Sunday, September 25, 2016

What is the TTC Community?

Now that the DSM 5 is out and selling like crazy, it’s time to think up some new diagnoses for the upcoming DSM 6.

As you know, mental health professionals use the diagnostic manual to look up codes for their patients’ mental illnesses. They write the codes on insurance forms so that the companies will pay for treatment.

Anyway, the DSM crew is always looking for new forms of mental illness, and I would like to recommend one. It comes from a letter that was sent to Ask Polly, New York Magazine’s seriously challenged advice columnist.

Today, for reasons of benevolence, I will not pass along any of Polly’s commentary. If you are Polly responds that she does not have the problem the letter writer presents. As you might know, Polly loves to write about herself... about something she thinks she knows.

Anyway, the letter writer brings our attention to what is called the TTC community. TTC means: trying to conceive. Conception is a blessing, Shakespeare told us, but for women who have waited to conceive, the process can be riddled with anxiety. It’s a modern condition, derived largely from the fact that modern well-educated women, for various reasons, have chosen to defer and delay childbearing.

A woman who, for reasons I do not quite understand, calls herself  TTC Lurker describes the syndrome well:

I have a question about pregnancy jealousy. I work for a company in the fertility field. In the interest of getting to know our customer base, I’ve become very involved in what they call the TTC (trying to conceive) community online. And as a recently married early-30-something who is almost-but-not-quite-yet about to start trying for a baby of my own, talking to women who are struggling to conceive all day really freaks me out. All the cycle tracking, temperature taking, peeing on sticks, anxious waiting, jealousy when you see someone else’s pregnancy announcement on Facebook …

For these women, it seems like time spent trying to get pregnant becomes its own phase of life. They form a community of support, have all kinds of inside jokes and acronyms. But even though it’s part of my job to help these women, in the place where there should be empathy, part of me recoils.

For your edification, here is a link to the Bump website. It seems illustrative and, if I may say so, soothing.

Both the letter writer and Polly ignore one salient aspect of this problem.. Women who are suffering from this anxiety are living out the consequence of a life choice.

They were told and they accepted the feminist life plan: namely, that childbearing had to be postponed into a woman’s thirties because career had to come first. Feminists routinely disparage women who marry young and who have children young. The worst thing that can happen to a woman is to sacrifice her career to become a housewife and mother, a useless drudge, tied down to home and babies.

From the feminist perspective, conception is a curse. What used to be called “the curse” is now presumably a blessing. Unless she is trying to conceive. No wonder women are anxious and confused. Women’s health, from a feminist perspective, requires endless conversations about contraception and abortion.

Of course twenty-somethings have far fewer problems with conception. Every woman who is thinking clearly—and women do think about this very, very often—knows that postponing conception entails risk. Every woman has a free choice about whether or not she wants to assume that risk.

She should not however allow herself to be seduced into thinking that if she does as the feminists have told her to do, if she chooses to postpone marriage and conception in the interest of pursuing career opportunities, her chances to have children will not diminish. Life is about trade-offs. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you.

Now, to keep this all fair and balanced, we note that some women postpone marriage and childbearing because there are fewer and fewer good men, men who are husband material, out there. I need not tell you about the war against men and the disparagement of any man who dares to suggest that he wants to become a breadwinner. One consequence is the TTC community.

Often, as Polly herself did, women become attached to men who are overgrown children, who are incapable of assuming adult paternal responsibilities. Many young women find themselves in the TTC community because breadwinners have become increasingly scarce.


Sam L. said...

It is my understanding that "the curse" is menstruation. I could be wrong. It also seems to me that plenty has been written by women who did delay TTC and totally missed that the window of opportunity had closed on them when they weren't looking.

Trigger Warning said...

You mean "The Life of Julia" was wrong?? Hillary, call your office the moment someone helps you to a phone!

Speaking of the DSM-V, I refer you here...

Psychiatry is so impressive. Can you imagine contributors to the Merck Manual calling for a vote on whether malaria is a disorder? :-D

Anonymous said...

The growing sympathy for Palestine in elite universities. A worrying trend.