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When is it Enough?

Gail Miller, MD discusses how judged women can be, by fertility status, especially when things don't work out as desired.

August 6, 2023

There seems to be no limit to judgment and shame.  

If you do A someone will say you should have done B.  If you do B someone will say you should have done A.  

There’s body shaming (on both sides of the spectrum), how you dress shaming, how you parent shaming, how you take care of your parents shaming and on and on.

There’s also fertility and marital status shaming, especially for women.  It’s not to say it doesn’t happen to men but it is less common because men being single and/or childless is viewed differently.   

 

There’s body shaming (on both sides of the spectrum), how you dress shaming, how you parent shaming, how you take care of your parents shaming and on and on. Click To Tweet

 

Feeling shame has come up a lot more recently.  Shame for being childless, for dealing with infertility and for pregnancy loss. 

Maybe it’s because of Mother’s Day.  I don’t know but I’m hearing that a lot more than usual.  

Some of you experiencing this say it’s shame over infertility – that your body couldn’t do what it’s “supposed to do” or you’ve lost pregnancies and you are feeling that same shame.

Some of you feel shame for not doing what other people think is “enough.”  But what is enough??

Is it 1 round of IVF or years and years of IVF?  Is it going bankrupt for fertility treatments?  How many times does someone need to go through the roller coaster of fertility treatment for it to be considered ‘enough’?

How many pregnancy losses do you have to endure – the ups and downs, the hopes and indescribable fears that come with each positive pregnancy test wondering if you will lose this one too – for it to be ‘enough’?

 

“Some of you feel shame for not doing what other people think is “enough.”  But what is enough??”

 

For those of you who have tried to adopt but it didn’t work out – how many adoptions that fell through do you have to endure for it to be considered ‘enough’?  

Then there are life circumstances that lead to childlessness that bring “shame” that shouldn’t… 

Aging out.

A traumatic childhood that you don’t want to repeat.

A partner who doesn’t share your desire for a child.  Did you not do ‘enough’ because you didn’t leave that person?

Who gets to decide what ‘enough’ is?

Who gets to decide what’s right for you, whether it’s about having a child or anything else?

You do.

No one is walking in your shoes.  No one is dealing with your circumstances. 

The shame you feel is coming from your thoughts about infertility, pregnancy loss or being childless.    

But you get to decide if your thoughts are something you really need to believe. 

How are these thoughts serving you?  

Examine your thoughts.  What thoughts are you having when you feel shame?  

Write them down.  Journal about them.  Get those thoughts out from your head to paper.  Really examine them.

Then look at how you can turn those thoughts around.  What thought can you think instead that makes sense and doesn’t make you feel shame?   

Write those down too, and repeat them to yourself.  Remind yourself daily. 

There is no shame in infertility.  There is no shame in pregnancy loss.  There is no shame in childlessness. 

You’ve done nothing wrong. 

You’ve done enough.  

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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