What would marriage really mean if what we really meant was "so long as we both have children together"?
There's this idea out there that the purpose of marriage is procreation, and while it's certainly nothing new, marriage equality always brings it up, it seems. This is pretty shitty for a lot of reasons. To be frank, it's demeaning to all marriages to whittle down the essence of marriage to the procurement of progeny. It is demeaning to those who cannot procreate. It is demeaning to those who choose not to procreate. It is demeaning to those who have children, because does that mean that before your children, your marriage was meaningless? It cheapens everything to reduce marriage to the binary of has children/does not have children = valuable/not valuable, worthy of merit/not worthy of merit. (The same can be said of any system of merit when it comes to marriage, just to be clear that I'm not trying to brush aside the true arguments being made by some.)
But these things have all been hashed out many many times before by better people than I, surely. I'm certainly not alone in voicing hurt at the idea that anyone's marriage should be counted as less-than or meaningless depending on whether procreating has happened, or any random life happening that does not happen for everyone and never has. To reduce the legitimacy of a marriage to factors like that is just missing the entire point.
So in light of the recent negativity, I wanted to open up the floor for a follow-up post that I've been mulling about lately anyway, that being: a post about the "good" (such as it can be, sometimes) that has happened in your life because of infertility. Taking this further, it could also be the good that has happened with your partnership. Has it added something to your partnership? I'm not saying sugar-coat it; I don't expect infertility has turned anyone's life into a magical sprinkle-filled sundae of delights (although if it has, kudos, and please share and don't feel like I'm dismissing your experience). Simply, Has infertility added some unexpected meaning to your life? To your partnership? I want to hear about it, either in the comments or if you'd prefer, you can shoot me an email: hayley.deroche at gmail.com -- I'm still working on getting back in the saddle with Alt-IF: Alternative Infertility (moving, being apart from Patrick, and starting a new job derailed me for a long time with that project), so I may decide to copy-post it over there as well if I get a few submissions.
I want to focus on the ways in which our lives and partnerships and marriages are not less-than because they aren't following the standard (an age-old hand-raising, I know). I want to focus on the good. Hitting the two-year mark of ye olde infertility road, I've been kind of a downer lately, so I'm trying to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, rather than raging against people who say my marriage and your marriage and your parterships are less than for any reason. (But for this blog, particularly infertility, since that's my fun schtick these days. I know it's hardly the real matter at hand regarding marriage equality, but it comes up all the damn time, and I'd like to add some positives to the universe rather than more negativity about a childless marriage.)
(PS. Carl & Ellie forever.)