I wanted to quickly mention SPOILER ALERT! that the “How I Met Your Mother” episode tonight (which I broke my rule of never watching a show out of sequence for) absolutely broke my heart. I already loved that show, because I feel it portrays so well the allure of the white picket fence and Frank Capra way of life and contrasts it with the road less traveled. But this episode depicted a brilliant, sad, bleak but true tale of infertility. I think someone on the writing staff must be in the know.
OK: on to this week’s Time Warp Tuesday post! I actually suggested the topic this week and am THRILLED that our brilliant and thoughtful hostess Kathy chose it. From Kathy’s description:
As Bloggers we often share openly and candidly about our lives, experiences, hopes and fears. As a result, sometimes we may have second thoughts about publishing some of our blog entries. Choose a post from your archives that you were most afraid to publish. Then write a new post on your blog about why you chose the post that you did and what has happened in your life since.
I had one post in mind when I proposed this topic. It’s this one, where I revealed my real identity to show support for the courageous bloggers who opposed a ridiculous and hurtful Facebook meme. The incident is worth revisiting, because the negative reactions they received are at the heart of what we fight in our battle for public awareness of infertility.
It’s a pretty ballsy post, I must say, as I reread it. I call someone out for a mean comment and put my face and name out there. I don’t think I would have done this if:
A) I hadn’t reread “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” the night before. JK Rowling is a hero to me, mainly because she instills in her readers a good sense of what courage is and why we should stand up for those who are being bullied and worse. I think she teaches us that we need to fight for the good and the kind and those in need. And that is NEVER easy, but if you look at history, those who ignore or appease or join in evil are everywhere. That’s a simplistic explanation of course. But that doesn’t make it untrue.
The mean things people say to our faces and in comments online about infertility are acts of aggression. Amy Haible’s comments are ignorant (clearly she knows NOTHING about the adoption process!) and are meant to injure those who read them. To put such thoughts out there to the world at large is something Lord Voldemort would do. And, to AGREE with such statements is ALSO terrible. Is it as evil as committing genocide? No, obviously not. But infertility silences its victims. So many are unable to stand up for themselves, because of depression (which infertility causes: yes, causes), because of shame, guilt, taboos in society. I was afraid to speak up, too. No one wants to be told “Just adopt. It’s because of you orphans are starving.” Or “Natural Selection is why you’re infertile.” Or myriad other pitiless things that are untrue and painful.
But I’ve crossed the finish line. I have children. I am LUCKY. So I thought, bring it on. I can probably handle it better than those who are in the middle of the battle. When I was in the middle of the battle, I was often unable to socialize at all, let alone defend myself from “bon mots” about how God meant for me to be barren.
I was lucky, again. I received 41 comments on that post and they were all supportive. But I know one day I’ll get a nasty response.
But dammit if I’m not going to fight the mean comments for all those who can’t.
B) I thought the wonderful bloggers who took a stand against the BS to begin with needed to be told that their efforts mattered, that solidarity needed to be shown. Putting my face out there seemed to be the best way to do that. Elphaba, Mel and Keiko deserve many, many kudos for their eloquent, brave posts.
Looking back on the post now I feel a little wary, still, that I can be googled so easily. Future employers can read all about my infertility advocacy: that may limit me in some way at some time. I was pretty open about my infertility to friends and family, but my twins may suffer some fallout. Kids are the biggest bullies of all, as we all know. There were some BIG considerations at play when I revealed my identity.
But in the end, life is short. I believe that infertility awareness is where breast cancer awareness was twenty years ago. I think that hearts and minds, maybe, can be changed. Not in people who have poisonous marrow and bitterness growing in their souls and feel the need to lash out at others. But I don’t think most people are like that. I guess I believe in the good of most people.
I’ll conclude with another Dumbledore quote.
It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
And so, I’m glad I chose to publish this post.