A lot of the decisions I have made in my life can easily be judged by those around me, and admittedly the opinion formed may not always be positive. Thankfully, though, I am confident that the decisions I have made are the right ones for me. My family didn’t think I should have moved onto IVF so soon, or at all in some cases. Many people openly judge me for working full-time rather than staying at-home with my long-awaited children. I am a proponent of child-rearing methods like “Cry-It-Out” and letting them dip their green beans in ketchup if that will coerce them to eat vegetables. Many other moms think things like this border on cruel and unusual punishment. Usually, I try to let the thoughts and opinions of others that disagree with me or parent differently roll off my back and I try to stay away from sharing my opinions and thoughts unsolicited, too.
So, recently when I came across a woman in a “multiples” group that I am in I was a bit taken aback at my inability to stay out of the highly volatile conversation that she started. The woman was asking for support. She was already the parent of two year old twins conceived via IVF and she had just learned that her third IVF (2nd was unsuccessful) resulted in conception and that she was expecting twins again! She was devastated and contemplating her options of whether it would be possible to reduce to a singleton pregnancy. Now, this is honestly something that I can’t imagine – having four children under the age of three does seem very, very, very difficult and scary. However, this is where my judgemental attitude reared its head.
I immediately started condemning this poor woman (luckily, mostly internally). Why would she transfer two embryos knowing that she absolutely did not want twins again, especially when she had already had a twin pregnancy from IVF? How could she even begin to consider aborting one of the children now that she was the mom of twins and knew how precious that was (even amidst the definitely not-precious times)? How could she subject herself to more fertility treatments, spend gobs of money and time, and not know without a doubt that she would be happy with the outcome if it resulted in a much longed for third (and fourth) child. My rational side of my brain said that there were circumstances I didn’t know about – maybe she thought that the IVF wasn’t really going to work because the second one didn’t, maybe she felt she needed to use all of the frozen embryos available, or maybe the deep desire for one more child and her trust of her doctor’s assurances that twins weren’t likely to happen again made her just disregard even the possibllity of a second set of twins. Heck, I have even written here about the misconception that twins result the majority of time from IVF – so I can certainly recognize that you would not realistically think you would be the one to have twins again.
The judgemental side of my brain, though, says there are plenty of people with multiple multiples, due to fertility treatments. There are even people with multiple multiples who didn’t use fertility treatments. There are people who would give everything to be the parents of one, or ten children as long as they could be parents. There are people who can’t afford one IVF cycle, much less three. Wow, I am digressing again. The point is that it is hard not to judge, not to share your opinion. Especially when it comes to infertility and fertility treatments because there is so much shared emotion and common ground between most women who struggle to conceive. Nevertheless, being infertile too absolutely does not give me or anyone else the right to judge someone else’s thoughts or decisions. Just because it is something that I would never consider doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the right to consider it. There are many people who would never undergo IVF, but for me that is the absolute best thing I have ever done in my life and I really don’t like to be judged for it so I will try to do the same in this situation.