Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Why do you ask?

All of you with twins are probably used to the question by now: Was it IVF or natural? Back in my days of ignorance and lack of tact, I had occasion to ask the same question. Well, in my case it was "natural," though I don't think of any manner of conception as being unnatural so I don't like to use that term. Though we conceived without the help of IVF, I resent the question probably because we did indeed have trouble conceiving, and the conception was, to us, nothing short of a miracle. I had just had a second surgery in the course of a year for endometriosis with a shaky outlook for conceiving, and we were about to start drugs. IVF was the short step after that. I've had a few friends and acquaintances who have done IVF. Some of them conceived, and, yes, they conceived twins. For some of them IVF was not successful, and they adopted or are on the road to adoption. There was and is a lot of heartbreak for them all, but if you're reading this blog it's quite possible you already assumed that.

It boils down to this: if you're asking the IVF vs. "natural" question, chances are that you are either a)fertile b)have never tried to conceive or c)have struggled but don't realize this would offend people (wake up and smell the Clomid, people!). When I answer that my twins are "natural," you wink at me and say, "Wow, that's so nice! ...and so unusual these days with everyone going on drugs and whatnot!" There is truth to that; but the way it is usually said, I feel as though you are implying that conceiving without help is superior. And how far does that go? Was my pregnancy superior to others'? Just asking, since I threw up through its entirety, ended up in preterm labor at 27+ weeks which was stopped with me spending a week in the hospital on dizzying magnesium and then sticking myself in the leg for 6 weeks so I could receive terbutaline, a drug that some associate with autism, while on total bedrest. Or does it mean that my babies are superior to others'? Hmmm, let's think...I delivered my babies at 34 weeks, and then they spent their first 3 and 5 weeks in a hospital and have continuing health problems. Yeah, that's superior, alright.

Now I'm not playing misery poker here. I am glad for what I have, and my pregnancy and my babies are things I am exceedingly proud of. I also know that others have had much rougher experiences than my own on all fronts. But there is a whole slew of people who have had better experiences on all fronts as well. And to those fortunate people, who are also often the ones doing the asking, here's the thing. Don't assume I'm part of some club of "normal people" that you are in, just because I conceived without the help of IVF. I'm not in your club, and my experiences are such that I never could feel comfortable even if I got in. It especially blows my mind when medical professionals ask. I say, "Why, does it have to do with my babies' health or treatment?" Answer, "No, just wondering." (Really? Cuz I was just wondering why it is that every time we visit, you have coral pink lipstick on your teeth. Ever heard of a mirror? See, I was just wondering, but I was able to control my urge to ask. Take a lesson.) I have decided to not respond to this question anymore, other than with a, "Why do you ask?" Better to make people feel uncomfortable than feel uncomfortable myself.

Please note that I am not perfect. I am certain that I ask people dumb questions without even knowing it, because their struggles are not mine and so I'm ignorant. I try hard not to be, but it's inevitable. So if you are asking what I have decided is a dumb question, then please forgive me for judging you, because you probably really mean no harm. But please don't ask me anymore either.


Blogger Bill Norris said...

I was just wondering why it is that every time we visit, you have coral pink lipstick on your teeth. Ever heard of a mirror? See, I was just wondering, but I was able to control my urge to ask. Take a lesson.

I totally think you should reply with this.

10:05 AM  

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