I have given a lot of thought about posting this particular entry because it is bound to raise tempers, spirits, passions, and heckles within the IF blogging community. I think in the name of support, there has always been an unspoken rule that we do not talk about questions of IF Etiquette. And, for the most part, I think this is a good policy. But, tonight, I want to talk about it – politely, intelligently, delicately and evenly – with my fellow IFers.
I was spurred into action by BabyChaser’s request last week for reading material for her RE’s office staff because – and I’m still shaking my head over this one – there is at least one nurse Who Doesn’t Get It. In the general population, this is understandable and accepted. But, at an RE’s office filled with women who are doing extraordinary things to do that which most people take for granted as happening in the back of a car after a few too many, it is unacceptable. Is it too much to ask for the staff to be caring, compassionate and not tell an infertility patient that a negative is maybe God’s way of saying to take a break? Apparently, Virginia, the answer is yes.
Anyway, in my quest to help, I found this page on Resolve’s website, designed to be given to people who have not dealt with infertility and have not been hit with the Enlightenment Stick to help them see the error of their words. There are a lot of good suggestions covering everything from What Not to Say to an infertile couple to What Not To Ask an infertile couple.
Re-reading this list, though, I saw something that piqued my curiousity. There is the very understandable and laudable Commandment “Thou Shall Not Complain About Your Pregnancy”. It’s a no-brainer that a fertile lady who is about to pop should not complain to her infertile friend about how Junior keeps numbing her left leg or how she can’t wait to get rid of her fat ankles. That is just not cool. I’m pretty certain the edict was written for the woman who is so fertile-my-husband-just-has-to-look-at-me-and-I-get-pregnant who has no idea how hurtful it is for someone who longs to experience even a twinge of pregnancy to hear about how much of a pain the miracle of pregnancy is.
But, what if the person complaining is an infertile who has spent years trying to get pregnant and is now pregnant? Talk about a hornets nest.
On the one hand, there is the argument that these ladies have fought through enough crap that they have earned this Rite of Passage, perhaps above all other Rites. How many times have they had to endure other women complain? How many times have they had grit their teeth from not saying something incredibly hurtful (but really satisfying) to the lady in the next cube yaking about yakking? They went through all of this to get pregnant, and they are going to get the full experience that they paid for.
On the other hand, are those other ladies who still are not pregnant or who have experienced loss. Regardless of who is doing the complaining, I bet there is at least one amongst the infertile ladies who still thinks, “I would kill just to have one minute of morning sickness or I would give anything to have fat ankles if it meant I had a baby growing inside of me.” But now the person doing the complaining is not a clueless fertile myrtle friend (who, I’m afraid can be easily dismissed on this basis) but someone who has been through countless procedures, experienced disappointment after disappointment to get to this moment.
So, here’s the question: should the Commandment apply to any woman who is pregnant – regardless of the road that she took to get there – or should it be limited to those who have no clue how difficult even getting knocked up can be?
Tough question. I have excused myself from having to answer so don’t expect any wisdom out of me on this one. First, I’m tuckered from writing the post and second I want to start a debate, not preach from a pulpit (which as an Atheist would be exceedingly difficult for me to do anyway).
So, dear Reader, speak up!
image: Articulate Matter