Monday, August 09, 2004

My Speech

I feel like I've been gone forever. In truth, between traveling, catching up on housework from traveling, and just being exhausted, I have been neglectful to my blog. And I missed it. My public private room where I can talk on and on about myself and not feel so rude.

Lately what I have been feeling is apprehensive. I don't have enough symptoms to make myself comfortable with the thought that everything is fine. No more betas after the second one, so I've got to wait until my u/s next week. That seems like a long ways away.

Last semester I had to give a speech on something that I feel strongly about. It was tough, but I gave a speech on how infertility should be covered by insurance. This came with a disclosure that I was going through treatments, but no detail on what those treatments were or why. Anyway, one section of my speech was titled "Stupid Things People Have Actually Said to Me." I had several bullet points such as "Just adopt", "It's God's plan" and "Just relax." With each point I discussed how it was a cruel statement to someone going through treatment.

It was very hard for me to give this speech because I didn't want anyone to feel sorry for me. Frankly, I was in the middle of our failing IUIs and contemplating IVF, and I couldn't think of anything else at that time that I felt strongly about. I gave this speech to about 10 classmates who filled out anonymous forms on the presentation. Many of the comments were very supportive, telling me that they had learned that infertility coverage for all would be inexpensive and fair, and what not to say to someone going through treatment.

For some reason, its the one comment that is not so supportive that sticks the most. One person stated that I should not say that those statements were "stupid" because they could be someone's true feelings on the subject, so I could be alienating part of the audience by putting them down. Why should I care about alienating or offending them if they believe that these stupid statements are fine to say to me? I mean I should care more about their feelings than my own? How would they not know that they're stupid statements unless they hear it outright? Yes, maybe another word such as "offensive" would be less crass or milder than "stupid", but I'm trying to make a stronger point on exactly how I feel about those statements. These statements reveal the ignorance of the person who dares state them as fact to an infertile woman.

Instead, I read the critical comment, intended on being helpful, and I felt injured. This subject was so sensitive that I couldn't read all the comments until about a week later. Even then, I almost ditched out with each comment sheet, not wanting to read something negative on a subject so personal, even though they were to comment on my oratory skills rather than the content. When I read this comment, I wanted to find this person and ask them why they thought those comments were not stupid. Are they just not stupid when spoken to an infertile woman? I would suppose that if they said the same comments to a cancer patient, everyone would agree that the comments were definately stupid. Yes, the word "stupid" is elementary and derogatory, but so are those hurtful statements people have actually said to me.

So I've been out of school now for two months, and this comment still occasionally comes back to me. I have a hard time letting go of any negative remarks regardless of how slight, when they are the comments I should forget first.

I still look forward to going back to school. Odds are that I won't have any of the audience students in any of my classes, so I won't have to worry about being asked how the treatments are going. I am glad though that I have a positive result right now, so that I have something to show for what I did this summer. I guess my Christmas card should read "I Know What You Did Last Summer" because by then it should be obvious. That still doesn't seem possible though, so let's not dwell on it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandy from Infertility is funny here,
Just wanted to say how cool it is that you were able to give a speech on infertility and why it should be covered. I'd bet there are people with infertility that benefitted from that speech, directly and indirectly. I'd bet there were not only infertiles (known or not) in the room, in addition to those that will have the opportunity to say something smarter, kinder, more understanding when someone they know faces this.

It is the unsupportive comment that stings, though I'm glad to hear that many were supportive.

All my best wishes for you and your little one.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Mare said...

Pazel. Paz-el. The Paz. I'm sooo glad you are back I was missing you and your posts.

Funny how something like that sticks in your mind, and stings. It seems to me that in their desire to see both sides of the coin, that person missed the point entirely. Too bad, it was a chance for them to learn something there. Their loss-maybe the next time they hurt someone, they will know why.

12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so great that you were able to give that speech and be so clear about the issue that you only had one negative comment. That is pretty great!

I think your critic mixed up respect for individual stances with the tolerance of ignorance. They aren't the same thing! An informed opinon deserves respect, an uninformed gut-feeling is, how shall I say it...stupid!

Glad to have you back.


2:42 PM  
Blogger JenP said...

I had a different blog before my current one in which I started writing about ttc. People from all over would come to my blog just to tell me that being labelled infertile with my neon yellow chart stickers was G-d's way of letting me know I was meant to be barren. People I had never seen, never met, never wanted to meet...and it really, really ruined me for a while. It seemed they all belonged to some sort of 'club' who sought out barren women to taunt. My husband didn't understand just why some anonymous person's opinion on my life meant more than his or my own. And I don't know why either. But it sucked and I'm still shaken by those words. They're burned into my mind.

I'm glad your back and I'm pleased to hear things are going well. I'll definently be requesting that xmas card!! And I really hope that if you have to give a speech like that again you don't change a word.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


My belief is not to reward bad behavior, period. Stupid is stupid, there is no middle ground. Would you say to someone who can't walk, "Oh, this is g-d's will?" Of course not, everyone would be horrified. I'm done walking on eggshells because it makes someone feel better. Screw that. Sometimes, people just need things pointed out to them. Hell, I've seen the very same people who tell you that it might 'offend' someone have no problem being unreasonably critical about a topic they know nothing about. They cloak themselves in 'honesty' and will say that they only told the person that because it was honest and they needed to know.


6:39 PM  

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