urge, an Instinct, a Desire?
Fertility Medical Monday
Taking stock for Medical Monday, there are basic assumptions that we make about our bodily functions.
1. We breathe and our hearts beat
2. We sleep
3. We eat
4. We drink
5. We eliminate food and water (we pee, we poop)
6. We make babies
Our bodies are human bodies. Sometimes there are glitches (little problems or difficulties in operating properly) to any of those basic functions. And there are so many other functions that our bodies perform that we are not aware of on a moment by moment basis. We tend to notice a glitch in any of those listed above though. Why? Because they all have one thing in common. They all call our attention.
If not sated, they call our attention more urgently. If we are not breathing or our hearts are beating irregularly, for the most part, you will know it. You will be uncomfortable or unable to behave in a normal way in your life. When we don't sleep enough, we are exhausted. We don't perform basic tasks well and our memories and our patience is often much more limited. We are short tempered. Number three is easy, isn't it? If we don't eat, we become hungry. Very simple. And our bodies have a fail safe system of dealing with that. If we don't eat, we become more hungry. That cycle continues until we feed ourselves. There is no other way to manage hunger for any long amount of time. Eventually hunger wins out or we cannot survive. True of drinking fluids as well. More true of fluids actually. We, as humans, can go far longer without food than we can go without water. True too of fluids that the sensation of thirst, becomes more and more intense until we satisfy ourselves by drinking. That urge to drink becomes stronger and stronger. It does not fade. We eliminate bodily waste. We pee. We poop. We all know what those urges feel like. Enough said. You get it. We all need to pee and poop.
Making Babies - Something More Complicated
Then we come to making babies. Now this one is a little more complicated in some senses. On the one hand, it not a physiological need that we feel from the moment that we are born. The other functions on that list are present from the moment that we are born. Babies come with the ability to signify those needs from day one by crying. Those are the things that we check on if a baby is crying. We don't check and see if the biological need/desire is operating when an infant is crying. And yet. We do understand that the urge to procreate is one of the strongest instincts that we have. Right up there with the others on that list. Please notice. Having a great career is not on that list. Owning our own homes is not on that list. Traveling to new places; not on that list. Having babies is on that list because it is a biological function and need/desire. There are sociological, familial, societal, historical and even anthropological pressures that spur that need/desire on as well. Of that there is no doubt at all. Still first there is a biological urge present in most human beings.
Unlike the other items on this list, this one is not present in every single human being. No judgment on those who don't have it. It's just that unlike those other things, one can live childfree, without conceiving and rearing a child. But please stop for a moment. I've led you down a path and taken you off the central point. Here we come back to the point. Most human beings have and want to fulfill that urge/desire/need to procreate. Most of us have that in common. Just as we have all those other bodily functions and needs in common. (And many other bodily functions that don't cry out for attention in the same way.) Whether you live in or are from any of the four continents, regardless of your economic reality or your gender or your sexual identity, we have this in common. Most of us have that desire to procreate. So is it a hope, desire, urge, need or fundamental core instinct? Here are a few elementary definitions to perhaps help us figure this one out.
Hope - want something to happen or be the case. What we wish for.
Desire - a strong feeling to have something or wishing for something to happen.
Urge - strong desire or impulse.
Instinct - an innate, typically fixed pattern of behavior in response to certain stimuli.
Need - require (something) because it is essential or necessary.
Is it significant to understand what this urge/desire/need is? Is it simply ok to know that it exists without worrying about the whys? In my opinion? No. We as a society communicate a certain amount by talking. So language is more than significant or important, it's vital to understanding one another. And I never want to hear our desire/needs/instincts trivialized. I would like the conversation to shift away from "wanting" a baby to all of us understanding, deep down, that it is much more than that. That it is on the list of our most basic human functions that at a certain time in our lives will call our attention as strongly as our thirst and our hunger. If you are feeling that desire, that urge, that HOPE, then please know this. Even if you are struggling with infertility, something is working just the way it should be. Your instincts and urges are right in line with the rest of the human race. Maybe you need help. Don't we all, at some time or another? Isn't that why we are here? To help one another? That's my sole purpose for being here, writing to you. Thanks for listening.
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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.