Is It Appropriate?

I’ve often wondered about this, but is it appropriate to share a negative experience with somebody going through a really rough time on the Infetility Support Forums? Should we allow our fellow IF and KuKd sisters to live with a tiny glimmer of hope, no matter how unrealistic it might be or should we share our experience and perhaps dash that glimmer of hope? I don’t know….

I’ve been around the block, so to speak, in terms of infertility, miscarriages, chemical pregnancies and fertility treatment. Hell I’ve been around the block a few times! I consider myself to be pretty much a veteran now, 6 years down the drag with 6 miscarriages, numerous chemical pregnancies, 3 IUI’s and 3 IVF’s all under my belt. Not to mention all the investigative tests and every alternative treatment under the sun attempted. In fact, I’ve pretty much survived everything infertility can throw at you, bar one experience, too terrifying, too shocking, too heartbreaking to even mention, I’m afraid to even think it let alone speak it, in case I speak it/think it too reality. I’ll give you a clue – two words, first word starts with an N and the second word is loss…

As an active member of Fertilicare I often see the newbies come and go, so sparkly and new and unbroken, so full of hope, able to turn even the most negative of circumstances into something positive, so naive, so sure that everything will work out. Not like me, all battered and bruised, with my back broken, dragging myself along on this journey, praying for a positive outcome but expecting the worst. I’ve had to sit back and have the shiny people say things to me like “Just pray really hard and your baby will be fine”. Well Sweetheart, if you knew how I have begged, pleaded and bargained with God to save every single one of my babies, you’d understand why your comment makes me want to reach through this computer and bitch slap you.

Do I dash the hopes of the shiny, sparkly people? Not to be mean, but to prepare them for what might and probably is about to come or do I just keep quiet and watch as they set themselves up for a huge fall? Is it wrong to be like them? All shiny and new and full of optimism or is it better to be like me? Jaded? I worry about girls who I see battling through a 2ww convincing themselves they’re pregnant, their optimistic postings in the pregnancy chat sections about symptoms, do I encourage them by saying “Yes yes, those are definitely pregnancy symptoms” or am I honest and truthful and say “Listen Love, those symptoms you’re describing, those are from all the hormones and medications that’s pumping through your system now”. When they get there low HCG counts and try to convince themselves that its going to be a positive out come, do I tell them about all my chemical pregnancies and about the chances that theirs is a chemical as well? When they do an HPT that shows a faint positive, do I tell them not to get excited until the second blood test, regardless of how difficult that is? Do I tell them how an HPT is not to be trusted, about how all of my chemical pregnancies showed up as faint positives despite the fact that my HCG counts were as low as 8. That despite the fact that the HPT pamphlet says that it can only detect HCG from 25 and higher, that they can in fact detect from far lower numbers than that?

Do I make myself the nasty bitch that’s so bitter and jaded that she no longer believes in miracles, not for herself or any of her fellow infertiles? Do I tell the truth and run the risk of having my fellow IF and KuKd sisters think I’m incapable of being joyful and optimistic for others?

So, do I tell the truth or just keep quiet?

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8 Comments

  • Reply Maritza

    Hmmm…

    My answer to this would be that everyone looks for a glimmer of hope, always, and the newer you are at the whole TTC thing the more you seek that glimmer and ignore the rest.

    Recalling my last BFN, Tertia was rather factual about her opinion of me not testing positive on HPT at 14dpo, to be hounest, I did not want to believe it, but I’m glad she was hounest. She simply stated what the average result should be at that point, and left it at that. Knowing those facts helped me prepare myself, but she allowed for that fraction of possibility, the fraction that kept me from bursting out in tears and giving up before it was over.

    I don’t think it is our place to shatter hopes (hell you need every last bit to survive), but we can help our fellow sisters be a little more realistic and help them break their fall by being neutral and factual. Rather speak in generalities and averages.

    I think most of us go through the cycle of extreme hopefulness that gradually levels down to a more realistic approach. In my opinion you should allow people to follow the natural course of learning and let them come to their own realisations.

    This does not mean you should mislead them into unrealistic expectations to preserve their hope. I think the golden rule is to match their own mood and even try to lift it a little, but not too much. They will soon enough learn the pitfalls of being over optimistic themselves, but let’s not try and ripen them to a point that they may not be emotionally ready for.

    You have the benefit of hindsight, for them everything is still brand spanking new and exciting.

    July 9, 2008 at 11:06 am
  • Reply samcy

    Shaz, this is a good question, one I think that has no clear answer…

    In my opinion I think how you respond to the person at hand is dependant on who they are… Some of the newbies are naturally cautious in their optimism and can handle the truth better, but there are those that are too new and too sparkly to handle the truth. When one is confronted with someone who is new and optimistic (cos aren’t we all on some level? otherwise there is NO point in doing all this stuff…) who can handle the truth, I think gentle factual advise is called for…

    When one is faced with a sparkly newbie who just won’t be able to hear the bad of the situation I think it is up to us “vets” (can I call myself vet?) to maybe take a step back and keep our cynisim to ourselves – I mean we were once in their shoes too and we learnt the hard way that sometimes one just needs to have a bit of reservedness (is that even a word?) I guess it falls down to what we think they are emotionally ready to handle in terms of “the truth”

    Because each person HAS to walk their own journey on the infertile road, whatever it takes to get them through is what is needed, whether that be a bitch slap, some factual gentle advise, some hardcore advise or just a step back to watch them take the fall.

    I suppose the best thing one can do is be there for those who seek help after the fall has taken place.

    Thanks for this post – has given me some serious food for thought.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:02 pm
  • Reply Sharon

    Thanks for your comment Sam.

    Its something I really think about all the time. I’m never sure how to respond. If I should share my own experiene or just keep quiet, I don’t know.

    And my post is not about being mean either, thats the last thing I want. I just wish from my own personal experience that when I was all shiny and new that somebody had pulled me aside and given me a reality check, instead I had to fall a few times and really hurt in the process. But just because I feel that way doesn’t mean that everybody else does.
    Know what I mean?

    And I have at times on the forum seen somebody post about something where I think “Yikes, that’s not good” and everybody is all supportive and then you get one person who comes in and rips the rug out from under the poor shiny person. I don’t want to be the rug ripper, but I hate seeing people get set up for false hope as well. Reality bites, but I still prefer it over false expectations.
    I dunno, I still haven’t decided what my stance is on this.

    July 9, 2008 at 1:08 pm
  • Reply samcy

    I hear what you are saying, and I by no means thought this had anythign to do with being mean (apologies if it sounded that way)

    I think one has to be careful on forums cos so much can be lost in the translation of what is written… you cannot see the body lingo of the person and you cannot hear the tone of what they are saying – you can say a “shitty” thing in a nice way by softening ones tone or giving a hug etc… So much of what is “said” on forums depends on how the person receiving the advise perceives it at the time of reading it – if they are having a shit day they could take it in the wrong way… And I don’t think that ppl who are on forums will think you are being a rug puller if you are honest and tell them like it is in a reasonable factual manner whilst still offering support. I think that most ppl would prefer to have the honest share than the ‘glittering babydust maybe maybe” share…

    I personally would prefer brutal honestly even if it hurt me a bit to hear it cos that is the kind of person I am but others like to only hear good things… Ostrich syndrome perhaps? But if that is what gets them through the tough times then who are we to judge? KWIM?

    July 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm
  • Reply Chantal

    Hey S

    That is why when I got on in VET years, I became very weary of support forms because I was very jaded and very bitter. I totally withdrew and kept my bitterness and venom to myself.

    Infertility is a process and people have to go through the various phases, please let them never become VETS but if that is their destiny, then they would have gone through infertility cycle and its phases, it is ultimately what shapes them and moulds them not only in infertility but their in their personality and life in general. Like the grieving process, if you skip straight to the acceptance phase at the end you will never truly make peace with the loss.

    There are always so many miracle stories where it never did and never would have worked for me but for so many others the miracle always does and will happen and they will never have to suffer too much harshness, they have no need to know about the pain of being a VET and to be honest I truly envy them, I wish I could still be sparkly and optimistic instead of where I am, never truly believing. I think being optimistic would be the preferred option for me.

    There are people who straight out ask for the brutal truth, if they really really want to know about the harsh reality then I will tell them but in general I keep quiet and as a rule stayed away from forums for my and their peace of mind ?.

    Just my 2 cents
    C

    July 9, 2008 at 3:15 pm
  • Reply Mrs Woggie

    You know what? I’m new at this whole infertility thing. I like honesty when it comes to these things. I don’t want to be spurted a whole heap of things I WANT to hear. I want to be told straight down the line. “Maybe, you are. But in all honestly probably you are not.” I used to like hearing the other stuff, but I think allowing others to convince me, just breaks my heart when it doesn’t come into being. And if they are wrong and I am in fact pregnant, well yay!! But chances are, I’m not!!

    July 10, 2008 at 2:31 am
  • Reply Rosy

    Hi Shari,

    My two cents worth? The content of your post is exactly the reason why I LOVE http://www.fertilicare.co.za. When I’m ‘up’ to it, I can visit the TTC Tea Room and smile in amazement at the incredible optimism of some ladies, but most of the time I visit the TTC VETS Tea Room where I KNOW the ladies are more realistic, more honest and yes, more jaded. Because we are. Jaded that is. And I’m at a point where I allow myself (and others) to be/feel jaded. Because it’s so pointless in lying to yourself. I’m not a negative pessimist, I am a realistic idealist – if that makes any sense at all and I prefer to ‘tell it like it is’ ala Dr. Phil…….. xx

    July 13, 2008 at 4:20 pm
  • Reply Kris

    August 18th will be exactly 5 years ago that I lost my daughter at 18 weeks. I was one of those shiny happy people that actually thought with the first round of clomid and OMG! I’m pregnant. Unfortuantly for me, this was only the begining on a downward spirial. I tried again afterward with injections and IVF and IUF and was unsuccessful and finally wrapped my mind around the fact that it was just never meant to be. I wish that I would have had someone in my corner that was cheering for me but also gave me a healthy dose of reality that just because you hope, pray, and baragain for something and then finally get it doesn’t mean that your battle is over and that the unthinkable can’t and won’t happen. With this knowledge I may have been able to except the outcome with a little more florish then a damaged marriage and a terror of ever having it happen again. I’m 28 years old with no children and I am thinking of discussing a hysterctomy so I don’t have to go the terrible pain and disappointment of loss again. So maybe I too am jaded.

    July 13, 2008 at 9:29 pm
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