Oh, the wonder of social media. In blogs, infertile women can spew bitterness about women who are pregnant or who have young children, whether they are known or strangers. Previously infertile women like me can blog back about what they have learned from their experiences.
I know, firsthand, how insensitive people can be in their attitudes, comments or behaviour around infertile women. There will always be those people; some of them literally thoughtless, others purposely mean. I also understand jealousy. Jealousy of friends who had conceived immediately. Jealousy of women who had never suffered the loss of a baby. Jealousy of women pushing Bugaboo strollers. Jealousy of friends who had cappuccinos in the park while their second children played together. Jealousy of people who were happy on my miserable days.
What I never felt, and really don't like, is the venom I've read in some blogs toward other women who are fortunate enough to have a healthy reproductive system. Pregnant women have been verbally attacked as smug, undeserving and inconsiderate just for being pregnant. How dare they be in our workplace, at our family get-togethers, among our group of friends or walking our city streets? The irony is that if the writer became pregnant, she would be beaming with joy and bitterly resented by another woman who doesn't know her story. It disturbs me that women commenting on these nasty blog posts back up the blogger like an angry mob at a lynching.
Infertility is a high-emotion, intensely personal topic, status, challenge and condition. There's the fantasy of becoming pregnant, the identification of her fertility with her womanhood, her importance, femininity, desirability to men and her purpose. Infertile women shoulder a lot of confusion and pain. Some can dig deep to find inner strength, look for and accept support and work hard at keeping perspective and balance. They eventually understand that even though it's personal, infertility doesn't choose one woman because she is judged bad, or skip by another woman because she is good. No one deserves infertility or miscarriage.
So, why the bitchiness and the eagerness to be on her side? Is it like the old saying "misery loves company?" Does anyone really think that playing the "yes"(wo)man is helping in any way? I hope not. All it does is give the speaker permission to keep going in this way. I understand the temptation, when a woman has an audience and the advantage of relative anonymity, to mouth off, but it does you no favours:
- If it's not real, it's not right;
- It's not good karma;
- It doesn't improve your chances of conceiving;
- It doesn't make you new "quality" friends;
- It uses up mental energy you could be putting toward your own goals;
- It interferes with you mind+body connection;
- It could actually hurt someone;
- even if people laugh or point with you, that's not true support;
- it's an attitude and behaviour that is beneath the "real" you;
- it's more difficult to move forward when you're carrying the burden of resentment.
Can you possibly be in the best spirit and fitness to conceive the baby of your dreams, if you are carrying around intensely negative emotional baggage? No, you cannot. It requires diverting some of your precious focus, commitment and energy from your goal to the attention you pay in thinking about, talking about and storing up emotion towared that other person. It creates stress in your system that you could really do without. You could be turning off the friends to whom you blow off steam, who may not comment in the face of your vehement anger, but won't think better of you. It does absolutely nothing good for you and your future baby. While you are trying to conceive, anything that doesn't relax you, educate you, nurture you or progress you, would be best banished.
Think of one woman who really ticks you off, whether it's for something she has said or done, or just because she breathes the same air as you. (I'm trying to be non-judgmental of your hatred.) On a piece of paper, make 5 columns across the top and label them, left to right, the person's name, what they do or did that upsets you, how you categorize your feelings toward that person:
- just had the good luck to be pregnant, and so on.
Then, in the next column, what your part is in this relationship or scenario, possibly:
- equally at fault
- wished her to lose what she has
- started the bad vibe
- never gave her a chance
- don't like the look of her, etc...
In the last column, if you can be honest with yourself, what could you do to get rid of those feelings you hold about her that are weighing you down? Do you need to make an apology, explain what has upset you, release your negative feelings toward her, start talking and/or acting differently toward her to smooth things over or just forgive her for whatever wrong she has committed?
If you are the friend of someone who has been acting this way about someone else who doesn't deserve it, think twice about agreeing with her just to make her feel better. It could break up your social group. It could dominate all of your conversations as your friend carries on obsessively. It could just make you feel bad. It won't help her get pregnant. Suggest that she talk it out, write it out or get some coaching. Appeal to her better nature and distract her toward more positive thinking. That is what support is all about.