Friday, May 30, 2008

Bothered

Fair warning -- This post is probably going to be controversial. If you're reading and feel the need to comment but have nothing nice to say, then please move on. Thanks.

I belong to this social networking site for moms. I hang out a lot on the IVF board, and am a member, though infrequent visitor, to the miscarriage and pregnancy loss board. Basically, I've relied on these groups a lot in the past year for support and answers to my dumbest questions.

There's a girl on the IVF board who's as nice as can be. Always the first to chime in with a nice comment or a word of encouragement, always a sweet presence. We happened both to be doing our first IVF cycles at the same time, and she was lucky enough to get pregnant. Unfortunately, she found out several weeks later that her baby had a serious genetic defect and would be born with severe, incurable disabilities. She was as crushed as you would expect, and she ultimately made the difficult decision not to continue with her pregnancy.

A few days ago, she sought support on the pregnancy loss board -- she told her whole story, complete with warnings that she knew not everyone would agree with her decision and asking people to please, please not post mean comments if they disagreed.

And oh boy, did the horrible people come out of the woodwork! Someone told her flatly to go away: "this is a board for people who have had miscarriages, not abortions." Others told her that her presence on the board was a slap in the face to everyone there who didn't get to choose if they'd lose their babies. Still more declared self-righteously that they would have loved to have a baby with disabilities and would never have "murdered" it. Of course, each and every hypocritical, nasty one of them included a statement to the effect of "I'm not judging you, but it really hurts me that you posted on this board." As if their own self-inflicted pain gave them license to be rotten to another human being who was in a situation that none of them have ever experienced.

I've been stewing ever since the whole brouhaha erupted. Yes, I know it hurts terribly to lose a pregnancy. God knows, I've been there. But I'm incredulous that none of the mean posters even appeared to stop and think about how badly it must hurt to be infertile, to have to use all the technology we possess just to get pregnant, only to learn that one's possibly only shot at a child would be severely disabled. Or how much it must have hurt for that woman to have to decide whether she was able to provide the kind of care her child would have needed for her entire life. All they saw was their own pain and a way to release some of it by shooting vitriol at someone even less fortunate.

It's no secret that I am very much pro-choice. But I don't really think my reaction to this incident has much to do with politics. It's more about my disappointment with a group of women who profess themselves to be compassionate and supportive. Apparently, what they really mean is that they're compassionate to anyone who makes the same exact choices they think they would (even if they've never been faced with that situation). Anyone else? Not even worthy of sharing space with them on the web. Should just keep their mouths shut and suffer in silence, like they deserve. Should, preferably, just disappear from the face of the earth.

I don't know if this post even has a point. I'm just stewing.

15 comments:

Nicole (SAHM Ramblings) said...

When I was experiencing (in)fertility issues, the only place online was the ivillage sponsored forum. When I started, there were only a handful of categories and we pretty much all knew each other. But as use of the internet has exploded, so have social networking sites and the variety of people using them. Back in the day, only positive helpful comments were posted. Negative stuff was taken with a grain of salt as hormonal but nothing was ever controversial.

Send my condolences to your friend - I feel so sorry for her because she's experiencing a very difficult time in her life and now everyone with an opinion wants to share. Just continue to encourage the positive comments to offset the negative ones... and don't forget that a lot of it is hormonal.

Karen said...

That's just horrible. Your poor friend. I remember how torn apart and shattered I was to be contemplating something as wretched as selective reduction when I got pregnant with triplets (I ended up not reducing)... the irony was disgusting and not lost on me. To go through so many years of pain and emptiness only to consider selectively getting rid of one or more babies? On purpose? Absolutely no one can understand that unless they've been there.

I'm so sorry your friend received such vitriol from such a hypocritical group.

Mrs.X said...

What is so awful about this is that she went seeking support - the least the people who disagreed with her was keep their fingers to themselves. I can't even begin to fathom how difficult her choice was and I don't see it is in any way a slap to people who have had miscarriages - speaking as a person who has had two back to back.

Infertility, however, makes you realize what a crap shoot life is and to never, ever judge someone else's decisions. You may not agree with them, but you do not call them out on the support board for it! Please give my sincerest condolences to your friend. Tell her to start a blog- people are a lot nicer!

Btw - you asked about my sewing. Thanks! I didn't know which end of a sewing machine was up so I took a class through my local school district. It was offered at a huge store here in town. It was a great class - it taught me the basics of sewing and machines. I bought my class machine for about $600 and then took two more classes.

Once I had the basics down, I basically taught myself quilting. I'm sure I do some things wrong (how did those edges not line up?!) but I'm really proud of the end result. It's a great hobby and very useful. Everyone got homemade bags last year for Christmas and loved them! I hope you pursue it!

Katrina said...

Why can't folks just say they are so sorry for her loss and recognize how excruciating the decision must have been? Gah! Women gotta start having each others' backs and save the claws for men. ;o)

Please tell your friend that there are some of us out here in the internet that send our condolences and that aren't big ol' bitches.

scarredbellybutton said...

People are so cruel, I feel so sad for your poor friend. To go seeking support and then have nastiness thrown at her is just awful.

Did these women thing for just one moment at how heartbreaking it would have been for your friend to hear the news that there were such serious problems with her baby? Did they think for a second about how awful it would be to be faced with making the decision to terminate? I admire her strength to be honest, I do not know what I would have done in a similar situation.

Duck said...

nacomleavmo
Wow, I feel sorry for your friend, even though I'm still stuck in the infertile hell, I totally get not continuing with a pregnancy if there is a serious genetic issue, I know I probably wouldn't continue with the pregnancy either.

seeryusfam@msn.com said...

Stopping by from NCLM...

It's nice to "meet" another pro-choicer. It's not often that I do. I really feel for your friend. It's really sad that those other women felt the need to pass judgement, instead of giving their support. It just breaks my heart to when I hear of things like this.

Jendeis said...

Thank you so much for writing such an articulate and eloquent post. I totally agree with you.

Here from NaComLeavMo.

Lauren said...

I'm here from the Lost and Found.

I'm part of that same group on the social netwworking site and saw all the drama unfold that day. Unbelievable. As soon as I started reading this post I knew exactly what you were talking about. I have chosen to stay away from the group for now because I can't stand to be around all the drama. People can be so cruel...instead of supporting each other they tear each other down. It's fine to disagree, but bashing is wrong and totally unnecessary. It's dispicable. The whole site is becoming that way to me.

I'm glad I wasn't the only one to see the hatred for what it was. Please send my condolences to her for the pain that group has caused and let her know that not everyone felt the way those few angry women did.

Panamahat said...

Here from NCLM. Will confess I haven't read many of your back posts, as, like you, I am finding it hard to read enough and still make 5 comments a day!

I am sorry about the nasty comments your friend has endured. I don't understand why people who are asked to remain quiet if they have nothing positive to say, just cannot do as they are asked. It baffles me.

For what it is worth, I can understand how difficult it was for her to make that decision, and also how difficult it must have been to ask for support over it. It is a shame more people were not able to offer that support.

On a brighter note: congratulations on the two lines - I hope this cycle brings you a child (or more than one!).

Sam said...

I've seen a whole lot of "if you aren't in the exact same boat that I am in you aren't worthy/hurting/etc." on the innernets. I just try to avoid it. I'm sorry that this person had to make such a tough decision and I am sure that she is grieving.

Mommy Meryl said...

What a powerful post- the worst thing was that this person went seeking support - how awful.

I admire your friend for her courage and strength.

And stuff like this is what petrifies me about the Republican party in the house for another term - anytime I feel like a woman's choice could be diminished I get really scared.

My husband who is very pro-choice but very Republican says it would never change, but I'm not so sure.

Brigindo said...

Hi I'm here from NCLM and having never experienced infertility I've been finding it hard to comment on some of the blogs/posts. However I don't see how going through something as painful as infertility could make people feel they have the "right" to be cruel to someone else. It is amazing to me that these people didn't see fit to keep their mouths shut. I totally understand if they couldn't offer support but to blame her for causing them pain seems way out of line to me. But then again I don't feel I have much "right" to speak on this subject at all.

Sara Lamb said...

Ohmygosh, this was just heartbreaking. That poor girl. I am pro-life and I still absolutely think she made the right decision. She didn't murder anyone, that baby didn't stand a chance at life and she saved that baby a lot of pain and heartache. I'm so sorry she had to go through that and I agree that it's disgusting the way she was treated! I hope she has found the support she needed.

InfertileMadWoman said...

Sorry I am late jumping in on this, but I am trying to get cought up from the weekend... First, thanks for your sweet comment on my blog....

Now, I have had to cut out a lot of boards that I used to belong to just for this simple reason, I hate that people have to be just so damn mean. We thought the Turtle had Downs, and I was terrified about having to make a choice on what to do. I got lucky, and she was ok, but I can remember the pain in those moments trying to find the answer in my heart. I have really found that it is very hard to find any group of people on the net who is going to wholeheartedly understand what most infertiles are going through, even a lot of "infertiles" I hope that makes sense....