Saturday, February 05, 2005

Questions on the Big Metaphor

Generally I go out of my way to avoid controversy. I don't like to confront people or cause problems. On the other hand, I can't just let things go sometimes.

I was reading another blog about how pregnant infertiles should ship out of infertility island. Well, not all pregnant infertiles, just ones who haven't suffered enough in the Infertility Olympics. This feeling was applauded by many. I understand this metaphor, and can't say that I disagree really, but I have questions...

Let's take this out of the metaphor. What does it mean to leave the island? Does it mean to give up the community of infertile women? Since I'm pregnant, does that mean that I'm not allowed to give support to other infertiles still waiting? When someone is waiting I tell them that I'm hoping for them. When someone faces disappointment I tell them I'm sorry. Is it wrong to do this? It's not like I'm saying "I'm sorry, come see my belly pics." I'm not an asshat, just trying to give back some of the support I received when I was cycling or received bad news. I see it as sending over care packages back to my friends on the island. Maybe some find those tainted and don't want them. But I couldn't imagine just forgetting the women who are still waiting. I know what it's like to go through infertility pain, and there's not much support in real life. That's why we have the island, to give support and find new resources. Is it wrong to send back caring messages to those we got to know while we were there? If I post supportive messages on other blogs does that mean that in the metaphor I haven't left the island?

I also don't understand the term of pregnant infertiles using up the valuable supplies on the island. As far as I'm concerned, I've never asked for nor expected support from infertiles still waiting. I know that what I'm going through right now is not the same as what they are going through. Again, I've been there and I do remember. There's so little support in the real world that we have to band together. When I post on my site about my ups and downs, truly I'm not expecting the infertile women to rally around me because I don't expect them to come to my site at all. I am expressing what is going on with me. Actually, if there's anyone I want support from it's other pregnant infertiles who maybe can tell me that I'm not crazy and that my fears are real.

How does one demonstrate that they have left the island? I imagine myself on the ship. I wish I could tell you that it's a big luxury cruise liner but it's not. It's small and the ship is often tossed by horrible waves. You don't know to which cabin you've been assigned until you get on board, and it's not based on merit. You think you have a good one, but then you find out that there could be issues. And the sea changes so much. I'm waiting for the results of my protein test and Dee's waiting for her amnio results and Jen P is spotting. There are no guarantees and the voyage is not the beautiful cruise we all imagined.

Again, I'm not saying this so that there will be an outpouring of sympathy from the infertile ranks. They'd give anything to be here and I know it well. I'm just saying that it's not so pretty once you get here.

I just don't know how to show that I'm not on the island. I am on the ship. I am grateful to be here and I'm not trying to flaunt it. Actually, I'm in my cabin as I don't venture out very often. I've decorated it as to how I see fit, which for me means no belly shots but I do have a figurative picture of my daughter and the nursery. I need these things to get through the stormy seas.

I try to be sensitive. While the name of my blog will not be changed (as it is my name), I did change my banner so that it's clear that I'm pregnant and have a child. Like a warning flag on my door before you come in.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm not sure how far I'm supposed to go to show that I really have left the island. There is no guidebook. Am I supposed to stop posting my support to infertile women's sites? Is this for all infertile women or will a list be created to show me which think it's okay to say "I'm sorry" and those who think I've lost my credentials to give sympathy?

I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but I am confused by all the us versus them when we already have so many in society against us. It's not like I'm hanging out in RE waiting rooms or crashing IVF meetings, I'm posting my thoughts on my blog and sending out messages of support to those who supported me. Am I supposed to close down my site like Jen P at The Reich Ovary? Am I supposed to just turn my back on the non-pregnant infertile women and pretend that I don't care about them? Am I supposed to keep my cabin sterile, neither happy nor complaining, with no outward signs that I am pregnant or that I have a child?

So I've been kicked out of the cool girl's club. I'm not surprised as I never have been one who cliqued if you know what I mean. I don't think it's all because I'm pregnant, but comes back to that question of not being deserving, not having suffered as much as others, because some pregnant or infertile women with children are still allowed to belong. I've said it before and I'll say it again, why throw the undeserving label at the infertile pregnant women? Why not at those who got pregnant on accident, or after 1 month, or on their honeymoon, or by simply the power of positive thinking? I thought we all discussed the Infertility Olympics long ago and decided that while the spectrum was huge and while some women deserve gold medals, that there were no winners in such a comparison?

So if you're interested in hanging out in my cabin, come on in. Sorry I didn't make the bed and that my room is rather boring, but I'm not much of a writer. And please ignore the big old orange urine container in the fridge, I'm doing my best to try to myself. And if the sight of my belly or the talk of my daughter bothers you, I'm sorry, maybe now isn't a good time for you to visit. I would be happy to send you care packages back to the island if you'd like. And if you don't, I understand that too and I'm sorry if I did and you didn't want it. It's so hard to know the difference.

22 Comments:

Blogger Jen P said...

Pazel, I thank you for posting what I could not, and for being strong enough to take that flack that will surely come from doing so.

Feel free to email me jen @ therubberband DOT com and we can chat via email if you'd like.

I wish you the best with this urine test and I'm hoping the protein is a fluke. I can't imagine how crappy waiting for it is.

best wishes to you

2:22 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Hi Pazel -- thank you for a thoughtful post. My feeling is that this whole thing is being blown 'way out of proportion. It seems to me that we're collectively just trying to work through infertile blog etiquette. As we all know, the unavoidable fact is that some days unpregnants are going to feel bad about pregnant people -- even wonderful friends. And pregnant bloggers are going to write about their pregnancies -- what are they going to write about, the weather? The request for a standard warning before some posts (e.g., ultrasound pics) is so we can remain one community without hurting feelings -- it's the alternative to simply separating.

I hope you're doing well. As to your question, I personally am incredibly grateful for all support. I wish you all the best, and I will be here hoping for you.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Milenka said...

I can't say this enough to the pregnant infertiles...you give me hope. I just wanted you to know. :-)

11:29 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

Pazel, is it ok if I hang out as well, not being infertile? I like your cabin, always have, don't find it boring at all (and I have a v low threshold for dull) With all this recent fighting I'm not even sure I should be reading some blogs anymore. I could just lurk and keep my mouth shut, it's what I mostly do but now I feel the need to ask for permission bcs I did post one or 2 comments here. Bu I NEVER give advice and I get it, I do, as well as someone who didn't go through it possibly can. from personal experience I know how much a comment means, sometimes especially if it comes from a stranger. It has returned my sanity many a time, or at least placed it in a place where I could glimpse it. When i do leave a comment, it's in the hope of having the same effect but i sometimes feel i should just be quiet. The infertosphere is being unduly taxed now that so many are pg/had babies, I suppose it was easier when everyone shared the same plateau. I just wanted to wish you good luck w the test, and tell you you are not dull, not at all. I'm looking forward to the baby posts. Resuming lurkdom now.

5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pazel - this was brave and thoughful.
We seem to have turned trolls on ourselves.
And you're right - the pain olympics seem to have been refloated in an ugly way. And it's too bad.
I buy that there are different experiences and different pains. But I have learned and survived thanks to our collective strength, not staking out our differences.
I'm very close to shutting down my site, but the post and comments here and elsewhere give me some reassurance.
Oh please, please let's not turn trolls on each other.
Menita

2:37 PM  
Blogger Galloping Cats said...

What a strange and wacky thing that's going on. Well I'm new to your blog. I've wondered if I "belong" as well. I'm not infertile (but I briefly thought I was), I "just" had one miscarriage and mixed messages about my future liklihood. I don't expect to necessarily capture the interest of people who've had 10 miscarriages or years of infertility. If (when?) I get pregnant again, I plan to babble on about feeling happy if I'm able to and panic when I need to. And if you're interested... you can count me as someone that would not be insulted by your comments and support. And if you're not... that's fine too. :)

Hope you don't come down bleary eyed one morning and mistake that orange jug for juice. Good luck!

7:26 PM  
Blogger Galloping Cats said...

Oh an also... the one thing I would say is that people shouldn't have to be having scary pregnancies either in order to be allowed to keep writing. I would hope SOMEONE would be having a ladida FUN pregnancy.

When I first found these blogs when everything was so raw right after the miscarriage, I couldn't read the pregnancy ones. So guess what? I clicked away. Anyway. Weird.

7:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you Pazel.

You said it so well. I've struggled with how to compose my thoughts on the matter. I think, like you, I have tried to be sensitive but at the same time I can't begin every post about being pregnant with "I'm sorry, I'm pregnant."

I guess I just assume that there are those who won't be able to continue reading my blog, knowing that I'm going to talk about the baby and that is their right. But there is a reason that my blog became my safe place and I'm keeping it.

I want to offer support, encouragement, all those packages you talked about sending back to the island. I hate that this feels so "us" and "them" - mostly because I love them and hope for them. Because there were those that were pregnant before me that offered me encouragement and said "sorry" when things didn't work, and I feel compelled to provide the same support I received but I fear the repercussions.

So, my friend, I will enjoy this cruise with you. When the waves get rough, I know you'll hold my hand. And on the days where we're looking at smooth sailing, you won't question whether I deserve it.

Because God knows I probably will be.

Love,
Mandy

9:32 PM  
Blogger Dee said...

Bravo on a great post Pazel. I've been contemplating this subject internally for some time now but am not sure where my blog stands in things. Perhaps because I'm now facing a 'challenge' of sorts in this pg, I still "fit" the infertile label that others seem to perhaps think is trademarked; I don't know.

Even though I'm currently pg, I do know that I too know what it's like to be on the island. And I too continue to send care packages to those still on the island, it's the very least I can do to remind them that I'm still one of them, even if my status is temporarily changed. Infertility is a part of me, always will be. I'm no better or worse than anyone else going through this.

So I intend to come visit you in your cabin, whether I am pg or not. You've given me hope when I had none, inspiration when I couldn't find any, and information, love and support when I so desperately needed them--both when I wasn't pg and now that I am. I don't think you've forgotten what it's like on the island and I'm sorry if others think that you have.

6:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think your words were sensible.

Boring? Come on where else am I going to find stories of the sisters boyfriend "the dacta" who brings sexy legs as presents...

alex the infertile gourmet

6:53 AM  
Blogger Lala said...

I'm joining in and saying hello. I just ranted about the same topic but in a much more argumentative way. Congrats for keeping your cool. You're welcome to leave you ship to visit Lala Land anytime you choose.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Demented M said...

I blogged about this very topic last night and I think your post is needed. I think everyone should post on their blog (if they feel so moved) reminding people of basic courtesy--we can do so much more united than divided.

I really don't understand all the logic behind this hullaboo--what are you supposed to do tell people to unlink from your site? If you do, you're screwed b/c then you'll be insensitive emailing all the bloggers who aren't pregnant, telling them to remove your link b/c you are--oh you b*tch you! So do you close the blog and start a new one? Just how far do you take it? At what point is being you and living your life and talking about it acceptable?

I mean, I know you're pregnant even w/o the new disclaimer and, if I come back to read your latest post knowing this, I somehow have the carte blanch to be upset when you talk about your pregnancy? You're somehow beholden to my feelings and subject to the infertility gestapo?

Personally, I think it's displacement. "I can't get pregnant therefore I will hate those who have what I don't and oooo, lookey here at the anonymous comment function and oooo I can send emails too."


I think there are some people out there who years from now, will look back at all this and be very sorry for the pain they've caused.

Michelle

1:46 PM  
Blogger Demented M said...

I blogged about this very topic last night and I think your post is needed. I think everyone should post on their blog (if they feel so moved) reminding people of basic courtesy--we can do so much more united than divided.

I really don't understand all the logic behind this hullaboo--what are you supposed to do tell people to unlink from your site? If you do, you're screwed b/c then you'll be insensitive emailing all the bloggers who aren't pregnant, telling them to remove your link b/c you are--oh you b*tch you! So do you close the blog and start a new one? Just how far do you take it? At what point is being you and living your life and talking about it acceptable?

I mean, I know you're pregnant even w/o the new disclaimer and, if I come back to read your latest post knowing this, I somehow have the carte blanch to be upset when you talk about your pregnancy? You're somehow beholden to my feelings and subject to the infertility gestapo?

Personally, I think it's displacement. "I can't get pregnant therefore I will hate those who have what I don't and oooo, lookey here at the anonymous comment function and oooo I can send emails too."


I think there are some people out there who years from now, will look back at all this and be very sorry for the pain they've caused.

Michelle

1:47 PM  
Blogger Jen P said...

Pazel, things are fine for now. 6L a day of water seem to be doing wonders for everything, including my bladder.

Could you please email me? jen@therubberband.com?

5:00 PM  
Blogger DeadBug said...

A very thoughtful post. I don't quite understand what's going on here in blogland--I don't know that I want to know what went down, in fact--but I, personally, love to read the blogs of those who have succeeded in overcoming infertility. As Milenka said, it gives me hope.

--Bugs

8:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Infertility Gestapo?

YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT??

Accusations of non-pregnant IF'ers sending anon. hate mail to pregnants??

YOU'RE KIDDING, RIGHT??

I'm pissed off as hell. A girl can only take so much, and this BULLSHIT crosses the line.

Go ahead and get your fucking gasoline and your dunking machines and go on with your fucking witch trial. That's right... go on and burn the infertile for all of her "evil ways" you conjured up to suit your needs.

Just fucking get it over with, because it's REALLY FUCKING OLD.

You found yourselves a real nice target haven't you? Easy to attack those that have opinions, isn't it? Easy to take those opinions and TWIST them the fuck out of proportion, isn't it??

Does sound like a witch trial, doesn't it?

But are you sure you've found the right witch to burn??

Now why don't you, Michelle, and your other gasoline toting anger mongers do the whole IF community a little good, and go burn a witch who is really deserving, like, oh...some troll from the Christian Coalition or a Child Free fanatic, and leave the infertiles alone.

Because you know what?? I have enough fucking misery in life right now, and DON'T NEED YOUR FUCKING IGNORANT HATE MONGERING BULLSHIT ANYMORE.

ENOUGH!!!

NEXT???

Jen/VintageUterus

11:31 AM  
Blogger Barren Mare said...

I am trying to think of something generally soothing to say all around. But normally at times like these I just go about quietly making cups of camomile tea and passing round the cookie jar.

Nice, non-judgmental, calming cookie anyone?

3:26 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I'm like B. Mare here--I just want to pet everyone's calming glands.

Aside from that, I will just send out lurve.

Nakedly Ovarian Karen

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michelle, If you're going to be making any more comments or judgments on this topic, I really think that you should go back and read the original post that started all this. You might be surprised. And maybe ashamed at some of your word choices. If you already have and your comment is an accurate reflection of your view of things ... well, I don't know what to say. Maybe we're inhabiting alternate universes and one of us lives in bizarro world.

Pazel, I read so much warmth and generosity in this post. Support of the kind you wrote of can only be welcomed by those left on the island, I'd think. I also think that the islanders would like to support pregnant infertiles too. Why else would they visit your sites? As you said, IF creates a pretty lonely world. The way I read Jen's island metaphor, I think that it was a call for just the sort of kindness that you were describing. It's puzzling to me that you seem to see some sort of schism on this issue, when I see so much fundamental agreement in both your blogs.

Kimm

3:45 PM  
Blogger amyesq said...

Mare, I'll take a cookie and some Earl Grey, if you've got it. Love to all.

And on a lighter note, I have a dilemma of another kind over on my blog, outspoken opinions welcome....

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*DING!*

Michelle is the official winner of the Godwin Prize, derived from Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

- getupgrrl

9:20 PM  
Blogger jiqUDnQg said...

Hi,
Your blog is well written and informative. I have a site on cookie monster cookie jar maybe we could trade links?

11:50 AM  

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