"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are...

We've all heard that trite phrases...don't judge a book by its cover. Parenting and infertility really drive home the truth behind the words. For some reason, people seem to be all to willing to offer assvice or asshat comments when it comes to getting pregnant, being pregnant, and raising your kids. Perfect strangers who don't have a clue what your life is really like or what you've gone trhough to get the kids you have judge the situation by its appearance. Perfect strangers who wouldn't dream of offering you marital advice will be more then happy to comment on your pregnancy (or lack thereof) or your family building. Family members who wouldn't tell you how to feel about anything else will be happy to tell you how to feel about getting pregnant.

When I was a nanny for two young kids, I use to not only take them to preschool but I would attend pre-school events with them. We were at a preschool event and I was about 20 weeks pregnant with my first child and the youngest of my charges wanted to be picked up. When I told the child I could only hold him for a few moments and indicated my tummy, I got a sneering "Just what you need...another child" from one of the other parents there. And, yes, it was said TO me. Even if the other two kids I was with were mine, she had no damned right to judge me based on the number of kids I had.

If someone has one or more kids (all the same sex), do NOT assume a pregnancy or the attempt to get pregnant means they are trying for a child of the other sex. While there are people who do that, a comment of "Oh, so you must be hoping for a girl." stands every chance of bringing a heap of vitriolic ranting down on your head if you say this to someone who has been through infertility.

If someone has 1 or more children at home, do NOT tell them "You shouldn't be so desperate to have another child." Do not presume to tell them how they should feel. You do not know their reasons for wanting another child. You do not know what they have been through to get to where they are.

Just because someone is a SAHM, do not assume they have time to help with anything and everything and do not assume they must be very well off financially. Many households with SAHMs scrimp and save and cut corners wherever they can so the mom can stay home. And, just because a woman is a SAHM, that does not mean she is lazy and sits in front of the tv eating bon bons and watching soaps all day. Many SAHMs have extremely busy and extremely full schedules.

Don't assume someone is selfish because they are persuing a pregnancy of their own rather than "just adopting"...grrrrr. Once again, their situation may not be what it appears to be on the surface.

Don't be guilty of judging by appearances. You never know when you may find yourself in the very situation you presumed you had the answer to.

Have you had any run ins where you were judged by appearances? How did you handle them?

*can anyone tell me where the post title comes from?


Rebecca said...

Ah yes...I have had multiple (read: daily) runin's with judgemental people who think it is their inherent right just because they have children and can procreate just by looking at someone of the opposite sex to tell me what I should or shouldn't do in regards to my infertility treatments. Of course, the whole "why don't you just adopt" question gets my hackles up like no other. At first, I hedged the subject and tried to ignore it. Now, four years of infertility (and a whole lot of anger and lost brain filters) later...I simply reply "Well, why didn't you?" It usually tips off a big discussion (or argument) about the issue and usually leaves me seething and in tears, but more often than not I get my point across. Ok, so not the best analogy, but it's true!

I have to admit, I'm guilty (out of jealousy and similar emotions) of wondering why people feel the need to complain that they can't get pregnant with their 3rd or 4th child. The selfish infertile part of me wants to scream "Enough! Leave a few babies out there for me to have one!"...but then I realize that's irrational and not fair to project my pain onto someone elses life choices. Goodness knows people probably don't agree with mine.

People just need to learn when to keep their mouths shut. :)


Bluebird said...

I love this post because it sums up so many things. Its easy to focus on the fact that people should assume x when we're in that situation - but this rediculousness is spread so far and wide its hard to believe!

The one thing that IF and losing our babies has taught me is to be more compassionate - to assume the best instead of the worst about people. We have no - no - idea what others are going through. I'm glad for this lesson, don't get me wrong - I think it has made me a better person. . . I just wish I could have learned it some other way :)

Anonymous said...

If I hear one more person tell me that we should "just adopt" I'll go ballistic. That comment comes from such a place of ignorance that I can never decide whether to address it or ignore it. Even my sister, who adopted, tells me we should just adopt!

Another comment that I get from people is "you have plenty of time." They say this because I look younger than I am and also because they believe that people can get pregnant in their 40s. Even my acupuncturist told me this - until I reminded her that I was turning 40 and then she changed her tune.

I am sure there are more but I'll wait to hear what everyone else says.


Jen said...


on to your post...I could not agree more. We have 6 kids, I stay at home. By no means are we rich, quite the opposite, but we budget everything. I still get comments..."are you done yet" "do you know what causes that" all stupid ones people usually think are hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Jen beat me on the Meatloaf answer...darn.

I think that this tendency to get into other people's business around procreation and child-rearing issues stems from the feeling that we are invested in the future of other people's children, somehow. Not that that excuses it, at all, but I think that it where it might come from.

Thanks for your kind comment on my blog. (ICLW) :)

Mama Bear said...

awesome post - really made me think!

Tanyetta said...

That's right!!!!!

I love this post. People should honestly keep their trap shut. Unless of course we ask for their opinion, then, that's a different story. But, to just open their trap and let it run without a mute button? NOOOOOOO! Please, just stop!

Antigone said...

Today. I had to go to a municipal building, carrying my 7 week old son. I was there to fix a utility discrepancy. The clerk made it pretty clear to me that she didn't approve of single mothers.

Jo said...

Thank you.

Can we forward this (broadcast it, SPAM it, jam it into the BRAINS) of fertiles -- hell, everyone -- everywhere?

theworms said...

Great post. I hate people who love to make comments when they have clue what me and dh are going through or any of us for that matter. Unless you are in it everyday, you have no clue.


Erica said...

In my experiences, people who have NOTHING good to say are always the ones who seem to speak. I actually had a co-worker ask me, "Are you still doing that whole IVF thing? You watch, when it doesn't work, you'll probably get pregnant on your own." She didn't even have the decency to say "if it doesn't work." Instead she spoke on a topic she didn't understand and almost lost a few limbs. Lucky for her, I wasn't on Lupron at the time.
GRRRRRRR!!!! Judgemental people suck...although I guess I'm being judgemental when making that statement.
Thanks for posting this and stopping by my blog! It's nice to meet you. :)

InfertileMadWoman said...

No no that isn't Meatloaf, it is on the mirrors on my car!!!

Ok, I am a blonde and I just felt the overwhelming desire to be a total smart ass!!!

Love ya sweetie!!!

Beautiful Mess said...

Great post! I did get a few stupid remarks when I was trying to conceive Zilla, but really pisses me off is the opposite of comments. I on occasion, get "teased" about why we won't have any more children. Most of these people know our history about miscarriages and how long it took us to conceive Zilla. They hurt me because if things were different, I would like to have another.

Mijke said...

Aren't they the best? Ignorant people with big mouths?

I'm already worried about what people will say if I'm ever lucky enough to get pregnant again. And I don't even mean strangers, I mean the people that are near us, like, er, my mom. She said some stupid things while we were in the middle of IVF treatments that I still have not completely forgiven her for (as in "When a woman can't get pregnant, maybe it just isn't supposed to be!". Yes, from my own mother!! She didn't mean it the way it came out, or so she says, but it still hurts big time!)

Our last IVF resulted in b/g twins and you wouldn't believe the amount of people that have said to me "Great! A boy and a girl! You're done!"

The first year, I thought the same thing. But me thinking it or them saying it are two completely different things!

Besides, I wasn't thinking: "Good, at least it's not two girls or two boys, cause then of course we would HAVE to try again." I was more along the lines of: "How lucky we are to have two healthy children!! I don't think we'll ever get this lucky again, so let's just stop right here..."

We have a decision to make about the 3 "leftover" embryo's (boy do I hate to call them that) from that last succesful IVF. And we're leaning towards giving it a go. Because we would love to experience a pregnancy again (please let it be a LONGER one this time, though), we would love another child in our lives. One of the things that's holding me back right now is what people (aka my mother, among others) will say if we do end up pregnant. Or if we start trying again but it won't "work". What they will say either way.

Stupid, how something someone MIGHT say when something MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT happen, can have such a big influence on the choices you make.

With other things (like, er, the way I look) I have never given a rat's ass what people think and say, but with anything to do with IF and pregnancy and the premature birth of our twins I am so sensitive. It still hurts so much, and even though I try to just bite my tongue and smile (not easy to do simultaneously, I can tell you that much) I take in everything anybody says and I lie awake at night thinking about it.

Stupid, right?

Oh, and of course there's the guilt. Man, that guilt. That I would even dare to THINK about another pregnancy when we already have two children and there's so many people who are desperately trying for their first! When we were still on the other side, hoping we would someday become parents, I too sometimes wanted to scream at people: "Why?? Why are you pregnant with your 2nd/3rd/4th child and complaining about all your little aches and pains, all your sleepless nights and busy days, when I can't even become pregnant with my 1st?!? I would go through hell and back just to be in your position ONCE!!!"

I wanted to. But I didn't.

People should just SHUT THE FUCK UP if they have nothing nice or comforting or helpful to say! And if they can't, let them just wait until I can't hear them say it...


ps I thought it was the car mirror as well, and I have always felt it's the other way around. Things always appear a lot further away than they actually are. They even warned me about that when I was taking lessons for my driver's licence (always look over your shoulder, too, cause that car will always be a lot closer than it looks). Did someone actually screw up with the text on those mirrors, or am I just an idiot?

Dora said...

WHAAAAAAT!?!?!?! No bonbons!?!?! Forget this! ;-)

Great post. If people don't agree with my choices, they are perfectly free not to make the same choices. Beyond that, Shut. The. F. Up!

Meari said...

Hmmm... wow. While I am totally empathetic to your feelings (been there), the first thoughts of Nadya Silverman came to mind. Yes, I may be judgmental on this... but she did NOT need to have 6 kids plus another 8. Now she's a single mom with no job and expects everyone else to "help" her raise these children. I have nothing against people having as many children as they want AS LONG AS they can support them on their own without taxpayer or government support.

With that said, it was inappropriate of that parent to say what he/she did while you were PG with your first one.