Absolutely nothing.

I have been quietly protesting the social rules of pregnancy and I’m now ready to become an activist. Let
those who agree join me in a new movement. Be it resolved that:

1. A woman may speak about “trying” without pressure to follow up the discussion.

This includes, but not limited to, saying she and her partner plan for children “next year” for many years
following her wedding or other demonstrable commitment to a partner. It does not allow for those
once interested to suddenly stop asking about plans for children. Doing this causes brief relief and a
glimmer of respect that is soon to be replaced by the feeling that she has been given up on and is
assumed to be defective. She, however, may express the desire to stop the discussion. This will be
respected.

2. A woman may disclose pregnancies before 12 weeks.

This includes, but is not limited to her partner. She is not required to surprise her partner with the
news. Her partner, however, is required to be aware of her cycle up to the point of her comfort. Male
partners will be expected to clean vomit and feces and, at times, blood from the baby you are planning
for. Knowing when your female partner is bleeding is an amazing part of the process and not something
to ignore. If blood truly makes you queasy it is recommended that you stop watching The Walking Dead
and playing God of War.

3. A woman may talk about her struggle without being subjected to unsolicited advice.

This is also known as venting. When a woman wants advice she will ask. She will probably ask her
doctor or a friend who is in a similar stage of life. If she is speaking to a person who has never tried to
become pregnant that person will refrain from giving advice, no matter how good the intentions are. A
hug and/or an acknowledgement of her pain are welcome.

4. A woman may talk about her struggle without uncomfortable silence.

Despite societal pressures to be quiet as well as the risk of unsolicited advice, if she speaks about her
struggle she has opened up in an extremely vulnerable way. Ignoring her will make her conflicted
alienation compound and she may feel her fear of being seen as a failure has been confirmed. Covers of
magazines on display at any grocery show we live in a culture that still values a woman’s looks and her
ability to bear children above all else. If you want her to receive a more balanced message of her worth,
make your feelings clear.

5. A woman may express any feelings without a reaction of shock.

This includes, but is not limited to, health professionals she is seeking help and support from. When a
woman cries in the fertility clinic office because she feels she cannot think clearly due to the emotion
and stress, the doctor and staff will work diligently and compassionately to clarify anything she needs to
be clarified. She will not have to insist for more information between her tears. She will also not be
forced to be in the same waiting room as successful couples with their two beautiful toddlers and one
more on the way.

If she discloses that continuing to take prenatal vitamins and folic acid each morning remind her of her
feelings of failure, her naturopath’s shadow student will not blurt “WHY?!” with mouth gaping. Feelings
are not based on logic or conscious rationalization. Feelings simply happen.

6. A woman will be aware of the common fertility struggles before she meets them first hand.

It should be made clear that, although contraception options are important tools to avoid pregnancy,
the logical counter to this line of thinking is not true. It is not often “easy” to become pregnant for
women. After 20 years of conscious effort to avoid pregnancy she will not likely get pregnant on the
first try, even if she knows all there is to know about ovulation and basal temperature. The threats and
sex education were there to make her aware of the chance of getting pregnant, not the promise.

7. A woman will not be made to feel that one single issue is causing her struggle.

She isn’t too fat. She isn’t too stressed. Medical professionals practice medicine; they do not know all
there is to know and the non‐medical professionals certainly do not either. When explanations are too
simple they steal away a woman’s complexity as a human and the complexity of her world. If weight or
stress is a factor, she cannot make those issues simply stop.

8. A woman will begin “trying” when she is ready, regardless of age.

She knows that waiting until age 35 and beyond can result in a struggle to become or stay pregnant.
The term “geriatric pregnancy” comes up in talk shows, magazines and discussion with friends. It
doesn’t come up quiet as often as the “tragedy” of teen pregnancy. Therefore, she is also allowed to be
annoyed that she would have been judged more harshly if she had been a teen mother, but at least she
would have had a child for her trouble. There is, clearly, no way to avoid judgement anyway.

9. A woman may speak about miscarriage and receive the same compassion as would normally be
expected for any other death.

She may also choose not to speak about this subject, or any of the others above, if she decides she does
not want to do so. She must, however, have the choice.

Say it again.

Listen to me.