I have been writing this post in my head since yesterday. After I read Waiting for Baby Bird’s post a lot of thoughts and emotions came up. The more I thought it through the more passionate I felt about it, from several angles. I suggest you read her post, but the gist is that she received a negative/hurtful comment on her blog. The comment was more than just a difference of opinion, it was an attack of her character. It was meant to bring her down. As you read through the post is clear that it got under her skin. How could it not? It was personal. Thankfully because she is the amazing person that she is, she rose far above it. She took the highest road possible and I could not feel more proud of her. She stood up for herself with class and dignity.
I could say a lot of amazing things about Elisha at Waiting for Baby Bird. She is a person that I truly wish I knew in real life. Her blog comments (to me) are always supportive and uplifting. Her posts offer perspective and hope. Her faith is simply inspirational. I do have a confession to make. When I first came across her blog I was reluctant to follow/read. Honestly I was intimidated. I felt so lost in my own journey that I almost didn’t feel worthy to interact with someone so brave and strong. I pray for the strength and faith she has every day. What if she judged me for my choices because they were different than her own (related to infertility). But then as I read more of her blog, and saw her comments on other’s blogs it became very clear that she does not judge anyone for their path. She is nothing but supportive and kind.
Here is the thing about the internet. It is totally your choice to say something or quietly agree to disagree and click that little X at the upper right hand corner. I have never understood why someone would voluntarily be cruel. I wonder how Elisha’s commenter felt after making the post to her blog. Did it make her feel better about herself? What did she expect Elisha to do? What was she trying to accomplish other than just being mean? There is absolutely nothing that would require her to read Elisha’s blog. She has a choice to just pretend it doesn’t exist so why go to the trouble to write something so hurtful? I can say with some confidence that she did not expect Elisha to respond the way that she did.
Aside from my instinct to stick up for my blog friend, her post also got me thinking about infertility bullies. Infertility can me a seriously touchy/uncomfortable subject and everyone seems to have an opinion on what someone battling it should or should not be doing. Think how often a friend or family member offers up advice that is insensitive/hurtful we are left speechless because “they are just trying to help”. How am I supposed to feel grateful when someone is actually being so hurtful? It is amazing that people feel entitled to give you medical advice on fertility. If I had a heart condition or cancer I doubt friends/family/strangers would be so inclined to tell me how to treat it. It might not always be intentional but all of this advice can definitely leave you questioning yourself or even feeling badly.
Beyond just the unsolicited advice we also get the comments such as “well maybe it’s just not meant to be” or “at some point it just seems unnatural” when explaining the complicated science behind fertility treatments. First, people don’t get to decide what is nor is not meant to be. How exactly would one expect the response to that to go? Something like “You know what you’re right. I think I will just give up. It’s pretty hopeless”. No one wins with a negative attitude. Regardless of the odds it is pretty hard to believe that anyone would suggest that a person just give up in any situation because it seems hopeless. It’s ridiculous and really out of line.
The link above is the Merriam-Webster definition of natural. Based on this “official” definition I believe you would be hard pressed to find anything in medical science that is natural. So why is it “unnatural” to conceive a child through fertility treatments, but when my dad was on a ventilator and who knows how many man-made drugs to save his life, no one told me it was unnatural and therefore wrong. Infertility is an actual medical issue and if I choose to seek treatment from a doctor to overcome it, well that is my choice and having someone bully me into thinking what I am doing is wrong is ridiculous. No one is going to tell my dad that he shouldn’t have saved his life because western medicine is unnatural, or on a lesser scale, that you shouldn’t fix a broken bone or take antibiotics for an infection. At the end of the say babies born out of IVF or any other fertility treatment are not made of plastic. They are skin, bones, hair, lungs and heart just like those made the old fashioned way.
On the flip side, if choose not to seek medical intervention for infertility that is your choice too. Having enough faith to believe that God will bring you a baby against the odds is amazing. Just because you go through an RE and do IUIs or IVF you are not guaranteed a baby. Fertility treatments are hard. There is a physical, emotional and financial toll. There is no easy answer. It is a personal choice and no one has a right to judge it one way or the other.
All of these comments that I get, whether they are to our face or on a blog, back me into a corner. They make me question my choices and why I have made them. They bring me down and make me feel alone. It definitely makes me feel judged. It feels pretty unfair. And no matter what decisions I make someone will always have something to say about it one way or the other. At the end of the day I have a choice. I can be angry and ashamed, or I can hold my head up high and stand up for myself with dignity. It is people like Elisha that help me take the later approach. I am better for having read her blog and I can only admire how brave she is for just putting herself out there. Thank you, Elisha, for being awesome.