I may be a secret hippie at heart.
I use many ‘natural’ products. I’ve made my own laundry soap, shampoo and conditioner. I don’t shave my legs nearly as much as is appropriate – and not at all in winter (does it still count as winter?). I use reusable feminine products. I avoid buying unnecessarily packaged food. I prefer the idea of using less over buying more. I want to knit my own everything. I dream of having a garden and a compost when we ever have a house together again. I’m learning more about the truth behind what foods I eat and I’m trying to change my decisions daily (although old cravings die very, very hard). I’m not over the top on this by any means and I try not to talk about these things, but I do try to make those small changes if its possible and more importantly, I enjoy doing these things. I like to feel as self-sufficient as possible.
As a Catholic, I think natural law is the coolest thing ever. As should be obvious by now, I am a big proponent of naturally spacing children and avoiding hormones to control healthy, naturally occurring reproductive processes. I love the idea of having a natural birth and breastfeeding. You know, doing what your body is supposed to do and feeding your child as it would happen, naturally.
Are you sick of that word yet?
Because the problem is I’m staring down the barrel of an ideological crisis. I’m realizing what I would really want more than anything is a natural conception.
And if that’s the most important thing for me, then at this rate it may mean never conceiving at all.
Yes, if I do ever conceive it will be the ‘old-fashioned’ way with an act between my husband and I (as a Catholic, what I consider ‘natural’ and ‘moral’ are separate ideas – the latter being a non-negotiable, the former being, well, what I’m trying to figure out) but ideally I’d want it even more natural than that. I’d love nothing more than the truly natural ‘Hey look honey we didn’t abstain this month and weren’t pumped full of fertility drugs and no doctor was monitoring my blood and look just what happened naturally, we’re pregnant!”
Oh, how hard it is to let go of that dream.
Equally hard is accepting that while for some couples, it is as simple as that, for others it isn’t.
I realize that so many of you are so far beyond this that you’re probably rolling your eyes right now and thinking “Natural or not, I just want a conception. Period!” Maybe there are others saying “Maybe if it doesn’t come naturally, you’re just not meant to have children.”
I’m stuck somewhere in the middle.
I imagine this is similar to those women trying to decide what matters to them in the delivery room. There’s so much thought and preparation that goes into how to deliver a baby and its a very important decision. Keyword: decision. It appears it is a choice.
I know that not all women want to have a natural birth. That is their decision. Some women do and they fight tooth and nail to get it. More power to them. I know that many women do want one and end up for one reason or another (usually life threatening) having medical reasons and needing help either through pain medication or a cesarean. Other women get pushed into it by their doctors for less serious reasons. I’ve talked to several friends who associate such trauma with birth precisely because when it came down to it, they had no choice in the matter. What happened had to happen because lives were at risk.
At the end of the day you’ll say “All that matters is that the baby is healthy” anyway, right?
If I thought I was that woman who would fight for a natural birth, doesn’t that mean I’m that woman who would fight for a natural conception?
I don’t know if ‘deciding’ on a natural conception is the same because it does not seem to be an even choice. It’s not that I have a fair choice between having a ‘natural’ or an ‘aided’ (is that the opposite?) conception in the first place. That decision seems to be taken away from me already. The choice is rather between, ‘aided’ or potentially, none and really, let’s admit that that’s not even a choice I get to make either since pursuing fertility treatments doesn’t guarantee anything. But the choice I do get to make is if I go down that path at all. It is a choice to wait indefinitely.
And it’s not really a life or death situation, so I don’t know if it’s the same ‘non-choice’ that a woman in a life threatening situation in the delivery room has. Unless we consider it as a life or death situation for our future biological non-existent children (which I don’t believe in a pre-existence so, I can’t). Or the life or death of my biological motherhood which at the end of the day isn’t the death of an actual person – I am still alive, it’s just the death of an idea or a dream (as painful as it is).
I don’t write this to upset people but because I’m truly trying to figure out why I have this attachment to the “natural”. I know that regardless of my moral beliefs, it would be impossible to allow myself to do IUI or IVF on this idea alone: that we were being stripped of such a naturally occurring process of our love literally making a baby. I think many fertile couples take for granted how spectacular that is. I couldn’t and wouldn’t let anyone take away from me that most intimate detail of the miracle of conception even if I had no religious guidance on the matter.
Ultimately, infertility in most cases is what is unnatural. I guess I say most cases because I feel like in my case, what has given all illusions to be unexplained infertility, this just may very well be our natural state. If you’re using modern medicine to help you conceive and overcome a disease or a known problem, then that would be restoring health. But if all those processes are already happening and you just can’t conceive? I don’t know what I would do next. Could I just give up and accept that? If I decide that natural conception isn’t important, well then natural birth or breastfeeding wouldn’t be either. Can I have it both ways? I know despite my efforts, there are many things I do in my life that aren’t natural so I find it curious that I seem to have drawn the rules at reproduction.
So this is my battle with the “natural”. It’s horribly inconvenient given my situation.
But I don’t know if I can bring myself to believe that convenience is what matters.