Lately--and I don't know if it's because I'm infertile or this is actually happening--it seems as if society and the media are very specific about the meaning of family. You get married, you buy a home, and then you start a family. But wait, weren't you a family before?
We all know that infertility makes us feel like less of a man or a woman. If you are a woman and you never produce children, you are barren. When you are older, you are a spinster. The crazy cat or dog lady. The mean old witch who yells at the neighborhood children to "get out of the flower bed" because, really, that's all you have left. If you are a man and you never father children, you will have no one to pass your genes onto. Your last name will not live on, at least not through your own doing.
But infertility also makes you feel like less of a family. The rules set forth by society draw a clear line: If you are childless, you are likely never going to be called a family. In order to complete that circle, you need to be a married man and woman who have procreated to create their own child.
You never see commercials referring to see child-free couples as a family. Or gay and lesbian couples. Or couples who try for years to have a baby and who end up adopting after several failed IVF cycles. These are not happy or "normal" stories, therefore they aren't marketable to the general public. Yet, these people live underneath the same roof. They share love, happiness, money, memories, and an everlasting bond.
What makes them so different?
What makes us so different?