Wednesday, March 6, 2013

pelvis in print, cycle 3, day 20

Chances are, many of you have probably seen, and read, Anna Jesus’s opinion piece, “Pregnant in Medical School” in that mecca of print journalism, the Sunday New York Times. I may have exclaimed just a little bit over my granola on Sunday morning – she has what I have! <jaw agape>. And then I read it. And then <cog slowly turning> I had some rambling, non-sense, it’s the middle of the two week wait, people! thoughts.

On one hand: thank goodness we’re talking about vaginas. VAGINA, VAGINA, VAGINA.[1] I mean it. When was the last time you saw “transvaginal ultrasound” in a major print publication and it wasn’t connected to one of[2] these dolts? I’d be lying if I said career wasn’t something I’m trying (desperately) to balance amidst all of this uncertainty. And who doesn’t appreciate a professional woman candid enough to concede her worries about showing up to work smelling of her own vomit?

On the other hand: <hoisting myself up on the ole soapbox> While I know she wasn’t aiming for a thorough social commentary on the matter and so any critique is wildly unfair, her analysis of infertility and her ultimately successful conception and pregnancy seem reductionist and incomplete. Her proposed remedy – which seems to boil down to “put your career on hold and rely on your gainfully-employed partner to support you” – is narrowly tailored to a group of (mostly) highly educated, middle class women[3] and profoundly out of reach for so many others. Yes, she acknowledges that she was lucky, fortunate to have the support of her spouse, and she seems to at least fleetingly concede that “[e]very woman is different” but still, I was left a little wanting.

But…<falls off soapbox into crowd of angry, clawing women> also grateful for any intelligent discussion of not-as-easy-as-it-sounds-conception in the mass media and thankful that another hole has been poked in the shroud of isolation that is infertility. (It’s just that, you know, I’m greedy, so I want to, like, have my infertility cake[4] and eat it, too.)

But enough about me. (If you have suffered along with me continued reading this far) what did you guys think? (Besides that I am kind of a smug jerk). What would you have told your younger, more free-wheeling-maybe-not-yet-ready-to-be-a-mama selves?

[1] You know, to the tune of marsha, marsha, marsha. Because. Obviously.
[2] But seriously, remember when this guy was on the Real World?
[3] Yours truly. Ahem.
[4] Whatever you do, do not drop everything and Google image search “infertility cake.” After not doing that, you will not be flabbergasted – and terribly bemused – to find that oh my god my blood orange upside down cake is one of a shocking number of cakes that appear.


  1. glad you posted this as i had not read the article. I get what you are saying. Those of us who can dash away from work (me) and support a partner (my hub) while one person works (me) are lucky. And having the ability to pay for IF treatments on top of that is a very fortune situation indeed (minus the unfortunature nature of needing IVF at all). However, I, like you, see that any depiction of an informed, eloquent, IF patient in the news as a positive. It is not an off teh wall extreme case. She sounds like the rest of us: shocked, devastated, and trying to figure it all out. I appreciate her point that her career will be there but her eggs wont because she is right. age is the most significant underlying cause of IF and all the 45 year celebs have babies without acknowledging their egg donor is a huge disservice to women everywhere

    thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks for bringing this article to my attention. I agree, it's important to bring these discussions into the glare of the NYT media spotlight, to draw attention to these issues and to demystify them. So kudos to the author and the publication for that. At the same time, like you, I see the limitations of this 'cautionary tale' because really, I am not sure what I could have done in my free-wheeling younger years. It was meeting my husband, at the ripe old age of 34, that made me truly want to reproduce in the first place (I breath a sigh of relief - as should the rest of the planet - that I NEVER considered procreating with his predecessors), and at that, we started right away. So yes, the dilemmas that come with having come of age in a post-feminist world where we are fallaciously taught that we can and should Have It All are a big part of this issue for many of us, but there are limits and circumstances that go beyond middle class status as well. I've been ruminating on this a lot recently, and meaning to write a post of my own, since coming across an article on 'social infertility'. Anyway, sorry for the novel and thanks for sharing!

    1. "Social infertility" is such a crazy label, but kind of fascinating. I'm not quite sure how i feel about the IVF industry capitalizing on this "new brand" of woman - it feels kind of icky. Very much looking forward to reading what you have to say about it!

  3. I'm glad she wrote it. I'm feeling a little greedy, too, though. If we're going to make the NYT, I guess I kind of want it all. The venue is open for a more comprehensive discussion and it's not there. But! I'm also incredibly thankful for this brave woman for putting her infertility on display. Me, I write about it under a silly nom de plume and take care to hide my face and details about my profession.

    1. Ha, man, I'm so glad I'm not the only greedy one :)
      But I agree, it's big that she put herself out there. Meanwhile, the most I can do is post a baby picture with one eye showing...

  4. the Real World was so real back then.