Infertile Women Aren’t Your Political Pawn

What I’m about to say is for the male people out there. Because what I’m about to say is glaringly obvious to women.

Women are people who share a very important, defining set of experiences. Among these is whether or not an entirely new human being might emerge from our bodies, with or without our consent.

Before I go on, I’d like you to imagine, for a moment, the gravity of that. This experience does not merely wreck your body for nine months, and cramp your lifestyle for another 18 to 28 after that–though that’s HUGE. It also results in a human being walking the planet that was not there before. If a woman were to squat, give birth, and then walk away from the product of this event (as men do more often than not), she would be tried for MURDER. There is no parallel experience for men. This is something they cannot fully understand.

So women, understandably, spend a significant part of the years between 12 and 60 managing this possibility. Our sexual choices, unlike men’s, must revolve around the fact. Who will I have sex with (will he run screaming if I get pregnant?), when (am I fertile?), and with what contraception (is it effective enough?) are but a few of the considerations.

Then there’s the matter of rape, which is not only awful in and of itself, but also means that even young girls, celibate women and lesbians have to keep pregnancy on their radar.

When we’re not trying not to get pregnant, or trying to get pregnant, we are doing other things that relate directly to our biology: debating with doctors and politicians about our desire to manage our reproduction; sopping up rivers of blood month after month, while ensuring that absolutely nobody ever sees or even knows about the blood; taking a different bus and getting home before dark in the hopes of not getting raped.

“But some women are infertile!!!1!” my ex said to me, once, during one of our routine debates about whether “trans women” have anything significant in common with women. It’s not something he had some insight about–it’s just part of the playbook of things “trans women” tell each other to say when their “womanhood” is questioned.

And here comes the two statements that are obvious to women, but not to men, including those men who enjoy squishing their bodies into unusually colorful or restrictive clothing:

Infertile women aren’t born with a sign of their infertility stamped on their forehead. Most infertile women don’t know they’re infertile until they try to have a child.

AND

Infertility doesn’t mean you run around blissfully exempt from concerns around pregnancy. For many if not most infertile women, infertility means being prone to having miscarriages.

So an infertile women has to spend the years after age 15 or so evaluating and taking birth control, making sexual decisions based on the possibility of pregnancy, deciding whether or not to have kids, panicking when she misses a period, and altering her daily routes and routines in the service of not getting raped. Just like other women.

Then, an infertile woman might, after finding the right partner, try to get pregnant. She might look forward to it and plan her career and life choices around it. She might make a decision about breastfeeding.  Just like other women.

Then, she might take pregnancy tests while she’s trying, and see a string of negative results, and then see a positive one, and then feel overjoyed, and start telling people and making even more plans. Just like other women.

Then, after taking prenatal vitamins, like other women, and going to an obstetrician, like other women, and watching her belly grow for a month, or two, or even nine, like other women, she might collapse in a pool of blood and be rushed to the hospital and find out that there will be no baby after all.

Oh, and also–miscarriages can be life-threatening.

Does that sound like a break from womanhood, to you? No. That’s a very, very female problem to have.

Then, it might happen to her another time or several other times before she learns that she’s infertile.

Or, she might see that positive pregnancy test, and be devastated, because it’s the wrong time–just like other women. She might consider abortion. She might go through with an abortion.

Just like trans women!

Oh wait–no.

Detect a theme here? Infertile women care about, and have experiences with, reproductive issues. Abortion. Birth control. Pregnancy. Pre-natal medicine. Women’s reproductive rights. Rape.

They may even have more traumatic experiences around reproduction than do other women.

So back the fuck off with your increasingly ignorant and self-serving statements about women.

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