Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Science Vs. Nature

Our friends Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell are expecting twins! (You can read my previous post about them here).

"The twins were conceived without the help of in vitro fertilization or the fertility drug Clomid," a source close to the couple says."

Well, congratulations to them! And that's great that they didn't have to resort to fertility treatment. But this brings up something that I come across on a regular basis, and I can't figure out why it's such a hot-button issue:

I have many friends who were lucky enough to be blessed with natural twins. They are all great moms and really enjoy their kids, but many of them get really defensive and offended when people ask if they did IVF or used fertility drugs. Now, just to be clear, I don't think anyone should be asking anyone how their babies were conceived, but that is beside the point. Instead of saying "None of your business" and walking away, they try to defend their "honor" by explaining that their babies are mother-nature specials.

And then we have "news" articles about people like Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell, making sure everyone knows they did not need assistance in creating their little bundles of joy.

I am just not sure why this little piece of information matters. In my never-to-be-humble opinion, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of in having to seek fertility treatment. If you can't have a baby the regular way, who cares? And if you can, again, who cares?

We treat naturally-conceived twins like they are a badge of honor. (Look at what great reproductive systems their parents have - they were able to have twins without any help!) It seems we have lost sight of the fact that conception of babies is a private matter, and every baby is a miracle, no matter how much scientific interference may have been required for them to be born.


Evil HR Lady said...

People are so stupid. Who cares? It's a baby. Or two babies.

I did learn a good answer for a nosey question of "was the pregnancy a surprise?" You can say, "No, actually, I was there when it happened." Ha!

Megan B said...

Speaking as a soon-to-be mom of "mother-nature specials", I'm actually totally on board with you. I also don't think it makes you more or less of a mother if you give birth to them in a wading pool at home, with an epidural, via c-section, or through the miracle of adoption. Then again, I'm also one of the few people on earth who don't mind when someone rubs my tummy (but no one ever seems comfortable doing that in this day and age, LOL). I do think that the question is rude from total strangers at the grocery store, but I understand the curiosity. I personally haven't been asked the question yet, but I'm sure it will come up at some point, once I'm mixing and mingling with strangers again. For me, it's not so much a badge of honor that I didn't need fertility assistance, but an explanation to whomever may ask for the total shock, surprise and mild panic that still lingers in my eyes. Moms who use Clomid or IVF seem to be more prepared for the possibility of twins. Much more than those of us who get completely blindsided but the spontaneous little surprise. LOL, for me it's more of a cry for help, if that makes any sense. More of "I didn't know this was going to happen quite this way and I have no idea what I'm doing and no preparation or frame of reference whatsoever for such an unexpected blessing. AAACK! I'm totally happy and completely freaked out and overwhelmed!!"

As far as wanting to know if celebrities used IVF or other fertility assistance, I have a theory about that, and I may be WAY off. I have so many friends who have suffered the anxieties and disappointment of infertility. As you well know, sometimes IVF doesn't even work. I think celebrities that champion the cause of infertility do a service for those who suffer from the same affliction. For those regular folks who also struggle with infertility concerns, the celebrities become relatable, and they serve to educate those who don't struggle with it. And, best of all, they are success stories of treatments that worked. There is so much disappointment out there with infertility these days that it's so exciting when someone successfully conquers it, and I think it offers hope, whether they are celebrities or not. It made me weepy and happy as all get out when we found out little Michael was on his way. He is special in his own right as a child of god, but knowing how hard he was prayed and fought for by his parents makes him even more of a miracle. It makes the parents pretty darn awesome too ;) If you ask me, I think it's more of a badge of honor to be willing to do it the hard way when necessary, and fight the uphill battle, and I can say that with honesty and frankness from the outside looking in.

That's my 222 cents ;)

fiona said...

Funny, I'm on the total opposite end of the spectrum from the moms who want to be sure people know their twins are "un-assisted." I almost always tell people I meet and have any sort of conversation with about the twins that our kiddos are from IVF. I love answering the question, "Do twins run in your family?" with "no, but they did in our doctor's office..." Usually a confused look and then my IVF explanation follow.

I have two reasons for my openness: One, like Megan mentioned, is to be a "ray of hope" to others and maybe be a source of info if needed, or if nothing else just get more awareness out there! And two, because honestly, I'm kinda proud of all the hard work that went into my babies! Which is not at all to imply that non-fertility-treatment pregnancies are devoid of hard work or are any less yearned for by the parents. Being pregnant is hard work, and just because someone got pregnant the fun way doesn't make their baby/ies any less wanted or important. But heck, IVF is a pain! And I did it and look what I got!

But, yeah, a baby is a baby, a great blessing, who cares how they get here??

And congrats, Megan, on your twins! So fun! And a lot of work. That's what I wish I had been able to experience, the utter surprise/disbelief that would come with finding out you're having twins when it's not at all expected! :)