Is my sadness anti-feminist?

20 Jul

I know that the title of this post may seem absurd. But in the depths of my sadness I have been reflecting on this question for the last couple of days. This week, I found out that I received stellar comments on my Major Research Paper for my MA in Women’s Studies. I continue to be well-respected at work amongst colleagues who are decades older than me. Even though my prominence in the queer community has diminished since I stopped writing a column and dropped out of sight to do grad school, I know that my work and my voice are well regarded in the activist community. I have spent years as an activist, writer and academic attempting to denaturalize categories of gender and to make women feel less shitty about themselves. I talk the talk about fat activism, queer notions of extended family and alternative ways of living in relationships.

But in the meantime, I am totally gutted about the fact that I can’t seem to get pregnant and I feel terrible about the weight I’ve gained over the last year of intense school work, full-time paid work and ever-escalating fertility treatments. Yep, this feminist feels inadequate because I am overweight and can’t get pregnant. It feels almost foolish to write it down, but it’s the truth.

We went to a lovely baby shower for a couple of dykes last night. They are expecting a little one in September. We became friends a year ago when we all started trying to conceive. They succeeded. We did not. And the reality is that it’s going to take a long time to build our family. We will likely try IVF one more time. And if that doesn’t work, we will be thousands of dollars in debt and contemplating our next move. I am not opposed to adoption, but it is another long and drawn-out process fraught with potentially devastating emotional challenges. It also will require me to come to terms with the fact that I am not likely to give birth to a child or raise a baby from infancy. This is something that never occurred to me. Infertility is rarely discussed in the general public, forget the queer community.

I guess I need to learn to accept that the family I so desperately want will likely not be the one that I get. But I know we will build a family somehow. I have never been good at patience.

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2 Responses to “Is my sadness anti-feminist?”

  1. Hazel Ramona July 20, 2011 at 7:43 am #

    I wish I could do something to make this all work out easily for you gals.
    Even though there are rough patches in my own journey to become a (single, queer) birth parent, I recognise the privilege I have because my body was agreeable to my plans (after healing from a tragic first attempt) and I had a fertile donor who was willing to help me.

    I really believe that families come in all shapes and sizes and that they two of you are uniquely positioned to be able to love and nourish whatever children eventually come your way from whatever paths they arrive. That said, I think it’s important to mourn your losses along the way so that you’re not carrying them in ways that will surprise you or make you sick. I think you’re doing a great job of taking care of yourself throughout this hard hard stuff.

    As a feminist, I really believe that women are whole and complex beings and that part of the work of being a woman is in balancing the pressures of society with our inner strengths and desires. I don’t think it’s unfeminist to be upset with your body for not doing what you want it to do. I think it’s human. I think it would become a feminist dilemma if you were upset that you can’t look exactly like [insert name of supermodel] because only [that supermodel]’s body type is worthwhile. You know that there is more to you than your body’s appearance or its functions… you’re just grieving and you’re frustrated. You put in an investment and so far you haven’t seen a return… you’ve only seen the side effects of the drug and layers of heartbreak. When these things are linked to your body, it’s easy to get mad at it. It’s not really a productive relationship to build with your body for the long term, but it seems totally normal to me for someone in your shoes to feel like that for a while.

    I’d love to see you treat yourself to some body loving sometime soon: maybe a massage, a soak at the water spa, a weekend where you do nothing but 3 yoga classes per day, make time to cuddle and make out with your sweetheart and don’t answer the phone for a whole weekend, or just watch a fat femme burlesque show and get rowdy with body love. When you are ready.

  2. bloggingreluctantly July 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm #

    I am new to your blog, but I just wanted to say how much i was hoping this would have worked out. Sending you healing thoughs and hope for your next round.

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