Editor’s Note: Annette Prieto-Llopis is director of client relations and coach for the Center for Hispanic Leadership. The center consults with Fortune 500 organizations to give Hispanic leaders and consumers a voice. She is also involved with Resolve, the national infertility association that is promoting April 22 to 28 as National Infertility Awareness Week.
By Annette Prieto-Llopis, Special to CNN
(CNN) – My mother, a Cuban immigrant, had three expectations of me as a child: To graduate from college, get married and become a mother. So far, I have fulfilled two of them. I became a high school teacher and a wife, but at 40-years-old have yet been able to conceive a child. It is an awful predicament to experience: the stigma of infertility plus the expectations - from my Latino family and community– to become a mother. Being the only Latina in your family without children makes you feel ashamed and isolated. Watching your friends experience the joy of motherhood leaves you feeling empty and forgotten. As a Latina isn’t it my God-given right to be a mami?
As a Latina, the inability to get pregnant is the most overwhelming sense of failure. The perception is that something is wrong with you as a mujer. In a culture that prides itself on the importance of family, I was underperforming.
That’s how I felt, until now.
Growing up I never heard of anyone who had trouble conceiving; it simply wasn’t discussed. I didn’t even know the definition of “infertility” until I was 27, experienced excruciating lower abdominal pain, and had to have emergency surgery on a twisted fallopian tube, caused by a large ovarian cyst. That’s the bubble in which most Latinas grow up. I vividly remember the surgeon reluctantly explaining to my naïve self that she would do everything in her power to save my left reproductive side but “it wasn’t looking good.” I came out of that surgery, just as the doctor predicted, minus my left ovary and fallopian tube.
Ironically, nine months later, I was once again rushed to the emergency room for surgery. This time the fallopian tube on the right side was twisted, causing more horrible pain. Today, I have a portion of my right ovary but the one remaining tube is blocked due to the trauma it endured. That means I am unable to conceive naturally.
At the time of the surgeries, I just wanted the unbearable physical pain to go away. Today the emotional and psychological pain of my final diagnosis in 1998 haunts me every day.
It was two weeks before Christmas 2011 when my doctor called with the results of my last pregnancy test. My husband, who is also Hispanic, and I were convinced it was our time – it would be the most memorable Christmas ever.
We were wrong.
The attempt to get pregnant at the end of 2011 was our third, and possibly last, attempt to get pregnant using IVF – in vitro fertilization. Twice before we had heard the words, “I’m sorry but it’s negative.” It doesn’t get easier to hear.
We felt cursed with no control to break the evil spell. Even worse, was the disappointment it brings to the entire family - the abuelas anxiously awaiting a grandchild, the nieces and nephews hoping for a primo to play with. I was single-handedly letting down my entire family. That’s how it felt for this Latina.
To make matters worse, my physician referred to me as a “textbook case" - a polite way of saying that I was an extremely difficult case to treat since my eggs were “maturing and not as viable.” In other words, "You and your eggs are old."
I’ve been struggling with infertility for more than 13 years. To date, I have had four surgeries, undergone three in vitro fertilization cycles, five intrauterine inseminations and countless corrective procedures. Nothing has worked. According to a study led by Dr. Barbara Luke of Michigan State University, minority women have less success than white women with fertility treatments. Research is needed to solve this problem, at a time when America's Latina population is growing so quickly.
I recently surrendered control. As a type-A Latina, this was a challenge but it was important for my psyche. I had always worked hard and enjoyed success in my career. I expected success in my quest to have a child, too. After much reflection and countless tears I have concluded this “curse” is also a blessing. We all have moments in life that require us to reach deep within and muster all the strength necessary to get us through tough times. As women of all nationalities, we have had no choice but to exude strength we did not believe we had. Although the past 13 years have been difficult, they have served to make me stronger. My hardship is now my gift of humility and appreciation of life itself.
It is hard to believe that infertility remains a taboo subject especially in the Hispanic community. That is why I commend celebrities such as Sherri Shepherd (ABC’s “The View”), Padma Lakshmi (Bravo's “Top Chef”) and Giuliana Rancic (E! network) for their willingness to share their difficulties with getting pregnant. They are raising awareness and allowing women to speak-up. My goal is to create a platform for the Latina voices that have not yet been heard.
Throughout my trials and tribulations, I could not have asked for a greater support system and a more amazing husband. And, these difficult times have introduced me to new amigas who have brought me laughter and who have cried with me through the pain. It has taken a lot of soul-searching to accept that my path to “mamihood” could only be predicted by a higher power. I now understand that my struggles have purpose - that my maternal capabilities are intended for now, to serve others. Today, I volunteer as the infertility support group leader at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California and I’m involved with the Resolve organization on their national advocacy efforts.
To all Latinas suffering in silence, you are not alone.
The opinions expressed are solely those of Annette Prieto-Llopis.
You and your husband are absolutely beautiful people. You see God brought you together for a purpose! Maybe not to have children of your own but to serve other children. And now that you have seen a positive side... hey, miracles do happen, it happened to a Virgen and a very old lady... God has plans for you.. if not in this lifetime.. there will be another!!! God Bless You Both!!
"Research is needed to solve this problem, at a time when America's Latina population is growing so quickly."
Are you kidding? Do you not see the irony?
I would never adopt a child. I'm not selfish or inconsiderate but I have my personal reasons.
Annette, you and your husband are such a beautiful couple! After 20 years of infertility treatments, I completely understand what you are saying. Please disregard the idiot comments. Maybe someone needs to write an article on what not to say to an infertile to avoid being revealed as an imbecile. Anyway, sweetie, there ARE options – I think you probably know this already from your RE. Speaking as one who struggled with alternatives but made the plunge, I am very happy now, though of course there will always be a bit of grief for the losses that couldn't be helped.
The world's population is already beyond what it can sustain. There is absolutely no reason other than selfishness for couples to jump on the Breeder's Bandwagon. The best solution to the baby factories is the elimination of all tax breaks and welfare payments for all children born after the second child. With appropriate awards to those that chose sterilization (both partners) and adoption, that would go a long way toward population reduction and save taxpayers a considerable amount of money.
I agree with you, an a religious person had ways permited to limit, Mexico, India, Pakistan that are over ppulated need to follow the Chinese way, one child per married person.
The United States has 3 times the people as Mexico. What if Canada suggested we pass a one child policy here in the US?
I am not Latina but I am unable to bear children. Infertility strikes 1 in 3 couples regardless of skin color, ethnic background, family history or gender (sometimes it's the man...sometimes it's the woman). I truly, truly feel Annette's pain. But please keep in mind that want-to-be grandmas come in all colors and backgrounds. Mine was Dutch and would constantly ask me "So...are you pregnant yet" and each time it was like a knife in my heart. Some members of my dad's family in Maine even asked me "What's wrong with you? How come you don't want children?"...totally oblivious to the fact that...gee, maybe I do want them but just CAN'T have them. Anyway...my point is...this is NOT something that is made more or less difficult by a person's race of background. It's gut wrenching painful no matter where you come from.
Not all we want to ask our children why they do not have any, it will be rude and tackless. My son and his wife as my brother have decided not to have children , they have personal reasons.
I was raised not to ask about husbands, children, maybe there is none or got divorced or lost them.
This expectation lately about having a child I compare to, I have the house, the boat and now the children any way any how.
I packed up all of my thnigs and told my boyfriend i was moving in with my ex and we were gonna work everything out i had a guy friend act like my ex go along with it. My boyfriend fell on his knees begging me to stay. He didnt remember it was even april fools day
How very very sad that some women who really want to, cannot conceive, and how very very frightening the whole money-making operation of IVF is. I'm glad there are articles like this, because the more we hear about the women who give birth to litters thanks to the help of artificial means, the less we understand the real facts: it takes thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars for IVF and the odds are slim that pregnancy will occur. Should pregnancy occur, the odds are high that the pregnancy won't come to term. Should the pregnancy occur and survive the first three months, the odds are high that there will be multiple fetuses. Should there be multiple fetuses, the odds are high of a premature birth. Should there be premature birth, the odds are high that there will be birth defects. Life is a miracle. Forcing life is a different kind of miracle, and unbelievably expensive.
You know what??? How, when or if, a couple has a child is THEIR CHOICE! Stop making judgements on people who are trying to make sense of something that most people dream about, since they were children and then hear the shocking news that they can't have a baby the normal way.
I had people tell me that maybe God didn't intend for me to have a child. After the 2nd time, I asked them to explain why God let children be born in abusive situation, to allow them to be abused or killed.
To have a child, usually is a choice; allow people the choice how to have one also.
I feel for these women who have trouble conceiving, but there are so many kids in the world that need homes. Please, think about those kids before you subject yourselves to risky, expensive medical treatments that may not work.
There is not enough white infants to adopt.. Unless you both are willing to adopt an minority or get an infant from abroad. Remember is is okay for single women to keep there children. When I was struggling, there were states with closed lists; meaning you get on a list and wait your turn. Or there are open adoption states, which you write out both of your autobiographies, and hope you are picked. All avenues cost money and take time.
We had to get on a list 35 years ago to get an infant. I was content with an older child, but my wife wanted a baby. It is a very emotional thing to go through this, but it's not the end of your life. We ended up childless but still had a life. Not everyone adapts the same way, so your choices are very personal with no right or wrong answer. Some of the smart remarks here are totally uncalled for. Later in life I got to teach school and interact with thousands of kids. When a student told me I was the only one who ever gave him any attention, I felt fulfilled. While volunteering in a second-grade classroom I had two little girls rush up to me while I was sitting, put their arms around me, and say "We're so glad you are here!" Those moments will live with me forever. If you are childless, find your way, and only your way.
Yeah! They wouldn't want to get a minority, like some Latino or something.
Your comment could have been worded differently to make it not sound so smart-mouthed concerning a difficult situation.
So you think it's reasonable to tell someone they shouldn't adopt because they might get a minority on an article written by a minority?
Btw, I'm adopted.
Got married at 37 and started to try to conceive right away. Did all of the tests, had surgery to remove endometriosis, and then to remove fibroids. No luck. Did 3 rounds of Clomid with IUI, no luck, then did two rounds of injectibles with IUI, no luck. Did not try IVF because a) we couldn't affort it and b) spend loads of money with a 8-12% chance of success? Don't think so. Four years later, adopted our daughter at birth. She is now 10 years old and the light of our lives (and quite the diva!). As as African-American woman, it was disheartening to hear that while we have a lower % of women with infertility, when it is diagnosed, we have to lower than average change of conceiving with fertility tx. I certainly sympathize with the author's plight, but consider adoption. Give a needy child a loving home. And think about this – what is more important – being pregnant or being a mother? Trust me, once they put that child in your arms, the love is just the same.
Thank you, Annette, for sharing your story. Your journey has been a difficult one, and I applaud you for embracing the place where you find yourself right now. Those of us who have lived with infertility understand the ebbs and flows of emotions, sometimes so unexpected, that come with not being able to conceive. Your willingness to serve as a infertility support group leader at your church and for RESOLVE tell me that you are a woman of substance, someone who is embracing life fully, with a heart full of compassion. May God's grace be abundantly available to you and your husband as you continue your journey.
It is sad to think that someone is going through the personal pain of examining themselves over and over again about having children. Very brave of her to share this by writing about it. I cannot imagine how it must be, to go through the rigorous regime of hormone shots, every day and what it does to your body. Driving to the doctors office, having all sorts of procedures done to you, going home going to work and doing all the normal things we all take for granted while all the time, this is at the back of your mind, this time? Maybe this time...and then doing it again and again. For the author to express this as only the despair of her particular community is doing a dis-service to all women who want to have a biological child and cannot. In amongst her 'amigas' I hope she includes women from Asia, Europe and anybody else who lives in the States and watches the "mommy' culture around them while denied being a part of them, for whatever reason. I wish her well and I hope she gets what she wants, regardless of age or time, haven't we all been in a place where no one seems to understand what you are going through?
One of us is infertile, as a result we have lost $40,000 in IVF and frozen embroyo transplants without success. The treatments, which last 3 months and exact a heavy physical toll with two or more shots a day, and devastating emotionally once the process fails, are enough to make us give up. We are looking at adoption now but that's not easy either and will be very expensive.
Surrogacy is another choice.
Expensive, but you have control over DNA and donor eggs.
Adoption can be difficult when you are over 40 in some States.
Well, fine... but what do their children say?
Since so many commenters are throwing around adoption like it is the answer to all the ills of an infertile couple, as an adoptee I have to weigh in.
I was adopted as a newborn in 1973. Standards were not as high then, more people could adopt without meeting a lot of critical criteria. Today, my adoptive parents would NOT have been allowed to adopt anyone. And that would have been a good thing...they couldn't even be trusted with pets. Now when someone wants to adopt, they have to be mentally stable and able to provide a good home. My biological mother was 17 at the time and was forcibly coerced into giving me up. That was far from unusual, many young women were thrown into maternity homes (which were often just 'baby mills') and told they MUST give up their child. They were not given a chance to raise it. Now, women considering giving up their child are given counseling and options where they can raise the child if they really want to. It's no longer a 'Well, you just had this baby, let's sign it off to someone, who cares if you have questions or concerns, or if you might like to help choose the adoptive parents.", which does make the process longer now. And again, I think this is a very good thing.
As for the comments about adopted children coming from inferior stock, being crazy, etc....I have seen quite a lot of 'normal' people produce children who are 'defective'. Just because you are 'nice people' doesn't mean any child you produce will be some example of genetic perfection. I know someone who had IVF in the 1990's for infertility and had a son after years of trying. He's a schizophrenic. They haven't yelled for their money back or sent him away because he's 'not what they wanted'. I know another 'perfect' family who could only produce children with a very serious genetic defect that claimed the lives of both their children. Biology can be one terrible crap shoot. My own adoptive parents had one biological child, she grew up to be a heroin addict. I, the adopted child, took care of her until her eventual death.
Good post. People say vile things without thinking or having any actual experience.
Agreed. Those who throw adoption around like it's the answer to infertility really have no idea.
IVF and adoption are both difficult and time-consuming processes. One very important difference is that the potential adopted child already exists and needs a home, whereas IVF produces another. I know that some people won't love a child as much if it doesn't share their genes, but (awful as it sounds) those people probably shouldn't be having children anyway. I have a lot of trouble understanding why people put themselves through very costly IVF treatments (and give up on children if they fail) when adoption processes exist.
It's not about the genes. Most people who eschew adoption either cannot afford it or are worried about what they're getting. When you adopt a child, you can't control any deficiencies, abuse, or genetic issues it might have gotten from its birth parents. Adoptive children often have unpleasant "surprises" for their parents in the form of special needs, some *very* difficult to deal with. It takes a special kind of person to adopt a child and deal with whatever is thrown their way; it doesn't take as much energy to raise your own child, since you know exactly what they've been through and what to expect. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be a parent, but it may mean that you'd be a wonderful parent to your own children but not as good a parent to someone else's child.
Annette, If friends n families are making you feel bad about yourself over this then what you call a toxic relationship.
With age, your cravings to have a child will become a lot less prominent and eventually should pass. Who said that motherhood is the best way to spend your life. Don't get into a trap of becoming an old mother by trying every possible reproductive technology trick. There are many negatives of having a child late in life. Most importantly, you will have a lot less time to focus on yourself and your health. Come the age of 50 and instead of enjoying your life and taking care of yourself, you will have a ten year old to attend to. Then at the age of 60, you will have to put him/her through college. This could really be a financial nightmare.
Let her be. If she wants a kid or just wants to finger herself and enjoy orgasms that way, it's her choice.
II'm 51, went through the infertility roller coaster for over ten years. Unfortunately, my ex-husband did not want to put forth the effort to adopt. The feelings might subside a little, but it never goes away. I've learned not to torture myself and accept the facts; but to have a child and help them grow into an adult, those dreams never go away...
My Godmother and Godfather couldn't have kids, they didn't adopt either. Instead they ran a 24 hr daycare service. Providing a good enviroment for kids that had parents that worked long hours. Many of those kids are grown and married and have kids of their own, but still send pictures and visit when they come back home. They took a very terrible situation and made it a very positive one. I know if something would have happened to my parents growing up me and my siblings would have been with a good set of people. My kids father and his siblings were all adopted, they to couldn't have kids. My current boyfriend was adopted as well. I have a friend who was told she could never have kids, lost three and after adopting two, found out she was pregnant with one and finally carried her to term. Another friend was told she would never have kids after fighting ovarian cancer, and she has two boys, both of which she refers to as her miracles. She had made the decision that she didn't want to have kids so that way she wouldn't be disappointed. Even though I have two kids, I have had numerous miscarriages, and they don't know what is causing them...so my own kids I consider miracles. It's hard, especially if you wanted kids as long as you can remember.
it's not about who's genes are better. it's about looking into your child's face and seeing the past and the future. i was infertile and in so much pain. i'm very lucky that the treatments worked and when i look into my sons little face i see my brother i see my grandmother i see my father in law i see my brother in law i see all the generations of my loving family. and i see the future of our family.
Something is mentally wrong with a woman who derives her self worth from the amount of kids she has. Today even a woman in coma can deliver twins as shown today on cnn. Annette is not in latin america anymore, there is no stigma, no shame, no failure, its all in her head. Get help
You are absolutely correct. What stigma? I've known I was infertile since i was 30 years old. Who cares? I can't believe this is a big deal to people. The last thing this planet needs is another human being.
Defining yourself by your breeding status is just medieval.
"minority women have less success than white women with fertility treatments."
I hate to break it to you girl, but you are white. Just because you have a Hispanic ethnicity does not make you any less white. Unless of course you identify yourself as a black, Asian, or native American Hispanic.
My point is that being Hispanic, you may be classified as a minority legally, but that has nothing to do with biology,
When I was a census worker I was surprise that HISPANIC was not a race, but it technically is not a race. They are just darker color Europeans. There are dark Italians, and Greek,s also.
If I wanted to have a kid (which I do not), my choice would be to ADOPT. There are so many children in this world who are desperate for loving parents and a nice, safe home. All these fertility treatments are a selfish waste of time and money. BTW – does anyone know what those fertility treatments might do to the patient? Our environment would certainly benefit from LESS human population... but everywhere I turn, I see another pregnant woman thinking only of how "wonderful" it would be to have a child of her her own. How about thinking of the rest of us?
I've been there, and I tell you that the reason it is so easy to say you would adopt is that you aren't really faced with the choice. Most people want to become parents in part to continue their own family line. If they just wanted to help children they would be teachers or social workers and wouldn't bother with the expense and pain of child bearing. Adopting children carries enormous risks: parents who may fight for custody, problems like fetal alcohol syndrome, and unknown health histories that may result in heartbreak. Just accept that you can't understand the issue from your perspective of not wanting kids.
Thank you, Sandy, for saving me the time of writing that. The world revolves around people wanting to have biological kids – there is nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with not wanting to adopt (& it is too expensive for many people). Someone who is not faced with infertility when they want a family isn't qualified to offer an opinion.
Having children for the sole sake of "continuing your own family line," and not accepting any alternative, is a very narcissistic drive. You must understand that. If that's what you want, then go ahead and own up to it. But the fact that all children are not equal to you really is troubling. If you cannot love a child that does not share your genes then perhaps child-rearing is not something you should attempt.
My ex-husband was infertile. We realized what we really wanted was to be parents, and our gene pool wasn't special. Within five years of starting to "try" to have kids, I was the mother of four.
Infertility was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'd rather have these kids than any I could've created.
That made me smile.
Such a sweet post. Best wishes to you and your family.
I feel the same! I wasn't even 30 when my husband and I stopped trying to conceive, due to me having multiple miscarriages with no explanation. We very quickly realized that we simply wanted to be parents, that genes DON'T really matter. In 18 months from start to finish, we became parents to a biological brother and sister from Russia, now almost 5 and 3 years old. I can't imagine having any other kids! As for other "nasty surprises," well, do people really think that bio kids don't have issues? Like autism (my baby brother), physical disabilities, or just plain old behavioral issues? Come on. And, I like to joke that they are MUCH cuter than any kids I would have produced biologically. :)
A lot of people automatically offer adoption as an alternative, if not solution to infertility. I personally do not agree with that. As a parent of adoptied and biological children, how my children came into my life is very important, not only to me, but to them. It's not as easy as "oh, let me go down to the adoption agency and get me a baby." You expose every part of your life. The wait can be very long. The cost can be very expensive. The experience of raising an adopted child and a biological child can be very different. Adopted children will have unique and oftentimes difficult issues that biological children do not. Not all parents can or are willing to deal with these issues. I am an advocate for adoption, but it is not as simple as people on this board would make it. It certainly isn't the simple answer to infertility.
You are so right. People not personally faced with the issue have no idea about adoption (& their are those with personal agendas).
many of us are infertile because of other health issues, like cancer. i've tried to adopt, but i've had a recurrence. many adoption agencies won't even approve of you unless you are in remission for 5 years at least. IVF is often easier than adoption. if people are so worred about the population, then THEY should stop being hypocrites and stop having biological children. i find it so ridiculous that those who have popped out three kids without givng the environment a second thought, or the millions kids who need homes a second thought are so ready to shove that burden on those facing infertility.
The Catholic Church doesn't approve of assisted fertilization technologies, so if Latino/as are practicing Catholics they won't have that option. Fortunately for this author, she belongs to Saddleback. BTW, in some states adoption may not be an option if the parents have medical conditions that will shorten their lifespan....I had no sooner discovered our infertility when I was diagnosed with a degenerative condition that apparently precludes adoption in my state.
As a childless man by choice...the moment a couple or single woman is willing to admit that their choice to have a child and not adopt or foster care for an existing child is a selfish act is the moment I can respect them for their honesty.
I found the Article interesting, informing & touching. I am astounded by the smug comments from those who insist they they are their own person, and therefore not subject to the impact of culture or family. How self righteous and naive! Whether we like it or not, we are affected by our histories...often unconsciously. I also surprised by wise ass adolescent reactions, the kind of reactions you see when a teenager is nervous & doesn't know how to respond to something powerful and moving.
You're welcome. I'd suggest not taking yourself too seriously, you'll live longer.
I just chucked a tennis ball at my boss. True story.
Let's get drunk and sc rew.
I'd knock that sna tch up in a minute. Watch me.
Sorry dude, she doesn't want to have a short bus kid.
The way she includes Spanish buzzwords (*mami* *amigas* *mujer*) make the article sound like she was trying to convince the reader that she really is an authentic Latina. "I do speak Spanish, I swear I really do! Here are some elementary vocab words to prove it!" :/
It would seem the fertility of "latinas" whatever that made up name implies...is doing just fine. Hispanic women birth children at 2 1/2 the rate of other races. So if it is indeed a cultural problem...fix it
Why, because jon says so? Jon says do this, jon says do this, do that. Wait, jon didn't say so...
I don't get how being infertile is that big of a deal, I am infertile(well sterile) due to a hereditary gene that hits one woman in my family ever 4 generations or so. My mom was supposed to have it, but I got it instead. I have never felt less than others or been made to feel that way, being mentally and biologically sterile helps I might add. I don't get why infertility is such a big deal, I mean she mentioned having siblings well since they have kids the family will continue. And if she wants to be a mom so bad, she can adopt(which is what I will do IF I decide to be a mom) there are thousands of kids who need homes out there.
She can adopt and be a "mami" even if the kids are not biologically hers, she can still be a mom.
Point=Infertility does not mean you can't be a mom or anything is wrong with you, just means you can't reproduce but you can still adopt.
Adoption is expensive, difficult, invasive &, unless you are prepared for special needs children, there aren't a lot of healthy American babies up for grabs. International adoptions are very expensive & full of red tape. In the USA it is preferred that races adopt from the same race for cultural reasons – if you are white there are very few available babies. Whites may be able to adopt children of mixed race but if you are white & want to adopt an African-American baby, an African-American family will be 1st choice. It's complicated...
The fact you mention your family over and over and your culture vs your husband as the reason for the children, is not good to be honest. You should want kids 100% for yourself and your husband, everything else is just noise. BTW I'm part Latina and have been happily married for nearly 20 years, no kids. We chose that route and are very happy. It's not the end of the world not having kids, but having an amazing person to share a life with can be the greatest thing. Good luck.
also, you are a gorgeous couple.
"As a Latina, the inability to get pregnant is the most overwhelming sense of failure. The perception is that something is wrong with you as a mujer. In a culture that prides itself on the importance of family, I was underperforming."
Huh? Notions of cultural superiority now have to enter into the pain suffered by every couple who encounter fertility issues? Other cultures don't value the importance of family? This sounds disrespectful and dismissive.
Notions of cultural superiority? In your head, JJ, in your head...
What the world doesn't need more of is ignorant people! I am a minority in this country too (not Latino) but through my own struggles I have grown a great deal of admiration for Latin community.
I am a single 40 year old Latina woman and I refuse to allow others judgements (which may or may not be negative) to define me. I am lucky, my parents have NEVER made me feel inferior or "less than" because I have not fulfilled my "duties" of being a wife and mother. What is most important to me is being able to take care of myself financially and be the best person I can be whether that means being single, childless or not. Most of my friends who have had children are now divorced. Does that make them unsuccessful "failures"? If you believe that is the case than that is your judgment. If they don't feel that way, than they are not. It is up to ourselves to allow other's perceptions to define us. As individuals, we have the power to define ourselves and the power to NOT let others peoples judgments define us.
My soul sister has a supposed infertility issue as well, she finally broke down and told me how she feels and she explained everything you mentioned. She didnt know but I have been hurting with her, she didnt have to tell me, I already knew because I am that close to her. She is greek and black and her husband is white, so for the ignorant people below her multicultral/racial baby wont be an added problem to an overpopulation. UGH!
I commend you for doing what strong educated women do best, and that is to spread the word of wisdom. I am overly abnormally over fertile and I still empathize with you. This is a problem in your life that we all go through "a problem" meaning God throws a diverse amount of life struggles at us. The ignorants below all have an issue that has effected them just as deeply as yours. So in other words, read the comments and laugh and be glad that your mother raised such a bright young women who knows better!!!!! Keep your head up!
It's sad that she didn't even once mention adoption in this article..there are plenty of children in our country and throughout the world who need a good, loving home, including many children of Latin American origin. What a shame. I guess if she is unable to appreciate the joy an adopted child would bring into her life, then maybe she shouldn't adopt after all.
SHE ISNT TALKING ABOUT ADOPTION BECAUSE THIS IS AN ARTICLE ABOUT HER INFERTILITY NOT HER INABILITY TO BE A CHILDS GAURDIAN. IS NO ONE BEING OPEN MINDED AND READING THIS ARTICLE AS A HUMAN, OR IS THIS THE ONLY OPTION TO CRITICISE AND DIGRESS.
Yes, it's an article about infertility. But it's also an article about wanting to be a mother and the cultural pressure to be one. What's wrong with adoption? Or even just becoming foster parents? There are plennnnnnnnnty of children out there that need a good home. Conceiving and giving birth to a baby doesn't make you a parent. What you do after the child is in your home does.
Ok, so now she has to adopt vs. having her own because you folks say so? Who the hell are YOU to weigh in on what a woman wants to do with such an important aspect of her life? What would you think of someone who criticized you for not settling on a matter of such great importance to you? Maybe you should hear what her husband has to say about your "opinions".
I commend you for sharing such a personal struggle and for articulating the cultural, societal, and familial expectations that trigger the sense of failure. Your strength is not a question and your words will only serve to validate the sense of failure or disappointment that others are feeling or have felt. You do not need to justify your choices or desires to anyone...thank you for being a voice for others.
The only reason you feel like a failure is because you made yourself into one. YOU are the one wanting defining your success as a woman. YOU are the one calling yourself a failure. Are you in a happy, successful marriage? That's not failure. Do you have a good, steady job that you like? That's not failure. Do you have a family that loves and supports you? That's not failure.
I'm Hispanic, too. I'm most likely never going to have children because of the same problems you have. But I'm not letting it dictate my abilities as a "woman". My worth is based on me. The individual with hopes, dreams, and the drive to accomplish things. My worth is not my uterus, and it's sad that you see yourself as such.
Don't let a bunch of old women dictate your happiness. The only person who can do that is you.
"Research is needed to solve this problem, at a time when America's Latina population is growing so quickly."
Err...why? As you stated yourself, the population is growing just fine without you. Too fine, in my opnion, but that's another issue.
Robin apparently doesn't understand the difference between immigration and gestation. Look it up.
I GUESS YOUR A CHRISTIAN TOO HUH? LOL
Proudwoman – Please turn off the cap lock...a proud woman like yourself does not need to yell.
So right Robin, your opinion on the matter is another issue entirely, perhaps one you could spare us the strain of suffering.
I am not really interested in ethno-centric "angst." Many people, of whom I am one, have had infertility problems, and a lot more discussion is needed in general, about the lack of support, communication and education from the medical community, support from families of all ethnicities, etc. If your ethnic background is so terrible, why don't you try to be more American, and quit identifying yourself with all the "tias, mamis" etc. And I find it extremely offensive for you to say that "mamihood" is different and exclusive from "just" being a mother!! If non-hispanics were critical of YOUR culture in that way, and expressed such exclusivity, you would be outraged. Either blend in, or go back to your home country. Please don't keep telling us how different, and separate and wonderful you are. This is supposed to be America.
I am also upset about the negative comments. Yes she mentions being Latino, but I think that is because it is her personal story and the connection between the issue she is dealt with and her culture. As a Caucasian, I have also had to deal with this. And have also had to deal with the constant questions from others, when are you having kids. Like it is required. I thank her for sharing as it helps me and others even more to come to terms with this. And to person who thinks she is selfish for wanting her own child, just doesn't get it. There is something about the process that those of us who can't feel we are missing out on. Which is one more issue to learn to come to terms with.
It saddens me that there is any negative feedback about this blog. I commend her for or discussing this issue of cultural norms and her personal challenge with one in particular. It doesnt matter if anyone agrees with her perspective or not, as her journey and experience is her own and was worth sharing. As a woman struggling with my own fertility issues, I can identify with nights of tears and feeling inadequate in some way. Along with the struggle comes a certain acceptance of reality, and becoming more infromed of what my choices are.
I will never get the fascination with "having your own children." A child is a child and still needs/wants a loving parent to take care of them. Someone slap some sense into these women!!!!!
Amen! The idea that "your" genes are better than anyone else's is just appalling. This is how racism happens. You want the experience of being pregnant just once in your life? Sure! Just like I want the experience of having a hemeroidectomy, frontal lobotomy, and heart transplant just once in my life. NOT! Women, get out from under the brainwash rock and realize that the "experience" of fertility is just so pathetically meaningless. Now go out there and make a difference in this world: not by breeding, but by contributing, & being helpful to others.
Wow! you are comparing caring your own child with a lobotomy....perhaps you have already had one.
I understand your sentiment that adoption or other parenting is incredibly important and fulfilling. But learning you cannot or may not carry your own children is devastating. The fact that you fail to understand that shows you lack empathy. Perhaps the surgery you underwent took that away from you.
@ Patricia – I understand that fertility can be devastating, but I don't understand why you would wallow in self-pity over it when (unlike with many other devastating things), there is a reasonable alternative (adoption).
It can be hard to qualify for adoption. When I was in my 30s, a few years after I married and first tried to have children, I went to an adoption agency and they turned me away because I had yet not exhausted all the my options for fertility treatment. The agency would not consider a couple who still had any chance of having a child on their own. (This was about 15 years ago; policies may have changed since then.) When I cam back after running out of fertility treatment options, my husband and I found out we were now considered too old and unhealthy to adopt.
There are options for adopting older children who have been in the foster care system, and I have not ruled out adopting an older child, but children who have been through the foster care system often have intense emotional needs. Kids from the foster care system often do better with experienced parents, not first-time parents.
Good comment, Latin. You are right. There are many kids who need a good home. Instead of complaining about infertility, adopt a child.
I adopted a little Latina. Cute as a button. Adoption was a surprisingly difficult path but it worked out OK. Yet I remain puzzled by the reaction of so many who seem dismissive of adoption because the child somehow isn't my 'real' child.
Linda Posted on I found this entire craft fail thing quite amisung since I crochet and do crafts myself, but this dog outfit takes the cake and has my side aching due to laughter. It's nice to see that I'm not the only one who makes mistakes.
Her family sounds like a nightmare.
Oh, please, spare us the violins, chica. You think you deserve more sympathy than a non-Latina because you aren't churning out the babies like your sisters? Aren't you feeding a stereotype there, babe? I was unable to have children, much to my despair. But that's life. I'm not going to whine and complain because I'm not as fertile as all those other Irish Catholics. How arrogant of you! ho offensive! What the heck is happening to CNN that they run this rubbish?
I agree, though less vehemntly. But what is this constant mention of Latinos, Hispanics, Chicanos being more family -oriented than other ethnicities?? This is a farce. I know just as many dysfunctional people in these families where they don't get along as any other group, and some wonderful tight European, African and Asian background families who are amazingly family-oriented. If this is about pressure to have lots of kids, well how many people of this ethnic group can shine a light on mostly-Anglo Mormons, and the Amish too? And is this something to celebrate when you figure in the low education and poverty levels that often accompany large families? Please CNN- get this family-oriented schtick out of your head. Family-oriented is multi-dimensional and a close small family of any color, size etc is the best orientation yet!!
I'm tired of hearing about assorted cultures, not just Latino but also Italian, being more "family oriented". EVERY background is family oriented, though some cultures consider their female family members to be property moreso than others.
I sympathize with the author, but it comes across as her saying HER pain is worse because she's Latina. Try being infertile when you're an only child, or the only sibling in a family with no kids – there are countless scenarios, and no one's pain is worse.
I would honestly hope that the people who are writing the cruel comments about "its nature" and that people shouldnt have kids, dont have children of their own. I commend the author for coming out and sharing her story. I am also the daughter of a Cuban immigrant mother and I suffer from infertility. I feel that infertility affects everyone in the same way, not just us Latina's. I have never felt the "Latina" pressure to have children, I am more hurt by my inability to conceive without medical help. It is a very painful and lonely journey.
Saying things like "adoption is a great option" or "it wasnt meant to be" , "do you want my kids?" , or you are "still young" or "too old" can be very insensitive to say to anyone that is suffering from infertility. Everyone has a right to want and have children of their own. Not all Latina's should not be judged based on the fact that some of them produce children like rabbits. Some of us only want be be blessed with a child, at least just one.
Thank you for sharing your story. I can only imagine the heartbreak you have experienced.
No. I sympathize with the author, but to suggest that someone "has the right" to something that has proven physically impossible is to misuse the phrase. We aren't given cards when we hit puberty that say, "Redeem for one birth, guaranteed live and of your body". It isn't a right to have so much as a right to want and a right to try. You no more "have the right" (as if society or the government could guarantee it!) to have a child than I "have the right" to grow to a specified height or for my hair and eyes to naturally be a given color.
Amazing that this day and age the ignorance is in abundance. You don't know if she has looked into adoption or what other outlets she has researched throughout her journey. People are so quick to insult and be angry in these blogs and it sickens me to see the lack of hope and empathy that we have for others that struggle in their personal quests. I think it is a touching account of a PERSONAL story that she has shared with all of us today/ She is brave to open herself like this and shame on those of you that can't see that.
Good luck in your quest to add to your family and to continue to make the Latina families strong!
How many times did you say the word 'Latino'? Does infertility really have something to do with being a certain race? It is devastating in EVERY race and ethnic background not just hispanic. Very ignorant on the author's part.
Fertility is over rated and over used ....get a grip.
To each their own some women wants kids, some don't. I'm glad I don't have any children. I see what my sisters and friends go through! I do have nieces and nephews I spend time with but I can always send them home! LOL! I'm not selfish this is my choice. No thanks!
Count your blessings said it best. There are already too many people in this country. How about you adopt a child? Because obviously, having a baby was not your "god given right." I'm so sick of this mommy culture where everyones child is special and women need to have babies to feel complete. Its so sad.
Some of these remarks are so callous and insensitive. Walk in her shoes will you? I have a sister who had infertility problems and chose to uundergo expensive procedures and was fortunate to have a child at the age of 40. Does she think it was worth it? You bet she does. On the other hand, my husband has a distant cousin who opted adoption and she is very happy with her choice. There are many children who deserve a loving family. No matter the background or culture there are many women out there with this problem and we all need to be compassionate with one another.
Seeing the line: "Research is needed to solve this problem, at a time when America's Latina population is growing so quickly." is such an irony! If there are too many Latinos arlready, especially illegals here in the US, why do we want more? If you can't adopt then get foster children! I really don't understand this obsession women have about reproducing themselves. Who says your offspring are any better than anyone elses? I am childless and very glad to be! Your Catholic Latino heritage has been feeding you lies all these years. Get over it!
First, this woman looks very white to me, she is not a minority. Hispanic, or Latina/Latino are not a race, so stop it with the monority talk. And, having children is very important to all cultures and woman, again, stop it with "it's a culture that prides itself on the importance of family." I've never meet a person, of any race or culture who's family wasn't important to them, that comment is ignorant and insulting.
i cannot believe the ignorance of that sentence about "her being too white to be hispanic."
So you have to be black, indian, or Asian to be considered a minority? I agree with the other reply. IGNORANT!
Bob apparently you haven't done your study with your color comment. That's so funny. Latinos and Hispanics are not all in the same completions. Just look around you. Additionally she is not saying that Latinos are the only race who have the love of family but as part of their culture there is a lot of pressure from the family on matters such as getting married and having kids (similar so some other cultures). She is simply sharing her story and the challenges she is facing AS a Latino woman and against all of its cultural pressure. This is not a comparison to other cultures. So instead of talking like you are in highschool get the point of the story without being so judgmental.
My wife and I struggled with infertility for five years. We are not Latino, by the way. It is not just a Latino problem. We were finally successful after two IVF attempts (and a second mortgage on the house) and now have a set of 10 year old twins (boy and girl). Both adoption and IVF are very expensive. And, adoption is a very drawn out timely process that could take years. Our next choice would have been to adopt, had the IVF not been successful. We wanted to try IVF once more so that we would have no regrets before attempting to adopt, and it worked. Also, there is nothing wrong with a woman wanting to give birth to her own child.
Annette, my heart aches for you.
No such thing as infertile Latina...come to California, you'll see.
I can't believe these comments... I am also a Latina who has suffered with infertility. Annette, you said it perfectly. It's almost as if you're not "Latina" enough if you're not a mother. Mamihood is different then Mommyhood, it's a culture. It's a connection to other Mamis. After 5 failed IUI's and years of treatments, we did adopt from the Marshall Island's but the infertility stigma stays with you forever. Now, in the eyes of tias, abuelas, & primas, I'm even more of an outsider because I adopted, again not a cultural norm. We are educating the older generation and creating a new acceptance in this generation. I applaud you Annette for speaking up about such a taboo topic. Happy Infertility Awareness Week to you Amiga!
Im glad you chose to adopt. If family members aren't supportive, I would seriously say screw them. I hope more people, specifically Latinas, adopt.
if she was atheist this wouldn't have happened
Please explain your reasoning.
I live in southern california and when i see a mexican woman parading her children ages 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 through the supermarket while they run wild and play with all the food, i know that fertility is not a problem. use condoms please.
Wow, you're an idiot. Even though I think you're pretty insensitive, I do agree that the people who definitely should not procreate need to practice better conception-control but as one of the millions of "unheard voices of infertility", I am blown away at how insensitive you are being to the writer of this article. She has a point. How many times have you heard people joke about a Hispanic person having several kids that are really close in age? As a born-and-raised Catholic myself, I have heard many times that a true good Catholic has at least three or four kids. I am in my early 40s and have never been pregnant. Just so you know and not that it matters at all, I am a very pale Caucasian even though I am of Italian descent.
Dont have kids thats the biggest problem on this planet today,,
OVERPOPULATION less people less problems
Adopt there are some great kids already born that need your love and support.
sad to say, but i think the growing infertility problem is natures way of population control. as a woman who may be experiencing infertility as well. it is a very sad thought. but it is nature.
I hope you are right. Less children, less problems! We need more infertility!
Dear Sad Face, I think you are mistaken. While fertility has a window of opportunity based on age, we often don't know the cause of infertility and have been convinced by social norms, religion, media, etc. that it is something that needs to be accepted. We don't accept it when other organs don't function. We don't accept it when someone has cancer caused by toxins. These are all things that could be "natural." All kinds of natural uncontrollable things may result in infertility. In every other context, we fight these things with medical treatments if at all possible and only accept the outcome when no other choice remains. Women's health issues are first and foremost health issues. Women should not be ashamed of medical issues and should be permitted to seek help and discuss these issues without shame.
Kelley Posted on Too Cute Crochet For Babies and Toddlers is the book. It's a good one small projects that you can coetlmpe in a day or two (or three).The patterns are mostly cutesy hats for babes (a strawberry hat, an acorn hat, an elf hat with a beard chin strap).
Amen, Tyler, the Chinese have the right idea. Limit to one per couple and that's it. Just think about all the babies dying in 3rd world countries that have no food, no medical help, and no hope. Natures way of population control.
Amen KR. As a latina, correction hispanic woman, we have this stigma that we are fertile lil bunnies and the population numbers arn't contradicting that belief. But, that is not necessarily a good thing, where is the diversity then? I like my Irish neighbors, my English churchmates and my czech friends. Mommyhood, not Mamihood(wth?) is a priviledge, not a right. Adopt, foster, be more involved in your sibling's kids lives. She also started too late. Why are you having a first kid at 40 or beyond. I know somebody that had their first kid at 50...that's not logical, that is egotistical. Nobody is that special that they have to be a mommy, I'm not, your not, in fact most of us arn't.
If you read, she didn't start trying for her first kid at 40. She has been infertile for 13 years so by medical definition she has been trying for 14 years so she would have been 26.
Whats wrong with adoption??? Why dont you want to give a gift of family to a lonely child from foster home? All that money that you wasted on IVF, could have gone to make a child happy.
That is a real good question.
I have to agree with this.
because adoption does not help us spread our genes
Why do you need to spread your genes. A baby that is selected and not expected gives a child who may not have the same opportunity to live a wonderful life with a wonderful family.
This spreading genes is total hogwash. Your genes are so superior that you can't naturally have a child??? Help an actual child that is here by adopting and giving a child a chance at a good life.
truther: Your genes are no better than anyone else's. And don't pretend they are, that is extremely prejudiced. There's nothing at all special about any of us, regardless of color or culture.
Doesn't the old testament say something about an adopted child is more special than a natural child because it is chosen? I agree with Latin Woman from America, go to Mexico or Costa Rica and get one. Worked out for Moses didn't it?
Well, my genes are better than almost every other poster on this board, so I agree.
Adoption can often times be more expensive then IVF. Adopting is not an easy option or an easy road to go down. Adoption is great but it isn't an option of everyone and there is nothing wrong with a woman to want to experience pregnancy or for a couple to want a child that is biologically their own.
Adoption is a great option, but can cost $20-40k, and requires invasive testing and approval of psychological, tax/financial situations, and interviews. Some IVFs and IUI can cost $5k
SHE'S FROM CUBA. She could easily go to any Central / South American country and adopted with spending "$20-40k, invasive testing..."
Ugh...as much as I hate to say it...with adopted kids, you don't know what your getting into. When you are the birth parent, you know your quirks and your mate's quirks, the stuff that makes you both tick. These can be seen in your child and you understand them and why they do certain things. With adopted kids, you just don't know if the mother or father was crazy, mentally defect, a drug addict or just plain messed up in the head. These things could develop in that adopted child. There is a couple from my church and they adopted a girl who is a total nightmare and drowned her 600 dollar yorkie pup in a bathtub. They just cannot understand her, at the same time I wonder where they were when she was drowning their puppy...but still, she did and she knew it was suffering, yet she did nothing to take it out of the bathtub that she put it in. It was so small, she could have easily gotten it out. Shes beyond tempermental and is incredibly clingy. After the years they have had he, they cannot get her under control. They are such good people but she is just out of control.
This is not a sound argument. Your biological kids could have unforeseen issues and genetic defects whether physical or psychological too. It really does boil down to thinking your own genes are better or the need to reproduce yourself for ego purposes. I wish people would at least be honest about that.
Nothing is wrong with adoption, except the cost! IVF is covered by most insurances. If you know otherwise, point me in that direction.
Also, this is a personal INFERTILITY story. Adoption is NOT about the inability of a woman (or man) to conceive, but rather an avenue to grow a family. An entirely different ball game.
To whoever said IVF is covered my most insurance, what planet are you from? In most states IVF is not covered under most insurance plans. Very few employers cover this. My sister works for the state government and her insurance is great but it did not cover any infertility treatments, and only a small % of the meds needed for IVF. Luckily my sister appears to now be pregnant after her 3rd IUI but IVF was the next step if this did not take. She is almost 40.
Nothing is "wrong" with adoption. What is "wrong" is the expectation that everyone MUST get to be a parent. When you are infertile (like me), you have three options (1) surrogate mother, (2) adoption, (3) accept being childless. My husband and I chose option 3. My husband and I researched adoption and found private adoption to be extremely expensive (let's face it...you're BUYING a child) and adopting through social services was scary as h*ll. My husband was terrified that someone would take the child from us after we'd had it for a year. Anyway...my point is, yes..adoption is a fabulous answer for some couples. But, if the couple should chose to remain childless, that should be respected too. If not, we are being just as insensitive to them as the people who expect every woman to be able to give birth. (I do say prayers for everyone who adopt. It's a wonderful thing).
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