A Plea for Women to Stop Judging Other Women In Their Reproductive Journeys!

One thing I wish, as we continue to reflect on women and our empowerment, is that we would stop passing our opinions down on other women as to when or if they should be mothers, how long they should breast feed, how to parent their kids, or any number of "none of your business" topics that come with reproduction.

I have been down this road for a long time.  I have written before about my struggle with infertility.  In my twenties I tried for years and years to conceive without success.  During this time, a lot of female coworkers made comments to me like, "by the time I was your age I had two kids, don't you like children?"  Saying this to a woman struggling with infertility is just the most absolutely ignorant thing you can do.

Never shy and always feisty, I started cracking back at them with the journey I was on and would say, "But thank you for so rudely drawing attention to my struggle."  Unkind perhaps, but sometimes this is the only way people learn.

At this very moment I know many women who are pregnant.  Some are elated having conceived after a struggle.  Some are nervous and unsure how they will enjoy motherhood.  Some are very young new mothers, some are older moms for the second or third time.  Some got pregnant by accident, others after years of trying.  Some are sensitive about the changes to their bodies, some are enjoying the thickening up they see.  Some are keeping their babies' names a secret, some are already calling their expectant one by their name. Some are choosing to let the gender be a surprise!

Also, I know many women struggling at different stages of their infertility.  Some are nearing the end of their decided path, others are just beginning. Some are going through difficult emotions as they come to terms with what they feel is their "failure" - a feeling I certainly felt during my own struggle with infertility - and some are pondering the financial impact of medical treatments.  Some are young women, and some are nearing the end of their fertility window.

All of these women are in different places, and yet not one of them deserves to be subjected to my opinions or suggestions on how to proceed.

I am often subject to this, and while I am not sensitive about it,  I find it rather appalling the things women are willing to say to one another.  I have taken my infertility journey and it ended empty handed.  I eventually achieved peace about that.  I am beyond that desire now.  I will be 36 this year.  I do not judge other women in their late thirties and forties for attempting to conceive, and I wish them all the best success in their journey, but having children into my late thirties isn't the journey I wanted. 

When people tell me, "There's still plenty of time for you, you're still young" they are ignorant of where I have been in this journey and how far I have come.  They don't know about the doctor's appointments I went to, the temperature tracking, the expensive ovulation kits, the imaging procedures, medication and on and on.  They don't know about the monthly sorrow in feeling like a failure.  They don't know the hopes and the tears that have gone on before, or the peace that I have since achieved within my soul about it.  They speak in ignorance, but it's just so beyond impolite.

I have a friend who is close to my age, she doesn't and has never wanted kids.  People make the same comments about her and then say, "You don't want kids?!" As if she is a cannibal or something.  It's not their place to judge.  She doesn't want kids.  It's none of their business.

It's almost exclusively women who do this, the very type of person who should know better.  The very people who have made their own decisions with their bodies about whether or not to have children, or how far to go in an effort to try.  Which makes it all the more egregious that it's women who always do this.