I’m the Insensitive Asshole

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.

18 thoughts on “I’m the Insensitive Asshole

  1. Cyn

    This was a courageous post. I also think it was an important introspection. I don’t think you’re an asshole at all just someone who was so deeply buried in grief & his own trauma that he wasn’t able to see an inch in front of him. I hope more healing comes your way and smooths away some of the jagged edges.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Still after this experience, I expect more of myself to be more open minded and empathetic. It definitely is a learning experience.

  2. Kitten

    I completely agree with Cyn. I don’t think you’re an asshole. Yes, you’ve lashed out, perhaps unfairly, but who among us hasn’t done so out of pain? I appreciate your apology and kind words. I’m glad I could help you see things from a different perspective. I hope we can all learn to understand and support each other better.

  3. Justine Froelker

    So proud of your courage in circling back and owning this. I always write, the lifelong costs and losses of infertility, they stay with us as soul scars forever, no matter our ending. I know this took so much bravery to post, amazing! J

  4. hollye7916

    I agree with all the ladies. You aren’t an asshole, you just play one sometimes when you’re really grieving. I do appreciate your apology and the ownership of your actions, that’s not an easy thing to do. I’m glad it finally clicked with you. I hope this helps you in your own attempt at some healing as well.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      Where it helps the most is interacting with others and understanding why they act a certain way and not taking offense to it. 🙂

  5. Jenn

    Most people when realizing they were wrong, don’t even bother trying to make it right. They just move on from it. You chose to own up to it, and that is why you’re not as asshole. We’re all flawed, and infertility just escalates them, especially on social media. We are a big group of resentful, bitter, jerk faces. It is impossible not to offend someone at some point. But I think Kitten’s post brought up a lot of excellent points from the other side that those of us on this side never even considered.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      You’re right, making things right is two fold: First it’s recognizing what you did wrong and second is taking steps to make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice.

      Social media even though you have that “send ” button does tend to remove our filters and lead us to say things that we wouldn’t say to others in person.

  6. NotSoNewtoIVF

    Don’t be too hard on yourself Greg, nothing about this journey is easy and you’re just fumbling along like the rest of us. You’re right, no one wants to dwell on trauma once they’re past it. …but I’d still like to be past than in it!! Xx

  7. Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy

    You know what,, you might have had some great breakthrough, but I still think you ARE an insensitive asshole. In fact, the way you throw MY FOUR kids in my face all the time and then get on me for not fostering, really makes me feel that you just have so much resentment for me because I have children.. and you probably hate me for giving one away too. So Greg, this is goodbye. After the last few days on Twitter, I am blocking you. And I will not unblock you this time. We are through. You are a huge time suck and a waste of my time. And even though YOU think I do not DO enough or what the fuck ever.. I have LOTS of work to do HELPING people. Have a nice life.

    1. gsmwc02 Post author

      I realize that sometimes I don’t explain myself well but I’ll give it a try. I don’t hate or resent you for having children. What my issue is being annoyed at you for utilizing sad stories as a weapon for your cause when you have the power to physically help people. Not every kid is lucky enough to have a supportive parent and/or role model as your kids are. Instead of using these stories why not help some of these kids? If you are going to suggest others do it, you should as well. You don’t need to Foster either. You could always volunteer or set up some type of an organization to help kids in some way. Maybe a pregnancy crisis center (obviously non adoption agency) to help women through their pregnancies and parent their children. I really believe you’d be great at it. Your heart is in the right place when you apply it.

      You’re right, I think it’s best if we stay clear of one another. I wish you the best on your journey and hope you are able to make a difference beyond just advocacy work.


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