The Pain Olympics

What is it with the infertility community at the moment? I’ve seen so much hate towards people who are in the process of achieving their dreams. I don’t understand – when did infertility become a competition?

I’ve heard Amy and I bitched about for it “only” taking twenty four cycles and two rounds of clomid. I’ve heard friends bitched about for it “only” taking one round of IVF, or for them having a surprise natural conception after not having a period for three years. I’ve heard people bitched about for “only” having one loss or none at all, or for being able to use their own gametes to make a baby rather than using donor materials. It amazes me that this community, who are so very supportive and wonderful during the days when you are really struggling, sometimes turn against those who reach the goal that we are all aiming for. I’ve even seen hatred towards people who have made the decision to stop trying and not try IVF and not go for adoption – that boggles my brain the most because that is one of the hardest and bravest decisions a couple can make in my opinion. I don’t see why someone should be hated on for ending their fertility journey.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been there. I have “muted” people on Twitter and Facebook after they have made a pregnancy announcement, and I think that looking after number one in these situations is really really important.  My “mute” list on Facebook after we lost Squishy had about twenty people on it, because I had to protect my heart. It’s hard when you are just scrolling through Facebook and all of a sudden there is a scan picture or a picture of a positive pregnancy test. It sounds overdramatIc, but those things could legitimately ruin my day. I remember there was a particular announcement that I cried for three hours over. But my point is, none of this is the fault of the person who is pregnant. It’s not their fault that you’re stuck in the infertility trenches. That’s why I mute, because that person isn’t even aware that you have muted them.

I think that’s the overwhelming message here. I am respectful of my friends who are still struggling. I generally post scan pictures in the comments on Facebook, so that they don’t invade people’s timelines. I use the #pgpost tag on Twitter so that people can mute my pregnancy updates if they wish. As I said, it’s important to look after number one and I would never intentionally hurt someone. However, and this is the crux, do those who have achieved their dream not have the right to be happy?

We’re all aiming for the same thing here. Whether it is a natural conception, whether it takes two rounds of clomid, or one round of IVF, we are aiming for the same goal. I know how lucky I am to not be able to understand the pain of multiple failed IVFs or not being able to have children at all. But as we are all aiming for the same goal, I don’t get why there is such hatred towards those who achieve it from a small part of the community. Now that I’m pregnant, I hope the same happens for those still waiting. That hasn’t gone away. I still think of and speak to friends in the infertility community often, even those who have blocked me are in my thoughts and I hope every one of them reach an ending that they are happy with. We can’t judge other people by our own situation, because fact is there is always someone better off and always someone worse off.

Because let’s face it, whether we conceive through sex, clomid, injectables, donor materials, IVF, surrogacy, adoption or the decision is made to stop at any point in the journey and remain child free, we all deserve the same amount of respect. Everyone’s story is different, but that doesn’t make anyone’s more valued than anyone else’s. Let’s not hate on each other, because infertility is a bitch and those scars don’t just disappear because you become pregnant or end your journey in another way. The community is wonderful – let’s keep it that way by muting when we need to, looking after number one and not hating on people just because they achieved their dream. Infertility is the bitch here – let’s not be bitches towards one another.

(I borrowed the phrase “The Pain Olympics” from a wonderful friend)

This entry was posted in 2015, Clomid, Community, difficulty, infertility, Infertility and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to The Pain Olympics

  1. Well said. The struggle is real and hard and painful, and support is so important.

  2. GingerPanda says:

    Absolutely true! I try to never do this to people, because it hurts so much to be on the other end of. The only time I ever bring up my journey is if it looks like someone is going on a similar one, and I think there might be some way I can help, or a little piece of advice I can give. “Pain Olympics” is a wonderful phrase to describe what you’re talking about. We all have our journeys, and they are all different.

  3. MamaWannaBe says:

    I admit I have been envious to see people growing their families, but in no way judging or weighing their struggle against mine. And I always hope people have the best possible outcome: bringing home a healthy child, no matter how they got there.
    I would much rather be supportive than be rotten to anyway who is also on this journey. This is a tough road to be on.

  4. Curious B says:

    It definitely feels like the Olympics sometimes, especially if you’ve been trying for so long and so have others who you are close to. When one achieves the goal the other can feel left out or left behind. I think it’s that feeling paired with general jealousy that cause the hurtful conversations to happen. It’s hard to step back sometimes and be supportive but if we are self-aware we could all be capable of this. This was a great post to read!

  5. True Hugbo says:

    I’m curious as to where you are seeing all this? I can honestly say I’ve never really come across it, at least not WITHIN the infertility community. I do see a lot of it directed towards the “fertiles” but I’ve honestly never seen somebody scoff at somebody else b/c they’ve had one less round of IVF?

  6. herheadache says:

    Great title for a difficult topic.

  7. tally says:

    Such a good article lovely well done, I have been heart broken by the response I have had from some ladies on twitter due to our little miracle, even though we still have many many hurdles ahead. I feel this whole thing is like a competition of who deserves it the most and its hurtful. I have heard comments about dh and I as we didn’t end up going through the IVF (booked to start 2 days after our bfp) but what these people don’t know is our long story… my multiple surgeries, the endless injections and dildocam apts a week, the pain of swollen cysts and expected endo…. I have always been happy for those who have conceived even though deep down I wished it was me. I hope I still show that same support to others now. I couldn’t imagine slating anyone on their success as in my eyes we are all on the same struggle and endless journey… some of us are just extremely lucky to go off path onto a short cut we didn’t realise would pave a new way for us to the end goal. xxx

  8. Penny Lane says:

    Really does sound like misdirected anger and bitter jealousy. It’s a painful roller coaster. Who else better to rage at than the woman who got pregnant sooner? My friend has struggled terribly with secondary infertility, she gets the old ‘you should be lucky at least you had one child’ from people that have had no luck at all, and she’s incredibly bitter and twisted about anyone that’s had an abortion in the past and then gets pregnant. So there seems to be personal degrees of moral high ground and judgement. But that can be applied to most support forums in all subjects. There seems to be people that think others are some how less deserving or feel they have suffered worst. It’s hard to maintain objectivity when there’s so much emotion and potential financial loss at stake. I know it’s hurtful, it’s inexcusable and intolerable. But you’ve met some great people. Let the angry ones deal with their stuff and focus on the positive people who can share your misery and joy. Once the baby comes, there will be a whole new wave of judgemental people to deal with!

  9. This is so well said. And great title – I am going to use the phrase ‘Pain Olympics’ again, for sure.

    I ‘get’ people who do this. I’m sure I’ve done it myself. Infertility has this weird ability to make someone so bitter, they can’t see past their own haze of pain. But playing the pain olymptics doesn’t help, it just makes the pain worse, and more isolating. I remember how often I’ve been shocked to find a friend who I thought was “so damn fertile” actually had several failed rounds of IUIs, or that people who I thought were “so lucky” had as many or more losses than myself. Or even more shocking – people who had no problems whatsoever, but it turns out that doesn’t make them a bad person, or worthy of my scorn whatsoever. Who would have thought?!

    I don’t know if it is because of historical baggage about gender roles, or religious morality about sex, or what other nonsense thing humanity worked up, but reproduction is about as judgement laden as anything gets. I am working on freeing myself from this baggage, and posts like this help so much.

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