Infertility Poseur?

May 15, 2010

Sometimes I feel like an infertility poseur. Despite the fact that I have Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). There are a couple of reasons I feel this way. Firstly, I don’t (yet) meet the medical definition.

Infertility is the failure of a couple to conceive a pregnancy after trying to do so for at least one full year.

I haven’t been trying to conceive for a year. Many of the women I’ve ‘met’ in this infertile corner of the web have been battling infertility for many YEARS. I’ve only just started. I started because of the diagnosis. I didn’t get the diagnosis because I started trying. Sometimes it just all seems backwards.
Despite the fact that I haven’t been trying to get pregnant for a full year I claim the title ‘infertile.’ Considering I don’t ovulate regularly and often not at all I am essentially infertile. And headed towards barren on a fast train. Considering that people with my condition have a 5-10% of conceiving I’m not likely to get pregnant within a year – or at all. So I AM infertile. Except sometimes I feel like a poseur. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve the title – which is just silly because no one really deserves it. No one wants to be infertile. But have I earned it yet?
The other reason is my age. I’m now 36. I was diagnosed at 35. Since I was on birth control there’s no telling how long the symptoms were masked but they definitely started by age 34 if not before. 34 is definitely too young to essentially be starting the process of menopause (even though it’s not technically menopause that’s the easiest way to describe it). But, now, at age 36 I should expect my fertility to be diminished. Not in the toilet, but diminished. And I’ve ‘met’ several women, some, like me, also suffering from POI, who are much younger. They somehow seem more ‘worthy’ of the infertility badge than I do. They’ve earned it. Have I? It must be much more devastating to receive this diagnosis at 25 than 35. I can only imagine. And for that reason alone they’ve earned the title.

POI is not as rare as you might think. It’s not common, but 1% of women in their 30s have it. That’s not rare. But no one knows about it. Even my GYN didn’t think I had it – but she did the tests. Some GYNs wouldn’t have. Some women don’t get diagnosed so quickly. I often feel myself wanting to become a vocal advocate for awareness. Awareness of POI as well as infertility in general. But feeling like a poseur prevents me from doing it. I feel like I’m simultaneously too old and too new to fight the fight. I wouldn’t make a good posterchild for this campaign – I’m too old. And I don’t have the experience – I haven’t been through all the treatments.

But even if I can’t get past feeling like a poseur to become an advocate I was ecstatic to see that Keiko Zoll has done it. I just read her first post on Your Great Life where she is featured as a ‘Person With Passion.’ Her blog, Hannah Wept, Sarah Laughed (also amongst the links on the right) is well written and thought provoking. If I can’t feel comfortable being an advocate for infertility awareness then the least I can do is help her do it. Go Keiko!

One last thought: As I’ve been writing this I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel like such a poseur due to my age. I’m too young to have run out of eggs. My age shouldn’t make me feel like a poseur. But somehow I feel like I should expect to be infertile because I’m 36. Is that rational? Probably not. I’m a pretty rational person. So what’s going on? I think, on some level, I haven’t moved past the stage of blaming myself. I must still be blaming myself for this diagnosis. I haven’t moved past the What Ifs of the past. I’m still wondering What If things in the past had been different, if I had done things differently, I might not be facing this now. Did I do something to cause my egg supply to plummet? What if I had managed to have kids before? Then it wouldn’t matter so much now. I need to find a way to move forward and put the past behind me. Any suggestions? Anyone else out there feel like a poseur? Or is it just me?


3 Responses to “Infertility Poseur?”

  1. S.I.F. Says:

    I started trying because of a diagnosis and not the other way around as well. The truth is that, being single, I peed on sticks with fear in the beginning. I wasn’t ready to be pregnant!

    Until I found out my time was running out.

    My doctor did tell me that the other end of the infertility diagnosis is someone who can’t get pregnant without medical assistance (hormones, IUI’s, IVF). So I’ve never felt like a poseur calling myself “infertile”, but I do feel bad when I talk to women who have had multiple failed cycles and here I am living in fear of a failure on my first. Of course, most of those women get to start with the lesser treatments and I have to go straight to IVF, so I do think there is a difference there. There is just so much more involved and put into IVF. The fear of failure is pretty big. Plus – it feels like my only chance.

    That was one long comment just to say I totally get what you’re saying!

  2. barrenlazza Says:

    Hi Foxy

    I know what you mean. I am 40 and I feel way too young to have premature ovarian failure. This is probably because I was diagnosed when I was 36 – way too young to be without eggs or oestrogen.

    But when I look at my Mum and both Grandmas, all had finished having their children by 35. So maybe we have age dysmorphia – do we think we are young when we’re actually old????

    Eek, I don’t think so.

    I think anyone who is diagnosed with POI or POF before 50 should be able to have a big cry as it’s a really shitty thing to have to deal with – regardless of whether you are 25 or 36.

    Barren Lazza

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