Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Occupy Uterus Movement: An Infertile’s Thoughts on The Duggars’ 20th Child

I am protesting the latest pregnancy announced yesterday by the reality show stars, Jim Bob and Michele Duggar. At the risk of sounding like a sore loser, their pregnancy makes me angry . I am not proud of this statement, but the fact that they are expecting their 20th child makes me feel like a teenager whose prom date left her there for another girl.

I don’t know much about the Duggars, but what I surmise from their situation is that they seem to be nice people. They don’t abuse their children as far as we know. Their children seem to be polite, educated individuals who will most likely grow up to be contributing members of our society. The Duggars can afford to have many children. Their children aren’t starving or neglected. They have a home big enough to accommodate such a large family. There are those of us who may question their ability to be there as a parent to each individual child, or challenge the fairness of the roles the older siblings play in the younger siblings' lives. But for the most part, the way they live as a family seems no more or less destructive than other families .

So why does this make me angry? Oh wait, maybe it is this quote taken from, “The 45-year-old mom told the "Today" show she was surprised to discover she was expecting at her age. 'I was not thinking that God would give us another one, and we are just so grateful.'" They have openly stated that they leave their family planning to God. Well, why isn’t God handing out babies to me? Why do they get 20 babies and I only get one baby? Having suffered through infertility, I have had to leave my family planning up to God, my reproductive endocrinologist skilled surgeons, and many genetic labs and geneticists across the country. Even with all of those hands working on my and my husband's situation, we have come up empty handed in our quest to expand our family.

So am I really mad at the Duggars? Probably not. If I didn’t suffer from endometriosis and have a genetic defect with the majority of my eggs, I may have popped out 24 kids and had my own reality show. So does this mean I am mad at God? No, because unlike the Duggars, I don’t think God “gives” people children. If he gave people children, it would mean he would also purposely not give people children, or take them away. That is not the God I believe in.

So who I am angry at? I think I am just angry at my situation. It sucks that I have had four miscarriages and had over 30 embryos tested, all genetically unviable. It sucks that I cannot have any more biological children. It sucks that my husband and I have had a long, exhausting journey with infertility. It sucks that my daughter will never have a sibling. And it sucks that I have no one to blame.

When I hear the Duggars are expecting their 20th child, it reminds me of my inability to have more children. I feel like protesting the fertile inequality when you compare their family and my own. Maybe I should make an “Occupy Uterus” sign and set up camp. In reality, if I thought setting up a tent outside their compound would land me a baby, I would. But it won't. I know on some level, sometimes, we all need to vent about how life is hard and sometimes unfair.

The truth is, there are probably a lot more people who have more of a right to whine about how unfair their life is. I have a beautiful daughter, who somehow made into our lives, despite all of our infertility issues. I have a supportive husband, who often listens to me whine without complaint. I have a roof over my head and besides an aching desire to have more children, not another complaint in the world. I am pretty lucky, all things considered. Even if I could trade lives with Michelle Duggar and have the mystical power of being able to produce babies with the blink of an eye, I wouldn’t. Though I have had a difficult journey and carry some sadness and pain over my infertility issues, I have to have faith that I am exactly where and who I need to be at this moment.