Saturday, June 16, 2012

women and unwitting affliction

Allen tells me that I worry too much about what people think, and he's right. One bad word can put a serious damper on my day. I'm getting better about that, but the tendency still exists. Given that tendency it's easy for me to get dishearted when I read conservative bloggers talking about current women's issues because eventually they'll get around to fertility. They'll point out how women are putting off their childbearing years so they can sit around punching numbers into a computer or how early pregnancy is the best preventative for breast cancer. You want to know my first thought when I read that? "Thanks God, this sucks." Imagine telling an infertile woman that, through no fault of her own, not only will she never have grandkids (barring adoption) but that she's at a higher risk of dying from cancer. I'm hoping someone misread that study because that's a seriously huge "life's not FAIR!" moment right there. Huge one. I know life isn't fair to begin with, but that's egregious.

Anyway, it's easy for me to get frustrated by just how much I look like these selfish/deluded/pick your adjective women. I'm nearly 29, been married almost 6 years, and we don't have children. Someone could easily look at us and see the embodiment of so much they dislike about the modern American woman. In a t-shirt and shorts there's nothing that exactly screams "conservative Christian housewife" to the passing observer. Ok, so maybe my shorts are a bit longer than average. Sometimes I have a hard time feeling like I look like something I don't want to be.

The good news for me personally is that I'm finally on medication for a thyroid disorder which I hope will put everything back in order. No promises there, but I'm hopeful. Just don't expect a blow by blow report. I've definitely over shared in the past and learned my lesson. To return to my point though, I'm coming to feel that, frustrating as it may be, part of the affliction involved with dealing with delayed or absent fertility is the realization that some people will misjudge you. People will make pointed (or "encouraging") remarks when they see you with a friend's child. If you have a career they may wonder where your real loyalties lay. It's not fair, but it does happen. More than two kids or less than one and it seems like women are fair game for commentary. I suppose the important thing is to know where you stand and just take it as part of the cross we all have to carry. And have a little hope. Sure we love all the moms and kidlets running around at church, but I believe the Church needs women of all stripes to work out a purpose and a dignity that involves more than marriageability and functional ovaries. It's a glorious part of female life, but it's hardly all-encompassing.

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