Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Pill and its Discontents

 “I’ve got 44-year-olds who show up in my office after trying two months and say, ‘I don’t understand, my gynecologist told me I was fine,’” says [Dr. Jamie] Grifo. “Now, he didn’t say, ‘You’re going to be fertile forever.’ But they didn’t hear that part . . . And for these women, if IVF doesn’t work, it’s very hard to recover. They have to grieve and mourn and make a life. These women, the 44-year-olds, are the ones that struggle the most, because they are so angry. And they’re angry at one person, but they won’t admit it. They’re angry at themselves.”

While waiting for the hour-plus-late New York-Boston train, I went to the newsstand and bought the latest issue of New York Magazine for its fascinating cover article, "Waking Up from the Pill."  Although most readers here won't come to the same conclusions as its author, Vanessa Grigoriadis, most will agree with her that the Pill has greatly exacerbated female infertility and led to a great deal of heartbreak among women who delay childbearing in the interest of career ambitions and sexual freedom.  Even to a pro-sex feminist like Grigoriadis, the Pill has emerged as a tool to control rather than empower women, with disturbing consequences.

(Cross-posted at Vox Nova)


Dorian Speed said...

Wow - that is quite an article.

I was at the doctor's recently and was looking around the room at all the posters of ways to make yourself infertile - for a little while, or a lifetime. Very strange world we live in.

Peter and Nancy said...

That was one of the most honest articles I've ever read about the consequences for delaying fertility. If feminists believe women are truly smart enough to run their own lives, they must be willing to talk about topics like these -- even though it means being frank about women's desires to be mothers.

Enbrethiliel said...


I remember coming across an infertility blog by a woman who was so heartbroken at not being able to conceive that she felt resentful whenever she saw a mother dealing with a child in any way she didn't agree with--whether it was actual abuse or just parental discipline. And whenever she read the news and came across another story of an abused child, she railed at God for giving a baby to so many "bad" mothers and none to her, when she would have been so much better.

Of course, before she finally decided she was ready to be that model mother, she had been on the Pill for years. I really felt bad for her. There are decisions that aren't so easily reversed--if they are reversible at all.