Oh how I hate it when a good opportunity goes unrealized or worse. Just once I’d like to read a story about infertility and the people struggling with it that didn’t take a sensationalized tone. Mel shared the link to a story in the Globe and Mail about infertility bloggers. I was eager to read about the fellowship aspect but then I saw the headline: “Baby-desperate moms share every detail online.”
While I am happy that Mel’s quote concerned fostering a community of support, information and friendship, what I take issue with was the overall implied judgment that we’re semi-crazed exhibitionists who are competitive to a fault (you’ll have to read the story to understand the competitive element).
The comments that resulted include the usual “why not adopt?” and “maybe you weren’t meant to have kids, so move on” suggestions (ugghh – thanks for the informed opinions — NOT!). Here’s what I wrote:
“With all due respect your headline needs a rework. First, not all women who write about infertility are “moms.” While that’s the desired goal, not all of us succeed. In my blog Coming2Terms I write about living with infertility in a fertile world after both biology and science failed — despite our early, best, and determined efforts. Second, I believe the word “desperate” sends the wrong message about infertiles. While we are in the unenviable position of having to rely on unnatural acts to get what comes easily to others, “desperate” is patronizing and far from empathetic. I’m convinced that “fertile” people would go to the same extremes if they suddenly learned that their children were not a given.
And that gets to the heart of a bigger matter… from my firsthand experience if infertiles received the support and understanding in real life they crave, they wouldn’t need to rely so heavily on the online infertility community. That said, the more appropriate headline is: “Couples who desire children look online for support missing in their real life.”
UPDATED: Thanks for your comments. Gabrielle (below) makes excellent points in response to the story as well.
And this, coincidentally, ties nicely to JJ’s suggestion that we take a moment “to think back to the first blog we found and read that made us really feel like we weren’t so alone.” I’d like to recognize and thank Bumble who is now happily pregnant. I still drop by and read about her progress. Her blog has since gone password protected but suffice to say she and her blog are a great example of the camaraderie and welcoming nature of the infertility blogging community. This is for you Bumble!