Over the years I’ve heard the following reasons why someone deserves to be infertile:
- You put your career first.
- You’re a feminist.
- You slept around too much.
- You’re not a good aunt to your sister’s kids.
- Your husband plays Dungeons and Dragons…Say WHAT?!?
Honestly, just when you think you’ve heard it all, something like that last one comes along and leaves you speechless. A woman on the Creating a Family Facebook Group heard this from a family member.
Infertility (and in my case also the stillbirth of my only bio children) affects EVERYONE…. saint and sinner alike. Our 2nd pregnancy was a fatal diagnosis pregnancy (incompatible with life) and a family member intimated it was punishment because my husband still plays Dungeons and Dragons.
Your baby deserved to die because your husband plays Dungeons and Dragons?!? What type of God does this person believe in? I would hate to go through life with such a vengeance filled belief system. Our community member, who I might nominate for sainthood, had the compassion to understand that the family member was speaking out of sorrow and fear, and I might add, more than a little ignorance.
No one deserves infertility or miscarriage or stillbirth, just as no one deserves any disease. Even if decisions you’ve made in life may have contributed to your being infertile, you do not deserve this disease. Come on world, show some compassion!
Has someone implied that you deserved to be infertile because of something you did?
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Christi, I read all your posts now that I’m home! You are right on. My husband had a group of childhood friends from Boy Scouts, and they played D&D on their campouts. For the record, all the other guys have families and children (without infertility issues). I too think the game would be boring– it’s for real super nerds who enjoy the details of it all. A lot of it is based on mythology.
I hear you Christi! I apologize for not reading all the comments closely, as I’m at the grocery!
lol Laura, that’s the whole point of me joking about it. He has no infertility issues. I do, and they have existed since I was young, well before he and I met.
D&D is a role playing game…and I was the infertile one, not my husband! Doubt even God would punish ME for his “sins!”
pretty much it’s a role playing game. And yes, there are monsters and such (from the imagination of a bunch of geeks) who have various powers. I knew a boy back in 8th grade who played it with his friends, Mario, who was actually a really nice, and not even quite so nerdy little dude. My husband is a self-proclaimed geek, and a good man who just happened to love a game that really stretched his imagination as a kid. Do a quick google search on it, and you’ll find all sorts of interesting opinions. Is it a game for me? Nope, I don’t like fantasy role playing games because they bore me, and they’ve just never been my style, but does it make my husband a bad man who dabbles in dark magic? Laughable 🙂
yep, even well before we were married… like fate had destined us to meet and marry, so while he was playing, it must have been the cause for my infertility LOL Back when it came out, and even now there are hold overs, people thought D&D was about the devil and satan worshiping, etc… it isn’t, but there are some people you’ll just never convince
Laura – some belief that it is divination, something the Bible warns strongly against.
Wow! I am speechless! I am so grateful for a family and friends that didn’t “blame” me for my infertility. I did enough of that on my own. Nobody deserves to be infertile no matter what you have done. It breaks my heart to hear of someone suffering the way I did. I never think of their past, only their heartfelt desire for a baby now. I hope that those of you on this list have a support network as good as mine!
And Dawn, on a more serious note, I agree with you about victim blaming. Somehow it makes people feel better to blame a person for their own problems. A teenager is raped, it’s her fault because she dressed too provocatively or her mother’s fault because she let her stay out to late, or go to a party, etc etc… someone suffers infertility, surely they had to do *something* to displease God so he wouldn’t give them kids. I see this type of victim blaming when babies get hurt in car accidents, or when one parent/step parent/significant other hurts the kids of the other. I also see this a LOT when people find out my oldest is adopted. I almost always get asked “Oh, was the birth mother on drugs? Was she young? She wasn’t responsible huh?” My favorite was when the receptionist at my work (a very old lady, not that it’s an excuse) said “I have no sympathy for people like that! They deserve whatever they get.” Trust me when I say, I bit my tongue while I vacillated back and forth between how much I wanted/needed to keep my job, and now much I wanted to tell her off.
lol I’m sure my husband playing D&D as a kid caused me to have pcos as a young woman, so when we’d meet years later, we’d suffer with infertility and miscarriages. Thank goodness I *finally* have an answer
OMG! My husband played D&D! That must have been what did it!! (JK)
People really think those things? I suppose I deserved to be raped and abused as a kid, too. I don’t even think I would engage with anyone who had the nerve to say something like that.
Dawn, I agree with Christi, that for most people is a way to distance themselves from something bad happening. If there’s a REASON than it results from that reason and it’s not just a random thing that could happen to anyone.
It’s called the Just World Fallacy, and you can read more about it here: http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/06/07/the-just-world-fallacy/
(no affiliation with that blog, huge fan though)
It doesn’t just apply to infertility; people apply it to layoffs, continued unemployment, inability to find the right mate, or the right house; you name it, people can find a way to blame you for it.
I hate to admit it, but until I started really examining it, I would think that people who got laid off “deserved” it; a position fueled by the number of people who would tell me, “Oh, they really only did a layout off to get rid of ‘dead wood.'” (which I still couldn’t tell you if that was JWF or true — at the time they said it, I believed it, but now I wonder if that’s a lie they told themselves so they’d feel better about it.)
I’m pretty sure my grandmother would think I deserved infertility for having premarital sex and being an atheist.
Beth, I don’t know your grandmother, but I know plenty of others who might agree with that assessment of your situation. The thing that frustrates me (OK maybe I should say ONE of the things) about this blame game is that it takes a small kernel of truth and blows it up. Yes, sexually transmitted diseases can cause infertility, but so can lots of other things, and the vast majority of people who have premarital sex (which includes most of the US) do not get STDs and do not suffer from infertility as the result. Driving 2 miles over the speed limit can cause wrecks and cause you to be killed, but the vast majority of people who drive 2 miles over the speed limit (which includes most of the US) do not get in a wrecks and are not killed.
P.S. You can tell Grandma that plenty of devout Christians, Jews, and Muslims are infertile too. Seems that infertility is an equal opportunity disease.
No one “deserves” infertility for any reason but know, the one about “putting career first” gets to me in particular. Aside from many pro-child emotional/psychological reasons establishing a strong professional identity is a good thing for many parents, male and female alike, We live in an economy where now few have the option of NOT developing a fully-fledged career before they have children. Even hard-working and/or highly educated and/or highly skilled people often work well into middle age and still cannot obtain a stable income, benefits, let alone maternity leave of any kind in todays world. Whether a woman (or man for that matter) is choosing to parent single, married or coupled, gay/straight…few can afford to become parents until certain professional groundwork has been established.
Rosalie, that is absolutely true. Establishing a career is the responsible decision for many people to make and most woman don’t end up infertile as a result (assuming they don’t wait until after 40 when the percentages start changing rapidly). The myth however is that all infertility is caused by waiting until “advanced age”, which alas is not true. I am not,however, in any way advocating that women and men should wait, but as I said in an earlier blog (Is Infertility A Lifestyle Choice? http://ow.ly/hWY12 ), I do want to see business America make it easier for people to start their career and a family before the age of 35.
Whole Child, as I’m thinking about your comment it makes me realize that blaming the victims gives the blamer a false sense of protection that this bad thing won’t happen to them. I’m going to have to think on that awhile. And yes, people really do think those things. Well, maybe only one person ever thought the Dungeons and Dragon part, but the others are pretty common.
Sara, yeah I think you are right. I think it makes the blamer feel safer.
Wendy, you are indeed blessed.
I want to go hug my family now.
This reminds me, though, of the flipside that I’ve heard from our own infertile and adoptive community. All too often people say things like: “I saw this woman on the bus yelling at her son/daughter today, and I just kept thinking, ‘What a terrible parent! Why does she get to be a mom and not me?'” We can spend waaaay much time comparing ourselves to others and trying to find reasons for “why them” as well as “why not us”. Hard to remember sometimes, but biology goes about its business without doing interviews for the best candidate or checking character references first. [and, of course, everyone is a fabulous parent who would never yell until the day it happens…]
AnonAP [but biology goes about its business without doing interviews for the best candidate or checking character references first.] So true. And yes, I too became a lot less self righteous after I had kids and realized that they can drive you stark raving mad sometimes.
Laura, I wonder exactly what it is about D&D that causes infertility? Having never played (and I say that very self righteously :-)) I’ll have to guess, but maybe it’s the scantily dressed women??
Christi, ahh good point. I hadn’t thought about the carryover effect–his playing got the bad vibes going which transferred over to you. Now, that makes sense.
Actually I had no idea that it was considered devil worship or in any way connected to anything religious. I just thought it was a role playing game and assumed it was a shoot ’em up or hunt them down type of game.
Someone told me that I was getting a bit old (for the record, I started trying when I was 29 and I’m 30 now). Someone else said years of birth control was probably what messed up my body.
Most of my family and close friends have been great, very compassionate in their responses. The two above were mere acquaintances, but when you’re already raw about the problem, it still stings.
Katherine, oh yes, I should have added the use of birth control as the reason you deserve infertility. I’ve heard that one a couple of times before. Never mind that a huge percentage of women in their 20s are on some form of birth control.
Dawn, the worst blame I ever heard was from a military wife. Others blamed her and her husband’s infertility, miscarriages and still births as punishment for the soldier killing others. He nearly sacrificed his own life several times for our country and people back here in the US were telling them the loss of their babies were punishment. Nobody deserves that kind of heartbreak and no one deserves to be treated that way by others. The couple eventually decided to remain childless.
Anon, oh wow, that is heartless. Honestly, where is the compassion in this world?!? Thank goodness stories this extreme are pretty rare, but even the “lesser” forms of blame cut deep.