Sunday, November 27, 2011

Am I being selfish?

First off, thank you all for your feedback yesterday.  It helped guide me as in the decision making process. I decided after a lot of thought to simply send a card to the family, expressing our sympathy.  I don't know where the funeral is being held and contact the mother would equal a long conversation trying to pretend that everything is fine, which right now it's not.  So the card will do.

A fellow blogger, Gee, recently wrote a fantastic post that I wanted to expand on.  The second to last paragraph touched on a persistent thought that I've had since our diagnosis.
On sleepless nights I worry about this, that my overwhelming desire to be a parent is not because I think I would be a good one but because I'm looking to fill some inner deficiency. That pursuing extraordinary measures to conceive is the height of selfish, adolescent self-centeredness. That I'm just jealous and obsessed and petty and everything an adult shouldn't be.
Or, the way I think about it: Do I want to be a parent simply because everyone else is?  Is my desire to have a child selfish?

I'll be honest, there are many days, especially as the end of this month nears, that I have my doubts.  We're filled with this image of Mother from the time we are little.  This person gives of herself daily, putting herself second to meet the needs of her children.  Everything she does, every thought, every action is all meant to protect her children, allowing them to prosper.  In short, a Mother is a selfless person.  And as I struggle with infertility, I feel that my actions are more self-serving.  I've doubted that I really want children, that my pursuit of treatment is simply to fulfill a selfish desire.  And that through my actions, I am unworthy of having someone call me "Mom."

But in my calmer moments, I reflect on the fact that most fertile women probably never ask themselves these questions.  Or if they do, usually it's after their toddler has hit the terrible twos.  And when I actually watch most mothers, it becomes obvious that they are not entirely self-less; that their relationships with their children is fulfilling a need to love and be loved.  Sure, they make sacrifices, but their are also many rewards.  Despite what we are lead to believe, motherhood is not an altruistic act; it is both selfless and selfish.  And that's the way it should be.

The cruelty of infertility is that it robs us of the chance to love.  Suddenly, something that is so pure and simple is gone and we begin a journey filled with uncertainty.  Some of us will be lucky to resolve our infertility through pregnancy (either through treatment or not), others will come to a cross-roads where they will need to pursue adoption or decide to live child-free.  But one thing is certain, to make this journey, to make these decisions, requires that we be selfish and self-less.

A purely selfish person wouldn't spend thousands of dollars on fertility treatments.

A purely selfish person wouldn't subject themselves to cycle after cycle of drugs that alter your body physically and emotionally.

A purely selfish person wouldn't muster the courage to congratulate a friend/coworker/family member following a pregnancy announcement, and then cry quietly in private later.

A purely selfish person wouldn't spend hours filling out paper work for an adoption agency nor subject themselves to the months of waiting and uncertainty.

A purely selfish person wouldn't even consider parenthood.  It's not on their radar.
(BTW: I've met couples who made the decision early on that they did not want children.  I don't put them into the same category as a selfish person because children were on their radar.  There is a difference)

Everything is do in life has some element of self-interest.  We rely on our environment to produce the food eat, provide the water we drink.  We require shelter to protect us found the elements and clothing to protect our bodies.  And we also require love. Without love, life is hollow.

My main point of this rant is that I think anyone who has walked for a little while on this path has reflected on whether they are pursuing parenthood for selfish reasons.  Ultimately, in my opinion, it's that reflection will make/has made them better parents.  We have to work harder than most to build our families.



  1. Amazing post!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing!! I have felt many of these things myself!!

    Happy ICLW

  2. Those of us who suffer from infertility have the opportunity to ponder these questions so often prior to parenthood. I'm not sure if it's a benefit we have over fertiles or a detriment. I simply know that we will have pondered these things where fertiles will - for the most part - not have done so. In a lot of ways, I think it makes us more prepared when our time for parenthood comes. In other ways, I hate suffering the doubt that many fertile people have never had to consider. I choose to count these meditations as a positive that will make me a better parent when my time comes.

    Happy ICLW!

  3. This is such a wonderful post. Yes, we are given the time to question and ponder all that parenthood has to offer and while we may doubt ourselves we must know that we are not selfish!

  4. Trying to become a parent definitely isn't a selfish thing, that's for sure. I definitely agree that infertility makes you do a lot of selfless things. It takes a lot of strength to continue to aim for a family, no matter what the costs.

    ICLW #46 Krystal

  5. Beautifully written post. We need to go easy on ourselves, because the road sure hasn't been easy on us. You actually made me feel better about doubting myself on occasion.

  6. I agree with you, we are far from being selfish. Sure we are only selfish in the fact that we want to be parents and experience that joy of our child's love but then again most humans want the same thing. It is the fact that we try harder than those that are fertile that makes us feel like we are being selfish when in truth it is a purely selfless act to keep going through with each cycle under the drug control of doctors feeling like we are caged animals in some sort of mad science experiment and waiting with futile hope for that BFP. I want one so badly too. I hope you get yours soon.

  7. I dont' know that I've ever read a more beautiful post. I can't tell you how many times that I've asked myself all these questions! There's really nothing I can add to it except "Well said!" Maybe we have to be selfish when it comes to us, our decision and our family, but selfless when it comes to that baby... xoxo

  8. That's an amazing post! Thank you! Your words were deep and so very true.


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