My Give A Damn’s Busted

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WARNING: ANGRY KITTY.

I’ve been tinkering with the draft of this post for a while. I kept thinking that maybe it would come across as too abrasive – but after getting yet another slap in the face by someone who clearly has NO concept of how their actions affect my already haphazard emotional well-being, I thought – you know what? No more Mrs. Nice Girl. 

I have a bone to pick with someone – actually, several someones.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been trying to read more differently blogs, websites and posts from others to see how they are dealing with IF. Turns out that, for the most part, the answer is a resounding “not so great”. (Shocking, I’m sure.)

However, in doing so I’ve come across some things that are irritating and annoying – enough so, clearly, that I felt the need to draw up a little manifesto about things that make up my biggest peeves in relation to IF. Please note that this is not designed to personally offend anyone, obviously – but if you’re terribly offended because you actually do one or more of these things then, really, you’ve already offended me and I’m thinking? We’re even.

10 THINGS I HATE TO READ ABOUT INFERTILITY

(1) Claiming that you’re struggling with IF because you haven’t gotten pregnant after 3 months of actively trying at the ripe age of 23 – I don’t know how to put this nicely and without throwing a smelly gym shoe at you, but you are not struggling with infertility unless or until you have been actively trying to conceive for ONE YEAR until you’re at least 30. Now quit whining and go back to your coloring book.

(2) People who refer to themselves or others struggling with IF as “infertiles” (using the word “infertile” as a noun). I’m sorry if you feel that you want to accord something you had absolutely no say and/or control over so much heft that you have now decided your entire person is defined by IF. My opinion on this: I DON’T THINK SO. I am struggling with IF and, if we look at IF as a medical condition (hint hint, insurance companies!), I have infertility. It’s not what defines me as a person.

(3) Posting pregnancy questions on an infertility community forum – meaning not the ubiquitous questions about which supplements people recommend etc. to achieve this highly desirable outcome but rather things that involve questions in relation to your current gestation (read: pregnancy – fait accompli). We’re all very happy for you – but we’re also jealous. So can you please stop rubbing salt into open wounds and post your questions in a more appropriate forum – say, a pregnancy or mommy-to-be community? Thanks!

(4) Continuously posting and reposting THE SAME tragic events of your life in every. single. comment. you. make. EVER. Regardless of whether it’s actually relevant. And just in case we haven’t memorized it yet after reading it three hundred times, also including a tag line with all your many, many issues, problems, ailments etc. I’m really sorry for everything that’s ever happened to you – believe me, I’m very sympathetic and empathetic to the pain of others – but after a while, your posts just end up coming across like spam.

(5) Excessive profanity*. Listen, I get it – when I get really, really angry, I swear like a drunken sailor who just lost his entire paycheck in a poker game. But I do so in the privacy of my own home – and the very rare time that I feel something necessitates a profane comment on a website, I at least have the good sense to warn people about what’s coming. When your entire post is so peppered with F-bomb this and the many siblings/cousins of F, I get so distracted from whatever your (possibly valid) point may have been that I’m going to stop reading before I use your favorite word on YOU.

* (The exception would be someone using the word a$$hat because, really? That’s just genius. Thank you Jen Lancaster for introducing me to this gem of an appropriate description!)

(6) Lack of gratitude. I totally get that you want more children, and that an unsuccessful IVF cycle is a huge disappointment – but when you already have one or more children and/or IVF coverage, which enabled you to go through 10 cycles of IVF that most of us who live in one of the 38 states that don’t have IVF coverage (that’s right – read it and weep!) can’t even wrap our minds around because, you know, we’re still saving for our first cycle or trying to dig ourselves out of debt from 1-3 cycles we had to pay for ourselves, I want to send Miss Profanity to your house with a candygram. (And guess what? I’m keeping the candy! That’s right.)

(7) People who go through IVF – or, better yet, don’t even need to – and yet are online making headlines because they’re complaining about how they didn’t get what they “ordered” (twins, girl, boy – apparently having healthy baby isn’t enough for some people). Newsflash: this is real life, not Gattaca. And if you’re going to go around whining like a petulant toddler in the throes of a “terrible twos” tantrum, then maybe you shouldn’t have (a) decided to have a 4th baby, (b) gone through several types of ARTs and then complain, in public, about how annoyed, angry and resentful you are about the fact that you and your wife are pregnant with twins (unreal!). Because not only am I sending Miss Profanity to your house with an extra-large candy-less candygram, but I’m sending her with a social worker who will be more than happy to relocate your unwanted offspring to one of thousands of couples currently jockeying for position on adoption websites. Who, unlike you pathetic excuse for a human being, would be overjoyed to welcome a healthy baby into their lives. So when people complain about something as obtuse as “oh, not the right gender” – I kind of want to slap them. Repeatedly. (Did I say slap? I meant punch.)

(8) The supposed “friends” – or, worse yet, family members – who seem to think your IF is all about them. I’m so, so sorry that my inability to reproduce at whim is inconveniencing YOU – and that, due to your self-absorbed, ego-centric selfishness, you seem to think that while facing an uncertain future that may very well lead to no biological babies at all, we should just continue to smile pleasantly for photo ops, family dinners, baby showers and other social events. The same people who use your faith against you or offer you incessantly vapid platitudes instead of comforting you, who tell you to “just” adopt as if you had a money tree growing in your backyard. The people to whom the nightmare of having to give up on biological children means nothing because it didn’t happen to them, and it doesn’t affect them. There’s a place in hell for people like that – and a place card with your name on it.

(9) People on infertility communities/forums who have once struggled like the rest of us empty-wombed, sad faced, tissue crumpling, inconsolable women – and now think nothing of posting baby pics as their profile pics. Which then *conveniently* come up next to their comments. On infertility issues. From women without babies. Do I really need to spell this out for you? I’m going to assume that whatever brains you may or may not have started out with either died on the operating table and/or were transferred in utero to your baby – because CLEARLY you lack any sense of compassion, empathy or…what’s that word I’m looking for…oh yeah, TACT. It’s kind of like when your best friend is going on a diet and you sit in front of her chomping on a big, gooey brownie. EVIL!

(10) Last but not least – and this isn’t strictly related to IF but one of my biggest peeves in general – people who can’t distinguish fact from opinion and who, just to make their ignorance more verbosely proactive, then proceed to “screaming” at you – through a computer screen – like they’re ready to hang you from the rafters by your toenails. All because (a) they apparently don’t understand that an opinion is just that – not fact – and that, thanks to a little something called the First Amendment, they’re not the only ones entitled to one; (b) they also have apparently never heard the expression “agree to disagree” – and prefer to demonstrate their discontent through the vehicle of hate. To which I say: have at it, dear, but the joke is on you – because your opinion just stopped being of any consequence to me. In this case I’ll refer you to the wise words of one Master Chief John Urgayle (aka Viggo Mortensen): “If I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.”

(Also – what’s up with people totally oversharing? I mean, there’s TMI, and then there’s OMG I WANT TO GOUGE OUT MY EYES WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK THIS IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS TO BE SHARED WITH THE WORLD AT LARGE??? People! Some things? Should be kept private. I’m not even going to tell you what prompted me to say this because, omg, I think I can taste v-o-m-i-t.)

Feel free to disagree with me – I’m cool with that. Nod your head in secret if you don’t want anyone to know that you actually agree with me but just don’t want to come right out and say so. I’m ok with that too. Because – just to throw out yet another well-placed movie reference – frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

Honestly? It’s not that my give a damn’s busted, it’s that I’m really, really tired of people not having any common sense, basic civility and compassion, empathy or the ability to even consider what it would be like to walk a mile in these shoes. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that, despite a lot of ups and downs in my life – of which IF is only the more pervasive and recent – I’ve got it pretty darn good compared to a lot of other people. I know this. So I really try to keep things in perspective. I get annoyed, frustrated, irate – and then I sit down and think to myself, hmmm, could this be fixed with a cup of tea? Or does this require a bubble bath?

Because, let’s face it, if you or a loved one are not dealing with a potentially/actually fatal disease, or living in a town/country where your daily life entails gun shots, cholera and or lack of basic sanitation, running water and electricity, I’m thinking? Nothing is really that tragic. (Please note that this is IN NOW way directed at anyone who has dealt with m/c or s/b.) So I really, REALLY try to keep my own stuff in check – I whine, moan, groan, cry etc…but I still remember that it could be SO MUCH WORSE. I get up every day thinking about how lucky I still am in the grand scheme of things. I have really bad, dark days – I’ve been struggling with depression for two decades – so sometimes finding the silver lining is really hard work. But I do, even if it sometimes takes me a while.

In the meantime, I’m going to stop apologizing for how I feel and who I am – which, ironically, is advice I’m constantly doling out to other IFers. Because, really? It’s about time for me stop worrying about things that don’t matter and do my best to get back to living

And to end this rant on a positive note, let’s hug it out 🙂

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15 thoughts on “My Give A Damn’s Busted

  1. I’m definitely guilty of referring to myself and others as “infertiles.” I can’t say how or why I started doing that. Maybe because it’s too wordy to keep saying “those who suffer with infertility,” or, like A said, to invoke the sisterhood. For the purposes of my blog and Twitter, infertility IS the primary thing that defines me, so that’s how I identify myself in those spaces. However, I do understand your point, and I think it’s probably not fair to use “infertiles” to refer to everyone who has infertility. Just because I’m comfortable with the term, doesn’t mean others are.

    I agree with you about gratitude, but I will say that I know it’s hard to remember to express it, especially when you are in the middle of what feels like the worst storm ever. Of course, it’s all relative: what one might consider a bad storm may be a pleasant day at the beach for another who has faced much worse. I do think that most people could benefit from a healthy dose of perspective.

    • You make some very valid points. I think the reason I hate the term “infertiles” as a noun is because it sounds like invalid to me – like you’re really just totally broken and can’t function. And while I have days where I really feel that way, I don’t want to think or feel that way 24/7. The gratitude thing – trust me, I have many many days where I’m whining, moaning, groaning and feeling sorry for myself. I know I’m far from the only one because, let’s face it, IF just plain SUCKS – I think the best case scenario is if you’ve got an ace of an RE that you totally mesh with and a great support system, but from what I’ve seen so far that describes *maybe* 10% of IFers.

  2. I’m going to agree outloud. Thanks for this post.

    Regarding #1 for me this includes anyone who failed 2 or 3 pregnancy tests after IUI or trying naturally and thinks they suffered from infertility. If from the time you had your first IUI to the day you had your first baby only a year has passed and it took under $5K you can’t possibly understand more than the tip of the iceburg.

    #6 – oh yes thank you. I once commented on a post by someone suffering from secondary infertility that claimed people suffering from primary infertility didn’t understand how hard it was to suffer from secondary infertility. And yes, after citing some of the reasons that infertility is hard also stated that she had to give up the idea of having kids close in age. Umm, I might never have kids, I’ll never get to have 2 kids because I’ve spent my savings trying for the first one, and have given up having genetic kids and you actually think infertility is worse for you and that I don’t understand.

    I have to confess that i do #2, but I’m not offended by your comments. I was just thinking the other day I shouldn’t refer to people with celiac disease as celiacs. But, there is the fact that infertility pretty much does define me. I am working on this.

    • I totally agree. And I swear, if someone with secondary IF claims it’s worse/harder than primary IF, I’m going to bring my Captain Caveman bat and club them. I also agree that the whole “darn, my plan of having my kids spaced out the way I wanted to didn’t work out” makes me want to vomit. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! 🙂

      • I have a hard time feeling sorry for the secondary infertility cases. This might be the worst example ever – my sister had a miscarriage and a coworker told her that since she didn’t already have kids, she didn’t know what she would be missing. Yep, that helped her grieve. Good advice.

      • WOW talk about insensitive!!! You know, I totally understand that it’s hard for someone to struggle to conceive when they previously had no problems – but at least when you’re feeling really down, you HAVE one or more children to cherish. I feel like some people don’t get how devastating it is to face the very real possibility of not being able to have a biological child with the man you want to grow old with. It’s ridiculous.

  3. Can I volunteer to be Miss Profanity? LOL my blog is riddled with ‘the swears ‘ so I would be more than happy to visit any of the above dumb broads doorsteps and deliver a butt kicking on all if our behalfs, because seriously everything you said is true. If it wasn’t so f- ing sad, these pregnancy and infertility boards would be borderline funny. The Bump in particular – During the early stages of my miscarriage before I found WordPress I had a woman scream that I cooked my baby to death because I used a heating pad.

    Also, 1000 points to you for referencing Gattaca. I own this movie on VHS and didn’t think anyone else had actually heard of it 🙂

    And finally, did you hear the one about the woman who ALREADY HAS FOUR CHILDREN who had a woman offer to be her surrogate for FREE after the aforementioned woman’s clinic messed up and gave her be wrong embryo and she gave birth to someone else’s child and had to give it up? I mean, obviously this is terrible, but as someone who is saving for a surrogate this story made me absolutely sick. If you’re going to donate your uterus do it for someone who actually deserves it.

    • YES YES YES! I actually totally need a Miss Profanity on speed dial because, sometimes, I want someone else to kick some a$$! And the heating pad thing? I’m coming over with Captain Caveman’s club to beat some sense into her. What is UP with people like that???? I also had to laugh about the thing with Gattaca – I have a love-hate thing for this movie because I think it’s both genius and frightening since there are already people “choosing” the gender of their baby, which is completely ridiculous to me. And the surrogacy story? Yeah, that’s flat-out ridiculous – I can’t begin to imagine how much worse this must have felt for someone like you to read this kind of story but even for me, it’s insane. Honestly, every time I see someone with a bump who already has a slew of kids I have to keep my pie-hole shut because what I actually want to say is REALLY? GREEDY MUCH???

  4. This is so well written, and so very truthful! I agree with it – I know I’ve been guilty of at least one of those at one point or another in this journey I call life!

    • Thank you for being so candid! I’ll be the first to admit that, sometimes, until you’re actually faced with a certain kind of situation, it’s hard to relate – or even contemplate. And at the end of the day, we’re all human 🙂

  5. Are you on the Resolve board? If so, I think I know what you mean with #4, and if so, I just try to swat away my baser reactions (note: “try” but not always succeed, necessarily) in favor of connecting it back to what you had to say about gratitude because (like my husband has said, inciting my rage at the moments he’s said it) as bad as this is, it really can be so much worse. I hope I never have to learn how I would behave under such circumstances.

    And as far as the infertile thing, lol, I say that. It’s not that I think this defines me. “I contain multitudes,” in the words of W.W. (my literary boyfriend). When I say that (mostly to be cute and try to sound a little less serious once in awhile) it’s more about the sisterhood that unites us because we have experienced this from the inside. We are a “we.” You know? In fact, I’ve never thought that much about why I was saying it before now, but that’s how it feels to me when I think about that word.

    And mostly this post makes me think about this analogy I use for what the post-traumatic stress of IF does to us: it’s like someone flayed off all my skin, and I’m walking around in the world raw, vulnerable, nerves exposed and tissues inflamed; everything hurts and the pain is magnified to proportions that the former me would have found hysterical. Since when do I cry like this? Since when do I dissolve into fits of emotion? Since now. I see this post as rooted in pain; the pain is real, and (regarding your fears of coming off as “abrasive”) your blog is your place to unload it. So I hope I didn’t prick your rawness too much with this comment.

    • Thank you for your insightful comment – and you’re right, to some extent part of it comes out of pain that turned into anger. Because I see so, so many of us struggling for YEARS to conceive just a single child, not asking for the moon and the stars one would think – but nonetheless being “penalized” with horrendous fees that threaten to almost bankrupt you or, absolute best case scenario, depletes every last resource you may once have had. I mean, there are people taking out second mortgages and getting into debt up to their eyeballs just to pay for IVF or adoption, which is ridiculous. How is it that Viagra is covered by insurance, but NONE of the IVF meds are????

      • Girlfriend, you’re preaching to the choir. I have good coverage. I am very lucky. I am getting a taste of that world now that I am paying the astronomical fees for CCRM, which is OON. It doesn’t make sense to me either, but that’s why advocacy is so important. I have been reading a lot about the lack of advocacy for IF because most women who experience it are either overwhelmed with trying or with small children, and the large majority don’t want to think about it anymore once it’s resolved. If no one yells, screams, fights, it never changes.

      • I know exactly what you mean. I actually think that if and when we overcome this enormous hurdle, I’ll be a lot more vocal and open about this because I’ll have more brain power to devote to something other than what feels like SURVIVAL in the struggle for having a child.

  6. #4… hehehehe….

    What a thorough, well-written post! I related to a lot of it and am not afraid to admit that. Sorry about the insensitive emailer with whom you’ve been dealing (how does one not end a sentence with a preposition without sounding like she’s from the 18th century?).Anyway, must be nice to be oblivious/careless regarding depression-causing pain.

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