Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ruffled feathers

In brief: It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to. In the defense of the freedom to express emotions (prompted by an incident elsewhere, not here).

Recently, one of my blogging companions got a comment that boils down to "shut up, and just be grateful".* Just like me, the blogger in question is trying to have a second ART baby. I couldn't help but feel personally offended by the commenter.
To top it off, the anonymous commenter dished out some guilt as well, saying that the stress of doing ART again (and especially the attempts that end in failure) is emotionally damaging the cherished child that is there.

This incident happened more than a week ago, but I still feel the need to write about it. If the shoe fits, wear it?

First off, I understand that I personally have a lot to be grateful for, and always have had. I was born in a prosperous part of the world, to name but one thing. If, for instance, an impoverished woman living in an impoverished corner of the world were to stumble on my blog, she's be justified to feel I should "shut up and just be grateful".
She'd be justified, but she'd also be missing the point about what this blog is. This is my personal space, where I write about my feelings and experiences, no more, no less. If you don't want to hear it, feel free to move on.
And if you're facing more difficult challenges than I am, I'm sure you're right that it's unfair. May I suggest blogging as a coping mechanism**?

Probably, what irked me the most was the guilt trip part, the suggestion that no one in their right mind would go through ART if they already had a child. Excuse me?
It's true that ART is stressful, and remains so even if it has lead to success before. The pills, the shots, the appointments etc. take up time but more importantly there's an emotional investment involved. The failure of our fresh cycle has left me a little blue, I must admit.
But does that make the commenter right? No, not in the least, if you ask me. There are many sources of stress that can befall a family. Illness, job loss, marital troubles, ... The only way to make sure none of these affect your children, is by not having any. More important than what you have to deal with, is how you deal with it.

Predictably, the comment met with disagreement from other readers. A poor response to 'criticism' the initial commenter came back to say. Fair enough?
On second thought, perhaps not at all.
I agree that in expressing opinions and ideas in an open forum, you have to be open to a degree of criticism (in the sense of disagreement based on rational argument). When expressing feelings, not so much. What use is rational argument against a feeling? (I tried rationalizing away my desire for a child, no luck).

If someone says IF makes them angry, sad, jealous, ... can you say they're wrong, as in their reasoning is flawed? You can disapprove of the anger, the sadness and the jealousy, but in my view you cannot truly criticize. Of course, English is not my first language, so I may be mistaken in interpreting the word that way.

Have you received 'just be grateful' comments (probably with best of intentions)?
Do you ask yourself 'why can't I just be grateful'? I do.
Is there any constructive way to dissent with an emotional (IF) blog post?

All that to say I reserve the right to mope on my blog. ;-)

* No link, I don't want to reopen an otherwise closed incident. I realize you only get one side of the story this way.
** I realize that for many people, getting access to a computer is the least of their worries.


At 20 May, 2009 06:50, Blogger Rachel said...

I really don't understand comments like the one you are describing. Yes, fertility treatments are stressful for adults, but toddlers get stressed about their food touching and torn pages in their books; they're not exactly the most clued in little people to big stuff. Of course your daughter will be happy if your treatments succeed, but in the long run (when she is an adult herself) she will be happy to know that you pursued your dreams of a second child, whether you succeed or not (and of course I very, very much hope you do).

At 20 May, 2009 12:20, Blogger Heather said...

I think of IF issues as just another one of life's challenges that get thrown to people to be overcome, so I lump it in the same vein as financial issues, other health issues, etc. Granted, I don't compare them to each other. But I know we've had a lot to overcome over the past decade, and I'm happy we're on the other side (almost).

At 20 May, 2009 12:52, Blogger Sara said...

Your understanding of English appears to be perfect, and I totally agree with everything that you said.

I admit that I did/do feel a little guilty being sad about my recent BFN when I am around my child, but that's just a feeling too. I know in my heart that it doesn't hurt my daughter at all to have me be a little sad for a little while. I still spend lots of time with her, and keep my energy positive, and it's not like she even knows that I have feelings yet. I don't think it affects her at all. And as for being grateful, well of course I'm grateful to have a child. And I'm also grateful that I have had the chance to get access to IVF. That doesn't mean that it's not a drag when it fails, though.

Sorry that comment upset you. Things like that get to me too.

At 21 May, 2009 04:31, Blogger Larisa said...

Well, I think you know how I feel about it.

I had no idea English is not your native language, so I think your understanding and explanation are both spot on.

I hope the next go-round gets you where you want to be.

At 21 May, 2009 21:08, Blogger Winnifred said...

I recently told a friend that I felt selfish for wanting more children in a way -- because I AM a member of infertiles. I feel like I'm being selfish when I've been blessed with so much -- and she told me that having kids was about as unselfish as it got. That you give everything of yourself for years and years. that deciding to have more is infact the opposite of selfish (if you so chose). I hold on to that. Not the thoughts that somewhere somebody is thinking that I should shut up and be grateful. Don't get me wrong -- I wish them success, but that doesn't mean it has to take away from MY dream of having the family I wanted to have. If we weren't dealing with IF -- we'd probably have 4 kids by now. So yes, I can bitch that it's HARD to build my family this way. IT IS HARD. It doesn't make me any less grateful. That's crazy really.

I told my sister yesterday that it was hard and she said "just consider yourself lucky that you can do this..." uh, yeah - I'm happy there's a solution -- but i'd be a lot happier if we could have sex like normal people.

(rant much?? sorry)

By the way -- I hadn't been to your blog in a bit -- i'm so sorry for your BFN. soooo sorry. happy thoughts sent your way xo

At 22 May, 2009 03:36, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The commenter in question has no clue. Having one child does not cure infertility. I just don't get it.

At 22 May, 2009 06:23, Anonymous SurvivingTTC said...

Very well said, Lut.

It's a sad fact and I sure have learned that through a tough TTC journey, whether for number 1 or 2, there absolutely will be comments that ruffle our feathers, which are already sore as is, to say the least.
Before I ever had a child, I heard comments even more proposterous hurled my way. And that's with not having a child at all.

It is extremely hard to understand someone's feelings until you've been in their shoes.
I recently came accross a heated debate, where in reverse a person going through IF could not stomach someone's decision to end an ill-fated pregnancy.

But the point, like you said, is not about whatever anyone's opinion might be. Its about the fact that you are totally right that a blog is totally one's turf to say whatever the heck it helps them to say. And if someone doesn't like it, they simply don't need to go there.

People do have a problem understanding the emotions that go with IF and TTC #2. Even when an explanation as simple as the need to provide a sibling for your child should seem obvious enough.

Oh well... One can't rid the world of bad comments. That's for sure.

At 23 May, 2009 00:54, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's one from the other side - I have twin boys from IVF. My husband and I both have issues that saw us get there, so we were using infertility as a contraceptive (I know, don't say it!).

What do you know, we fall pregnant with our daughter, and now we get the 'all you needed to do was relax' and 'well, I guess you didn't need IVF after all' comments.

In the same way, we thought for years my brother was going to need LOTS of help due to long term issues, but he (alright, his wife!) has amazingly done it with only minimal intervention, and now he's getting the 'see, there was nothing wrong after all' comments'. He's still having fortnightly inhjections for the rest of his life, but no there's nothing wrong!

People just don't get IF.

Good luck, Katie

At 30 January, 2010 17:30, Blogger Holly said...

Oh I dislike those anonymous comments!! The words 'just be grateful' I don't think fit at all. I'm sure I could find something in that person's life that I could tell them to 'just be grateful' for but yet they want more. No one has the right to throw stones.


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