I’ve been contemplating this topic for a while from different perspectives. As a woman, a Muslim and hijabi (someone who follows a modest way of life in dress and demeanor), a professional, wife, graduate, daughter, public servant, and so on, I occupy many roles in society.
Many of our roles or identities as women are made all the more challenging because of criticism by other women who one would expect to be empathetic at the very least. I’ve seen this in faith and have in fact been on the receiving end of criticism… “Your colours are too bright”, “Muslim women shouldn’t wear makeup”, “What’s the point in covering your head if you’re wearing trousers” and other inanities detract from the fact that this life of modesty and how to express it is my own personal choice based on my relationship with God, nobody else.
In our world of IF, there’s a similar kind of unfair critique that Jay over at The 2 Week Wait faced. I had seen this phenomenon elsewhere online and still find it so confusing. I understand the sadness, but not the bitterness. Why would one direct one’s anger at someone who’s been through the same pain as you? Of course it’s misdirected – the frustration is obvious, we all know it, but I guess we all react in different ways. I wish it wasn’t in this manner though.
And nevermind all that, once you’ve managed to survive the bitter IF backlash and had your baby, there’s birth shaming.
This is a difficult topic to write. I wonder if it pisses off the TTC veterans, hope not. I think about how flippant it could sound to those of you who’ve been down so many difficult roads ending in BFNs, MCs and other tragedies – “trying without trying” sounds… trite and thoughtless.
But I have thought about it a lot. How our circumstances were never quite right to really give it a go. Whether we really wanted to acknowledge the problem and so put a label on it.
He who must not be named
We carried on “not trying, not preventing”. I think it is/was easier to go through the past 5 years with the idea that “something” was in the way – work or school or money. So that’s simply what I mean. It is borne out of fear, a cop out, a kaart.
I’ve been struggling with my diet. The last 2 weeks of January were so hectic at work because one of the bigger projects I’m managing has started ramping up. My team commenced their contracts and because for a large part they’re highly skilled specialists with as much focus on exceptional quality work as I have, so we’ve been work-shopping and brainstorming for up to 12 hours a day.
This is not ideal because what usually happens is that somebody’s tummy would grumble and we’d realise we have to eat. As a result, I’ve not been cooking as much which means I end up buying food and eating badly (by badly I mean one too many Peanut Butter Bliss smoothies from Kauai). I have been having dinner quite late too, often after 8pm. Exercise has also suffered because I’ve been so tired.
I really need to get my butt into gear and go back to looking after how I get and expend my energy.
Most of us TTCers have had the uncomfortable questions and well-meaning (but ill-informed and insensitive) advice. In communities where big families are the norm and personal boundaries are often blurry and porous, it’s a lot more challenging because it’s virtually expected for couples to start a family after the first year – case in point, the Muslim community in Cape Town.
And what irritates me is the “expert”… all sorts of advice on how I should change my diet/lifestyle/natural remedies/medication/BD position and in no time I’ll be pregnant.
In my experience, the people asking the questions are more often than not those who have no business knowing. My close family and friends rarely ask because they know what they need to know, and understand that I will share what I want when I want.
What kinds of challenging conversations are you faced with in your community when it comes to TTC?