Monday, July 21, 2008

Sensitivity training

I think dealing with infertility gives us a much heightened sense of maturity and sensitivity. Our sensors towards others are sharpened, and we know how to lend support without offering advice or suggestions or "prescriptions". We are also sensitive to other people's struggles, and try not to ask insensitive questions or make hurtful remarks because we KNOW how bad it hurts inside to be on the receiving end.

Something happened on one of the message boards recently that has stayed in my mind, and I wanted to write about it. One of the members received an invitation from a fertile friend to a "Baby Splendor" party. She was infuriated that the friend who was hosting the party had been so insensitive to her situation and had sent out a very upbeat and peppy email inviting her to attend. Needless to say my friend from the board (I will call her J1) was upset. Not just upset, but incensed! She posted a message on the board asking if she was over-reacting, and if we agreed with her being agitated. Of course everyone agreed that she was justified in her emotions and anger. People also suggested how she should respond back to her friend. Most of us were over polite. Then one other member (I will call her J2) typed out a whole email that J1 could send to her friend. While the email sounded direct and very frank, I think it put the point across very very well. I will paste the contents of the suggested email here:

" It really took me by surprise that you sent me the baby party invite. It also really hurt my feelings because we are having so much trouble getting pregnant, and I did not feel that you were being sensitive to that. This has been an extraordinarily painful process for me, and I wish you understood that better. Is there anything that you want me to share with you to help you understand? Imagine what your life would be, if given the same challenge. There are a lot of things we can talk about. The exasperating cycle of hope and disappointment, the feeling of my body failing me, wondering if I may ever be able to get pregnant even after all of this stress, the hormone fluctuations and the physical ways the treatments are painful to me, the scheduling my life around my irregular cycle and doctor's appointments, the incessant waiting, the expense of the treatments and the sacrifices that we are making to do them, never knowing when this is going to end or how. If there is anything I can do to help you understand, please let me know. 

I have some websites you can read - about giving support to people you know with infertility. I promise that most of the time, it does not take much. It would mean a lot to me if you would look into them, because I think it would help you better understand the breadth and scope of what we are dealing with daily.

Needless to say, I will not be able to join you for the party. I know that you will have a great time. You will be a terrific hostess"

I read this again and again, and wished that somehow, some way, all the friends of all of us battling infertility could get a little sensitivity training. I know it's impossible to expect everyone to be sensitive, and in a lot of ways, the ways in which our community reacts to our struggles and losses makes it very clear to us which of our friends care. I have seen that in the last 7 months. I know very clearly who rose up to help us and reach out to us, and who didn't bother (or maybe didn't know what to say - but in those cases I would say you don't have to know what to say, you don't even HAVE to say anything, just reaching out and giving us a hug means a lot)

On another topic - meanwhile, my body is still in limbo. I am waiting for the methotrexate to kick in and do something. I was told the site of the ectopic would pain for about a week. It has been 3 days now, but I haven't had much pain, but for a few twinges here and there. 

I go back tomorrow for another blood HcG test, and we'll know more then. Till then, hanging.....



heavenlytini said...

yeah i read that and its true some of my friends need a class in sensitivity!!! but sometimes its like commone sense as with the girl on the board. in what fairy tale land does a friend send an invite like that to a friend she knows is struggling with IF. i can't inderstand it. i mean what could she have psossibly been thinking i wonder!!!i just feel sorry for the girl who had to read it!!!

Earl Gearl said...

I hope everything went well today. You've been in my thoughts. About your comment on my last rant...I mean blog, you've never said anything that has offended me. Thank you for being such a friend through this difficult process. I wish I could be more like you.