Alt-IF aims to collect the voices of people who have dealt with or are dealing with infertility, specifically the voices of those also in alternative/non-majority subcultures, or those who feel like outsiders for any number of reasons (being younger than average, being in grad school or college, being tattooed, being nonreligious or non-Christian, being male, etc). Submit your story. Find your people.
AKAMrsX wrote on her blog a while back “this article the other day in The Washington Post got me thinking about the parallels between infertiles living in a fertile world and lefties in a righty world. The article was about how the next president of the United States, whomever he should be, will be a lefty, and that lefties have been overwhelmingly represented in that highest office despite their minority status. This line in particular got me thinking:
“Forced to ‘adjust to a right-handed world, [left-handers’ feel more marginal,’ Howard Gardner, professor of cognition and education at Harvard, suggests in an e-mail. ‘Marginality has its costs, but it typically allows you to see the world different from other people,’ he explains, ‘and that can be a strength.’”
There is no doubt that you become a stronger person when you have had to deal with any major life tragedy or issue, be it cancer, divorce, whatever. But, while infertiles feel that same marginalization as southpaws, we probably have a harder time getting used to it since we were not born that way. Very few women or men grow up knowing that they will not be able to reproduce. Most of us don’t even find out until we are well into our journey to have a child, at which point it is devastating news. Kids who are born left-handed learn from an early age what it is to be a minority in that respect and most learn some type of coping mechanism. Indeed, there is a sense of pride of a lefty who manages to function in a righty world. Us infertiles, on the other hand, rarely feel pride at being infertile. It is most certainly not a badge of honor and in no way is something that we want to either advertise or glorify.
But, the marginalization is the same. That feeling that you are not like everyone else. That you are the one who is not like the others. And for as wonderful as diversity is, I’d just as soon be different for other reasons.”
To add to the thoughts above about marginality and to tie it into the purpose of this Tumblr, add an additional layer onto one’s marginal-infertile status [atheism, non-normative sexual orientation, appearance, fill in the blank ______] and you’ve got a perfect storm for feeling a certain acute level of apartness. This is not to say that it’s a free pass for a constant pity party, but it is something that I think is worth acknowledging: some infertiles are going to find a sense of community more easily than others. And some are going to feel more marginalized within their community than they already felt sans infertility. And that sucks. Boo hiss. So here’s to finding more “different for other reasons too” infertile “south paws” — would that make us the “south-south paws” of baby-having?