For those who have followed this blog know that something I have preached is people in the infertility community not forgetting where they came from. To many times I saw people who became pregnant or parents disappearing and/or saying insensitive things to people who had not yet resolved their infertility. It didn’t seem right to be that people who got their happy ending leaving those who had not yet resolved or would never resolve behind. It led to many intense debates and shaming of these people for in my mind not doing the right thing.
A few days ago on a social media forum, a comment was made by someone who had an insensitive remark thrown at them by someone who had resolved their infertility with a child. The usual empathy for the person was thrown their way saying how sorry they were that they had to deal with that and that there friend was wrong for leaving them in the dust.
But there was one person who made the remark that maybe that person wasn’t trying to be insensitive, maybe that person was trying to protect themselves from triggering feelings that stemmed from their battles with infertility. It was something that I had never thought of that made me wonder, “Am I the Insensitive Asshole?”. When I thought about it on the surface, I didn’t think I was. I mean the person with the kid had it good they resolved their infertility they have a family, what could they be sad or upset about? I’m the one who will never become a parent. When I dug deeper and empathized with that situation (even though it’s something I’ll never experience), I realized that the person was right. Infertility scars a person for life and there are fears that are never resolved even by becoming a parent. It fucks you up in all aspects of life. It was then I realized that all along, I’ve been the Insensitive Asshole.
A person who has resolved their infertility with a pregnancy and/or child keeps their distance from those still working through things to avoid triggers. The same way a person still working through things avoids things that trigger themselves. Or the same way anyone who has had a traumatic experience avoids things that trigger them. It isn’t selfish of either party to do so. If you aren’t in a position to help someone, you shouldn’t. Rather than say the thing you wouldn’t want to be told to you, it’s best to keep your distance. It makes complete sense to me.
It makes even more sense to me after reading this blog post written by the person who enlightened me:
The truth is that infertility is traumatic. No one likes to think about a traumatic experience, and most people try to move on from trauma, don’t they?
I can’t begin to express how awful I feel after months of ridiculing those who I felt were forgetting where they were coming from. I was so wrapped up in my own grief that I couldn’t empathize with the other end of things. It was wrong and selfish of me to say the things I’ve said to people that they didn’t deserve. Rather than be supportive and empathetic I was the insensitive asshole. To those of you who I have offended, upset, guilted or shamed, I apologize. I know an apology is only as good as the actions that follow but I hope to learn from this and interact with others better than I have. And to the woman whose enlightening has made me see the error of my ways, I can’t thank you enough. You are a wonderful person and will be an even better mom.