What are you, Barren?

18 Jul

This article in the Huffington Post about the social stigma of childlessness caught my eye.

What are you, Barren?

I really was taken by this statement:

“whereas barrenness used to connote a divine curse of biblical proportions and sterility an absolutely irreversible physical condition,” infertility today “connotes a medically and socially liminal state.” You’re neither here nor there. As a result, infertile men and women are often viewed as medically, psychologically, or societally disadvantaged: “socially suspect… disabled by virtue of their childlessness.”

What it gets at is this difficult to describe feeling of shame and embarrassment being childless has brought up for me.  I find myself dreading big social gatherings with peers with children, feeling ashamed and embarrassed as people avoid the white elephant in the room around me and awkwardly avoiding the question “How are you? What is your news?” from old high school and college friends (who can too easily reach me on Facebook).   I love how these questions come from friends with ultrasounds for profile pics,  Geesh!   Do I really need everyone from my past getting updates on my problem and gossiping about me?  I decided I’d rather be mysterious and say nothing.  That way people can talk all they want, but they don’t have anything to go on.

How do you handle the social hurdles and awkward, often embarrassing feelings that come up with IF and RPL?  Does anyone have a creative way to handle the social stigma of being “childless”?

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2 Responses to “What are you, Barren?”

  1. Another Dreamer July 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm #

    If you hear of a good way to handle the hurdles, let me know! It almost feels like it haunts you, no matter what stage you’re at. I dealt with it during fertility treatments, during pregnancies, during miscarriages, after miscarriages, and even now- it’s hard to find a comfort zone and place where you belong, what’s “normal” is just so foreign, and it’s hard, no scratch that, it’s impossible for outsiders to understand. Let alone for those of us experiencing it.

  2. Nelly July 24, 2011 at 12:57 am #

    I would tell them awkward information so they QUIT ASKING!

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