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.