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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Twenty Questions--Part Five

There has been a lag between questions, so just to remind y'all the point of these posts and to let new readers in on the discussion, you can reread the first post here. The general idea is that these are quotes from books that I'm reading that have made me pause. And since you can't always speak to the author and start a conversation with them, I thought I'd throw this into the blogosphere and get your reaction.

No one brought up this quote when we were discussing Children of Men, but I marked it in my copy. To set the scene, Jasper is stating that he is not upset by the fact that he'll never have children or grandchildren because the couple knew early on that they were both infertile.

The man states: "You can't mourn for unborn grandchildren when there never was a hope of them."

Which personally harkens images of those who know either without a doubt or with a strong suspicion that they are infertile prior to trying to conceive and still go through the same emotions as all other infertile people when faced with using assisted conception or adoption or contemplating life without children. I think there is a shitload of mourning that goes on in the Land of If even when the inhabitant knew beforehand that they would be setting up camp on this island if they wanted to become a parent.

It made me wonder about my own parents and inlaws and what they went through wondering whether we would produce grandchildren. I have to imagine that they would mourn. I know I certainly mourned pregnancies that had no hope of continuing--where the doctor had told me point-blank were hopeless. I still mourned when it was all over and the blood came.

Your thoughts?


Shelli said...

It's not that we mourn lost hope.

it's that we mourn our un-fulfilled desires...

Bea said...

I wonder if the key to the truth in that statement is in the word "grandchildren" rather than children. I find it difficult (better make that impossible) to believe there's no mourning at all when it comes to the role of "parent", even when a person knows without doubt they're 100% infertile right from the time they get the birds and bees talk. Differently processed? Sure. Not mourned at all? I can't think of a single example to back that up.

But grandchildren are so much more abstract a concept, and I also think the role is more easily filled - it's seen as a more "optional" relationship and has less to do with direct and legal responsibility, and more to do with how generations within the same community work together and support each other. It's easy to imagine a situation in which the grandmotherly role is filled by the dear old lady across the street rather than your own mother, who is on the other side of the world/badly ailing/long since passed on.

I still think the statement is overly strong. And I don't think it applies to parents of infertile couples, so much as the infertile couples themselves. But that prefix "grand" makes it just this side of plausible.


Celeste said...

i don't know - i think my mom especially has mourned the three losses (and the continued loss of continued infertility). i'm the oldest and my bro and sis aren't in any way ttc. i've been ttc for 6 yrs + several more in my early 20s, and she mourns for me as well as her own loss.

for me, mourning and grief, in all its stages, seem a constant now.

Anonymous said...

I think you mourn what might have been and even though I've always known I'd have problems TTC, that didn't mean I felt any less pain when I realized my hunch was right after all. I think infertility and loss is like a scar. Although you physically heal, there's always something to remind you of what went wrong, how much it hurt and what might never be.

niobe said...

It's kinda like "you can't miss what you never had."

However, I've found that those are the things you miss the most.

Dianne/Flutter said...

The loss of innocence, realization that it may never happen and belief that it will ABSOLUTELY happen. It is no longer when we have children, but an if we have a child.

I most definitely believe you mourn with infertility, I know I have.

Tina said...

Hummm... I actually had earmarked that page with that quote...

I think my mom did mourn my losses - for a few reasons: 1) out of myself and my siblings, I have fought the hardest to have children - and am the only one to have to suffer through miscarriages. Having children was easy for my sister and brother; 2) I am the only one of the three of us raising our child "right" - in that, we are "active" parenters and we cherish every second we have with our child. My neices and nephews do not know the life we are giving our DS; and 3) this is the biggie:

My mom was (emotionallly) forced to have an abortion when I was 10 years old. The time "wasn't right" according to my grandmother (who was helping us our financially at the time) and, she and my dad pushed my mom into it. I know she regrets that every day of her life - and to see me struggle to have just one more child reinforces those regrets she carries even more. She mourns the grandchildren I couldn't have, and she mourns the grandchildren she never will have from the child she was forced to abort.

I do agree with Shelli that we mourn our un-fulfilled desires... But, in my case, I think I have also mourned lost hope. It is hard to hope when three lives are robbed from you through miscarriage.

katd said...

My mom cried when I told her for sure that we weren't pursuing more treatment. She was so strong and supportive throughout the entire process, but I know it upset her. It honestly made me feel better, strange as that may be, to know that it hurt her, too. It made me feel less alone. I think there's something to wanting to continue your family and pass down genetics. Not that it's the most important thing, but there's definitely a loss to deal with when you have to give up the hope of seeing your daughter pregnant. I think it's a way that many moms and daughters become closer. Just one way, not the most important way, but something most moms probably look forward to experiencing with their daughters.
Is that way off track of the initial question? :)

Anam_Kihaku said...

when i first hoocked up with hubby - we were very honest with his folks about the no bio kids and they were sad but said adoption is still family - once thye have x suranme what does it matter how they got here, just that they are here. that day i knew i'd made the right choice about my hubby but i know they were sad about it. but they are also realistic people too.