My Mother Talks About Infertility

July 25, 2009

For those who aren’t regular readers of my blog, a little background on my mother. Most of my posts are of the “My Mom Says the Darndest Things” ilk, such as her views on politics, her relationship with my cat, and daytime television. These wacky exchanges are a combination of long-standing characteristics (at the best of times, she’s “absent minded” and has a short attention span, to put it nicely) and more recent memory decline. Last week she actually forgot that I am pregnant with twins.

(On the phone at 10:30 p.m.)
Me: I can’t talk to you right now, I’m eating.
Mom: Why are you eating so late at night?
Me: I have to eat all the time.
Mom: Why?
Me: Because I’m supposed to put on as much weight as I can.
Mom: Why?
Me: Because of the babies.
Mom: What babies?
Me: I’m pregnant with two babies.
Mom: Oh! Congratulations!

Since then she denies forgetting (or has forgotten about forgetting).

Then, today, a different conversation. Like the rest of our families, she doesn’t know anything about our infertility.

(Talking about a specific friend of hers)
Me: Have you told her that you’re going to be a grandma?
Mom: Yes. She said her son waited 5 1/2 years to have a baby. They had problems.
Me: Then they weren’t really waiting for those 5 1/2 years.
Mom: What?
Me: They weren’t trying to wait.
Mom: What?
Me: Never mind.
Mom: They had to do artificial insemination or something. That’s bad, right?
Me: It’s neither good nor bad. When people need help, it’s good if they can get that help and if it works for them.
Mom: I think your father and I had problems trying to have you. I don’t really remember.

Personally, infertility is not something I could ever forget, no matter how bad my memory got.


28 Responses to “My Mother Talks About Infertility”

  1. jill Says:

    Your mom sounds like a hand full! 🙂

  2. Oh my! Good times for sure. As in, never a dull moment with your mom around.

  3. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    With the forgetfulness in context, I would have smiled at the first conversation, but the second conversation is scary, to an extent….it reflects the suspicion that still vests with IF treatments…

    Good Luck surviving your family!

  4. Lisa Says:

    First of all, thank you for commenting on my blog about my recent post “Channel 4’s Documentary – The World’s Oldest Mums.” I really like getting feedback and learning something new in the process.

    In regard to your Mom’s forgetfulness about your twins (Big Congrats on that!) and probably purposeful naivete about IVF, could it be that she doesn’t really want to believe that you have had heartbreaking and difficult times surrounding your fertiliy? Selective remembering protects you from painful memories, and it may have been awful to watch you go through this (not more than the pain you suffered yourself). We are still our mother’s babies, no matter how old we are, and they want us to be spared.

    I have often heard people say, once a good event occurs like a healthy birth, “It’s no use bringing up the past. Forget about it now.” It’s their way of putting their own emotions on the shelf, so to speak, and they want you to spare yourself any pain by doing the same. Unfortunately, for anyone who has been through fertility treatment, those memories never go away. I imagine, that after a few years of delightful grandmothering your babies, she will have forgotten you had trouble conceiving at all.

  5. Clare Says:

    Your mom sounds funny! Probably irritates you – especially when she denies forgetting stuff, but is VERY funny to read!!

  6. Kristin Says:

    She is a hoot.

  7. Shaz Says:

    Wow! I have to agree with u, I don’t think I could ever forget my years of infertility, perhaps I’ll wish I could but I don’t think I will!

  8. Carrie Says:

    Wow. I am sure I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry. And yeah, infertility does not equual intentional waiting!

  9. Oh scheeze. That first one, especially, had my mouth on the floor!

  10. Nina Says:

    I’m finding that you either have to laugh or cry when it comes to your parents/grandparents/aunts/uncles going through memory loss and possibly dementia. My grandmother didn’t know who I was after I colored my hair. She figured it out after I spoke to her. She’s having trouble remembering how to get dressed. I’m sorry you’re going through this with your mother.

  11. you are absolutely right, when you want a child and life makes that difficult for you, you dont just forget. congratulations on your pregnancy

  12. Flutterby918 Says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I feel for you with your mother – although reading it lends some humor to the situation – I realize how troubling and difficult it can be. My husbands grandmother is suffering memory loss and sometimes forgets (we moved away) that when we are visiting it does not mean that we are “home” for good.
    Try to keep things in persepctive and step back and take a few deep breaths when necessary. Congrats on your twins!!

  13. Julie Says:

    Had to go back and read the cat one – too funny. Agree with Nina – just sort of have to laugh and shake your head at what comes out of relatives’ mouthes sometimes.

  14. Mad Hatter Says:

    Hmmm…I wonder what your mother would define as “trouble”…a couple of months or five years? It sounds like you’re keeping your sense of humour about it all, which is very healthy. Congratulations on your pregnancy! Looking forward to following your journey!

  15. Courtney Says:

    Congrats on your twins! I hope you have a happy and healthy 9 months!


  16. Cat Says:

    Wow, just wow. I can’t believe she could forget that her daughter is 1) pregnant, and 2) with twins!

  17. Amy Says:

    My mom tries to understand, but sometimes just doesn’t get it. For example, my niece was conceived using IUI, and my mom thought that meant that she wasn’t biologically related to my brother. Had to explain that one. You should hear my IVF explanations!

    But, to be forgetful about my IF experience? That sounds like a dream. Sometimes I wish we could make it all do away.

  18. Ana Says:

    At first I thought—wow, that sounds annoying, but funny. But then I realized how hard it must be to not be able to fully share this experience with your mother. Memory loss in the older folks is very scary and difficult for the loved ones to deal with. I am very sorry you are going through this. Hopefully by the time the babies come, her love for them will keep them in her mind!

  19. Shinejil Says:

    Wow, I wish I could forget my infertility at the moment.

  20. Dora Says:

    OY! You have infinitely more patience that I would. On the upside, can I say she’s easier than your MIL?

  21. Chelle Says:

    I’m glad to hear you are keeping your sense of humor… I don’t know if I could!!

  22. Mrs. Gamgee Says:

    wow… I can’t imagine forgetting how challenging this time of my life has been. But maybe it would be a good thing.


  23. strongblonde Says:

    …but wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to be able to forget about it? what? i had to have a large needle stuck through my vaginal wall to get eggs? i had no idea!

    my mom is similar. she actually told me that she thought that she could intelligently talk about the IVF process to people b/c she watches “a lot of vet programs”….not sure how that will help! hmm…..

  24. Carrie Says:

    What in the world?! How can she forget so much? Congratulations? I’m just shaking my head in confusion.

  25. Nity Says:

    oh my. these crack me up. i’m sure not fun to deal with. does she have any mental forgetfulness? that’s what it would seem like to me…

  26. Karen Says:

    Oh my goodness! She forgot you were pregnant with twins! How funny. Congratulations by the way.

  27. My MIL forgets things all the time — especially important things like where any of my husband’s baby pictures are and all sorts of family history stuff. At times I’m both suspicious and jealous of this ability — okay not really. I would never want to forget anything, especially the painful stuff, since that’s what makes the nice stuff that much better.

    Either way it’s a little frustrating, though I’m sure not nearly as frustrating as it would be if it was my own mother who I used to question relentlessly about every aspect of my birth and pre-cog years.

  28. mafaldaknowsbest Says:

    My mother is the same. We´re living in different countries and I´m doing IVF at the moment. I have to explain the process everytime we chat on the phone. everytime. Patience and deep breaths!

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