Thursday, July 10, 2008

What's In A Name

I received an e-mail a few days back.

Since I started blogging, I have had a lot of really supportive e-mails. Usually, not a week goes by that someone doesn't take time out of their day to write me with their own story and comments. For the most part, I love to get these e-mails, although I will confess to crying over so many tales of the broken-hearted. I have made quite a few internet "friends" this way and am glad that I have a way to be contacted through my profile.

Every once in awhile, however, an e-mail is of a different nature. It's not a nice e-mail, it's a mean one. I usually try not to take too much stock in the not-so-nice e-mails. I figure that a person has to be in a place of great pain to strike out at another infertile. I read them, try to concoct a decent response, and if I can't manage that, then I just delete it and move on.

This particular e-mail bothered me and I have tried to let it go, but it keeps haunting me.

An exerpt:

I recently came across your blog by reading another blog about a mom who had lost her baby at full term. I read your story and I feel sorry for what you have been through, I don't think that you are (or were) infertile. You were obviously able to get pregnant and now you have stayed pregnant. I don't think that you deserve to be in the same category of moms that lost full term babies. I also think that writing about due dates and your miscarried babies is an insult to moms that have given birth.

I also think that your blog title is insulting and you should change it. There are women out there experiencing real losses and who have really taken the so-called bullet. Once again, you seem to put your losses in the same category as them and it's just not fair.

I am not posting this to complain or argue any points in it. I obviously do value the lives of my lost little angels, although I don't think that it's the same as losing a full-term baby. My loss of Gummy Bear at 11 weeks was harder than my earlier losses and I think that I would go insane if something happened to Little Man now. I have nothing but the utmost respect for mothers who have lost babies, no matter the gestation, and I hope that I have never conveyed anything but that on this blog.

The author did have one good point, however. Despite my disbelief and constant terror, this pregnancy seems to be heading toward something that I at one point thought could never be mine: A Real Live Baby. Which does mean that I have come out on the other side of the statistics. Which means that perhaps it is time to pass the title onto someone else.

But then what would I name my blog?


In Search of Morning Sickness said...

You know, I read blogs of moms who have lost full-term babies... Things like cord accidents days prior to the due date... And while I have to agree, their losses are very different than a miscarriage in the first or second trimester.
However, losses are LOSSES.

Children whether 5 weeks gestation or 39, are still children we loved and hoped and prayed for, children we'll never nurture here on earth.
If a person is trying to "rate" losses, I aquiesce that a full-term loss is worse than an earlier one. But I will not in any way agree that it is not something to be grieved over - for months or years if it takes. That was a child. Your child (or mine). Period.

What really makes me upset and sad is her comment about talking about our due dates or lost babies being somehow an insult to moms who've given birth (um, she didn't mention whether she means moms whove given birth to living or dead babies). How in rational way does one person's acknowledging life at a younger stage somehow insult someone recognizing it at a later one? It's kind-of like arguing that grieving for a early infant death somehow insluts people mourning for their dead grandparents. It just fails to make logical sense.

I think you're right, that the author of the email must be in a lot of pain herself to write something like this.

And as far as whether you were infertile or not, I guess medically you weren't, but you were a spontaneous miscarrier which in ways to my mind is a different a terrible sort of hell to live through. What difference does it make? And, you went through IVF, which is the most invasive treatment, so you had to go through what real life IF'ers do, so there you definitely fit. I don't supppose it matters, but to me it'd be like leaving out Secondary IF'ers from the community. Yes, different situation that a textbook IFer who can't seem to conceive naturally (Moi), but just as painful, sometimes worse.

I hope that you know you've been a huge, huge blessing to the entire IF commmunity. When I lost our baby last October, it was a dark dark time for me. I know reading through your losses, and specifically when you poured your heart out over Gummy Bear's story, it ministered peace to my soul, because so much of what you shared (emotionally) I was walking through.

I am beyond happy you're almost at the "end" of this terrible journey you've walked. A blog rename would be wonderful, but don't ask me as I'm totally non-creative.

Hugs, hugs, hugs to you and Baby Boy.

Kim said...

I think you should leave your blog name. I really do.

A loss is a loss. Your babies were no less loved than anyone else's. They were badly wanted and deeply cherished, and they were lost.

I really don't think that you can compare loss. If you were to compare the loss of a baby at 11 weeks to one at 38 weeks... then you would have to begin to compare all losses.

You would have to tell people who have lost truly loved pets that they're loss is an unworthy one. That humans are lost everyday who should mean more.

You would have to tell those who lost a cousin or grandparent that their loss wasn't as bad as it was for the brother of that cousin or the child of that grandparent.

You would have to tell mothers who have lost one baby at full-term that they have no right to feel the same pain as a mother who has lost two. You would have to get into early loss vs. late loss, single loss vs. multiple loss, one-time loss vs. repeated loss, and so forth. You would have to compare the loss of a child who was born premature and then died to one who was born still. You would have to compare the loss of an infant to that of an older child. And the loss of a "normal" child to one with medical issues. And by that logic, who has it worse - a mother who has lost, or one who has never had one to lose?

You just can't do it. So keep your blog name. Just because you have this new miracle to love doesn't mean that your other babies now mean nothing. You didn't choose to have more time with some and not with others. You love them all the same and they were all equally wanted, and that's what matters.

Nicky said...

Comparing losses never helps anyone. For every person out there who is grieving something, there is always someone else who is grieving a loss that might arguably be "worse." By that reasoning, there's only one truly miserable person out there who is grieving "the most" and everyone else in the world would have to shut up and deal because hey, at least they're not THAT person. What a stupid argument.

You experienced losses and pain. You're writing about it as an outlet for the pain. You don't need the permission of anyone, especially not an anonymous emailer, to legitimize what you've been through. I say keep the name.

Polka Dot said...

I don't think I could put it better than the previous 3 commenters.

Losses are losses. And yes, we were only 7 wks along when we lost our little girl, but it's like my husband said - I feel like we lost a child.

Because we did.

And so did you.

The fact that you didn't lose any of them during your 3rd trimester does not, in any way, discount or diminish the pain you felt and continue to feel.

And like morning sickness said - you've been there for so many of us. I still hold close to me the day you donated a blanket in honor of our lost baby on her edd. That remains one of the kindest, most generous thing anyone has ever done for me and I get blurry eyed every time I think about it.

Part of me wants to ask for the woman's e-mail address so I can tell her exactly what you've meant to and done for us in this community. But that would probably be lashing out at someone who's obviously already very down and there's no point in that.

I think you should leave your blog name as it is. You've been through the hell of IF. The fact that you've made it this far does not change that.

Tracy said...

Katie, I'm sorry, but in all my time reading your blog, I have never once seen you compare the pain of your losses to anybody elses. I have never seen you categorize your losses. I've never seen you do anything but be honest about how your losses affect YOU. In fact, you've been very empathetic and gracious in your dealing with other women experiencing losses, whether it be a failed cycle, a chemical pregnancy, or the loss of a baby at the advanced stages of pregnancy.

How could somebody else deem themselves the person to judge your actions in comparison to another's, when you've done nothing but describe your own experiences, and your own feelings?

This person is obviously in a lot of pain, and I truly feel for them.

But this person should realize that this blog of yours is only a does not define you, and it surely doesn't encompass all of the pain and history of your life.

I think you should name your blog whatever you want it to be. If you feel like it's time to move on to another name, then do so, but only because YOU feel like it's time.

Just my two cents. Why do people have to be so nasty to each other?

Yetty said...

Hi Katie, I'll try to keep this short & hope I don't ramble. I don't know where the writer is coming from, but I know it's a very poor place. None of her points have any merit. In my opinion, she sounds like the pharisees that Jesus talked about: she wants to put an emotional load on other people without offering them assistance in carrying the load.
You are not obliged to feel guilty about your blessing because other people are not as blessed and neither are you supposed to be ashamed of your tears & pains because they were of a different time duration. I've had a failed IVF and it feels like a loss. For 3 days I watched something that I helped create try to have a life & fail. I know what I feel and no one has the right to give me a script on where I should fall in the reaction statistics.
I hope that the person who wrote that email reads this comment and if she is, I just want to say to her "it is a very mean & evil thing to see people going through their joys & pains & try to impose your own selfish & unhelpful will on them. You are obviously not a happy person & you're hoping that you can spread your unhappiness to other people around you. Please stop and try to find a place of peace and become joy bringer rather than an instrument of pain"

Katie, don't for any moment think that you've been anything less than a blessing to me as one of your blog readers. (guess I failed at the keep it short part uh!)

Jen said...

Frankly that email pisses me off. Why do people feel the need to categorize IF and loss, and why must they compare levels of pain? Why can't you just be allowed to feel the way you feel and express it through a blog that you are not forcing anybody to read?

And who cares about whether you were technically infertile or not? It's not like recurrent miscarriages are a walk in the park. In the end it took IVF for you got get pregnant and carry a baby this far, and that is more than many people who are technically infertile have had to go through myself included.

I wish people would adhere to the rule of not saying anything if they can't say something nice. If you don't like what a blogger is writing, then don't read it.

Mazzy said...

I don't have much more to add to all the wonderful comments you have already gotten here, but a loss is a loss. None of us would wish it on even out worst enemies in this world and I think that you have never once tried to make yourself out to be the hardest hit victim or the longest suffering infertile compared to any other infertile. I hope the person who emailed you can find some peace in her life and a little bit of the grace of God. We can only pray for someone with such a hard heart.
I think your blog title is aptly fitting for you and it's noone else's decision to make but yours.

HereWeGoAJen said...

I think that is just ridiculous. No one can compare pain. The same loss is going to mean different things to different people. My loss was early, but it was still a baby to me. No matter how many I have later, I am still always going to be one short.

And I'm sorry, but recurrent loss is considered infertility by the general community and the medical community. It is right there at the beginning of the definitions of infertility.

And even with Little Man turning out to be a Real Live Baby, it doesn't change your past statistical minority. I don't think you need to change your blog name at all. (I've actually always really liked your blog name.)

Searching said...

I agree with what has been said. You are entitled to grieve your losses because they ARE losses. I wonder what that emailer has lost...

I think your name is fitting as no matter what happens in the future, the past DID happen and shaped who you are. Gummy and all his/her brothers and sisters paved the way for thier baby brother. Things are different because they existed for however a short amount of time. You have never been anything but gracious, caring, and loving to ALL who visit your blog, always there to support in any way you can through any circumstance. I am appalled that someone would say such things to you. You are amazing and a bright spot in my life. Thank you for being so wonderful.

If you truly feel the need to change your name, you could leave this blog and start another one for post-birth. But that is completely up to you. I'll click wherever and continue to keep you in my prayers whatever name you choose. :)

Rachel said...

I think the first few comments put it really well, but my real question is when did this fabulous, fun-filled 'infertility club' become so exclusive that we have to bar people?

I think it is wonderful that you are sharing your story, and I simply don't understand the point of ranking different levels of pain. Some people have the reserves to survive 5 miscarriages and keep trying for a baby. I know plenty of people who have given up along the way. There is no way for someone else to judge your suffering based on objective standards, nor should it matter.

Also, every blog I read has a discussion about how friends and family and coworkers don't understand what is involved with infertility treatments. You did IVF. You experienced all the anxiety and pain of the process, and I think that it is wonderful that you are talking about it.

I also really like Mel's post about infertile vs. subfertile (ie. all the women who manage to get pregnant 'naturally' after treatments) for explaining how women who might have in the past or might eventually in the future become pregnant still need infertility treatments.

JuliaS said...

Oh gosh - that comment left me absolutely bawling.

From Wikipedia:

"Infertility primarily refers to the biological inability of a man or a woman to contribute to conception. Infertility may also refer to the state of a woman who is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term."

This includes miscarriage. A woman with a stillbirth may not have had difficulty conceiving just as women who miscarry may not have. Some of us though DO have difficulty conceiving (18 months for me the first time and 13 months ON fertility drugs with #8 and yes - I've been pg 13 times.) Pg 13 times and yes, my doc considers me infertile- and then those women have the further injustice of loss heaped on them also. I had to take drugs to help me conceive, I could not on my own. (Over 12 years married and not using birth control and never conceiving without medical assistance would prove that) A twist of life and I started ovulating at the age of 35 after years of not doing so without clomid or follistim. However, I lost seven babies (yes, babies - all conceived on fertility drugs) and that hurt like hell. To tell someone that that doesn't "count" is dismissive and cruel. I know those, who lost babies at term, after delivery (SIDS - my nephew), midway through pg, early, late and they all share a common theme - they lost the baby they wanted and were devastated by it.

And you know what? I gave birth to the baby I delivered at 12 weeks - contractions, water broke, urge to push - the whole nine yards. My milk even came in 4 days later. The labor was not on the same scale (intensity, duration) as the full term I attempted a couple years earlier, but was definitely recognizable as labor and delivery. I held an actual fetus in my hand after that and I can tell you that was a baby, looked like a baby - tiny umbilical cord and all and that was MY baby and losing her about killed me.

We all understand the aspect of loss - no matter our respective experiences that brought us to that understanding. To push away and belittle the very people who come closest to understanding and being able to offer some measure of comfort just doesn't make sense. Does claiming the title of worst loss and most pain make it hurt any less?

Don't change your title - don't be any less than who you are because of someone else. Good wishes to you and your little boy to be.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that someone actually had the audacity to write you that. I have read your blog for quite some time and have never felt like you compared your losses to others, or have said anything that would insult people suffering other loss scenarios. I do not think you should change your blog title unless YOU want to go in a different direction once Baby Boy is here. And while comparing losses is not beneficial to anyone, you have suffered an amount of losses that more than qualifies you as falling on the bad side of statistics.

Please do not let this person get to you.

Joy said...

Quite frankly I was a little taken back by the email and I think that you took it rather graciously. You are right, she is obviously hurting.

I don't think you should change the name of your blog either.

As for comparing losses-completely futile. I might be of the minority, but I happen to believe that life begins at conception and not birth. This is life that you lost and don't feel like you ever need to apologize for grieving those losses. Shoot-I grieved the loss of my five embryos-they were precious to me and I will remember them always.

mrslilypond said...

you know.... all this means...
that reader was a B!%&ch with a capital B.

Joy said...

Since when are people keeping track? Sounds like someone is just incredibly bitter and needs to probably get some counseling to help in her grief.

Just because you got pregnant and carried to term doesn't negate all of the losses you have experienced!

Multiple miscarries does mean infertility and doctors treat it as such. Nothing wrong with due dates on your sidebar.

While I don't think you HAVE to change your blog name, I think it'd be a beautiful way to begin a new chapter in your life. I'd have to think about it but I'm sure we could all brainstorm some wonderful ideas. But do this because you want to, not out of guilt because some opinionated, bitter woman can't mind her own business.

Joy said...

I read the excerpts aloud to my husband and he yelled, "Oh give me a break! What a freakin' B!" And he's a pastor so you can imagine what a big deal it is for him to say that... like a big deal. He's very angry that someone could be so inconsiderate. *HUGS*

Ms. J said...

Sorry, I hafta cut to the chase here . . . whoever wrote that is a cold, mean, heartless, misguided b*tch.

If you choose not to post my comment, I understand.

But that was just so incredibly cruel it's mindboggling. Even if someone THINKS that way . . . to actually take time to EMAIL that to somebody?! WTF?!

I hope the Lord (or somebody) warms her soul.

Waiting Amy said...

Katie, you've already heard all the right things. It is a shame that in a community of those who have suffered pain, that anyone would (intentionally or not) inflict more pain. For that, I am sorry.

Keep your blog title, it is part of who you are, whether or not you have reached the other side.

Samantha said...

First, about that letter, let me just say, WTF!! That letter makes me angry. Then I will say you handled yourself more graciously that I could have. Finally, I will say you have gotten so much good information from the previous comments, that I don't even know what to add!

You have taken the statistical bullet. Very few of the rest of us have gone through as many miscarriages as you have. As Searching said, your history and lost children shaped the way for this current child, for better and for worse.

AwkwardMoments said...

i had a long post .. blogger ate it - I'm alil miffed about it- sum of it-I think the email is uncalled for and ridiculous. There are all kinds of odds that you have had to statistically bite the bullet on and there will unfortunately be more - You keep the name unless you want a new one!

Geohde said...

Yes, different losses may feel different to different women, but loss is loss, and your emailer doesn't quite seem to grasp that.

You are entitled to feel what you felt for each of your losses, women who lose babies at term do not have the magnitude of their grief lessened by yours. It isn't a limited quantity that should be doled out to those deemed more 'deserving'. The Pain Olympics approach isn't fair to anyone.

I'm sorry you get sent a hurtful email,


Rebel With.A.Cause said...

Geez, that is the biggest load of shit!! I am so sorry that someone felt the need to try to beat you down like that, but hey *uck 'um!!!

As so many other have put it, you have taken that statistical bullet, hell I couldn't have gone through what you have endured and made it sanely out the other side!!

You hang in there sweetie, because Little Man is COMING HOME!!!


Amy said...

dude, that emailer can kiss it! freedom of speech BIOCH! I got your back always lady! xoxoxoxo

G$ said...

Comparing loss and grief is fucking lame. That emailer can kiss my ass.

Anonymous said...

I'm with all the short-and-sweet ladies here: that emailer is a hopeless bitch.

And your response here was *so* gracious. There's no way I could have been that mature. Bravo.

tryingin2007 said...

one word. WOW! for a stranger to take the time to write that email to you really amazes me. it's shocking actually. you (we all) are entitled to our feelings. there is something totally f*cked up with someone telling you how you should or should not feel. that's blatantly wrong. and then to tell you that you were not infertile. he/she is a big dumba$$. I'm sorry you had receive such a bitter and ignorant email.

Adriane said...

Well, that's just bullshit. I honestly can't believe someone feels this way, let alone took the time to write an email and send it to you. Katie - What you've been through is unimaginable to me. Multiple losses - at various stages. You have lost children, whether this person wants to admit it or not.

And questioning the title of your blog? Please. Taking the statistical bullet for all kinds of things. Getting pregnant. Staying pregnant. How does she know what you meant? Moreover, why would you change it? (Very witty blog title, BTW.)

Clearly, this person is a nut job. If I knew who this was, I would hunt her down and kick her ass. (My brother always says that when someone is not nice to me. And, I love to hear it!) I hope she reads my comment and sees my blog and sends me an email. I won't be as gracious as you have been.

Kristen said...

I'm sorry you were led to question yourself over this email. I can't say it any better than PPs but I, too, believe that comparing loss does no good. We should be there for our fellow sisters whether they lose a baby at 5 weeks, 35 weeks or even after birth. One baby or five babies. You have just as much of a right to express your pain as anyone else suffering.

I have wondered whether I am still considered "infertile" after my ordeal. I see us as IF survivors. Would she tell a cancer survivor that they didn't suffer as much as another patient because they didn't die from the disease? We have both had traumatic experiences that have led us down the roads we are travelling. And you can see by the number of people writing here that you have made so much of an impact to so many.

Please don't change the name. XOXO

Prairie Girl said...

Everyone has said exactly what I was thinking! I do not think you should change the title of your blog!

To me this person is the type who likes to make other's feel worse just to make herself feel better! Your losses are losses no matter what!!

(((Hugs)))The world is full of idiots, which clearly, that person IS!