In a culture where unfettered and spectacular fecundity was for so very long considered an essential expression of virility and something approaching civic and religious obligation a childless couple were often regarded in a peculiar, almost pitying light.
What for many couples was a defining disappointment became something even more hurtful when the unsought absence of children was used to pigeon hole them in a society that very often seemed awash with children. What a pity it is then that some of these uncomprehending attitudes survive today.
Couples often exhausted emotionally and financially by their efforts to use science to conceive a child can feel isolated and misunderstood. That so much of this hurt is unintended, social collateral damage if you will, just makes a difficult situation even more frustrating. These issues, this unintended cruelty, will be discussed at tomorrow’s National Infertility Support and Information Group annual conference.
Great progress has been made on many social and cultural issues in Ireland over recent decades and it is unimaginable that the hurt felt by those couples unable to become parents without adopting a child is intentional. As is nearly always the case in these situations some sensitivity and thoughtful awareness are all that is needed to show support and care for people struggling to realise the most natural ambition.
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