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As always, very well said Tertia. Thank you. Whenever there is some natural disaster and somebody on the news has lost their home and all of their belongings they always say, "I still have my family and that's all that matters." Ask any parent what's the most important thing in the world and they will say their children. And they would give up both their arms and legs.

Well said. We can feel blessed and face challenges at the same time. The couple's email still disturbs me. To pull on your emotional strings like that was beyond crossing the line. While many times we can't change our circumstances we can change the way we handle them. I find it sad that the couple is spending their time and energy on hurting other people for their gain, and what is more disturbing is they have no idea how wrong it is.

"I posted it because I thought it spoke of the desperation these people must feel."

You understand their desperation and the anger, but you've also shown us that this kind of behaviour is unnecessary, and that the aim is far from justifying the means in such cases.

I guess that many of your commenters - fertile or not - feel rather protective about you. Look at you, look at all you've been through. It's been far more than losing just one baby. But despite your personal infertility hell, you've still managed to treat everyone else around you with _dignity_. Something Conrad's parents are obviously completely lacking.

You've set a standard here. A standard these people clearly do not live up to. Even worse still: They hurt you. And that's something your readers won't put up with; even less so if it's accompanied by comments such as the ones you've referred to.

(And just in case you're still reading here, Berto and Marlinda: How does it feel to be posting insults in the name of your deceased son? How do you think he would feel about it, if he could see you?)

You're one hell of a good writer, and this post just underlines that fact. Thanks for explaining this so clearly, I need to mark it for future reference, the next time someone misunderstands our way of experiencing pain because we're infertile.

I agree with everything you said and I think the "pain olympics" is silly.

That said I think I'm going to risk your hormone-ridden state and say that /some/ people suffering from infertility do go - not overboard, but they do seem to put it on other people to protect them from pain.

I am a survivor of really horrific child abuse, as well as having suffered from infertility and having lost a full-term infant after her birth. I have sat listening in amazement to people talking about happy childhoods after examining my scars, and been invited to baby showers after my daughter died in my arms. So I know what it is like to spend long nights weeping and having flashbacks and feeling completely wrecked on the shores of the hand life has dealt, and having stupid happy people around the next day.

From that perspective, though, I have to say that some people - some abuse survivors, some people suffering from infertility - really do kind of expect the world to make it up to them - to never say the wrong thing, do the wrong thing, and perhaps to give them money to make their dreams come true. They focus on that one issue - fertility, in this case - and assume that everyone who has what they don't is happier than them, excluding them, and other assumptions.

And although I understand the need (and there ARE really insensitive people and sometimes it IS too much) to express that, it still drives me absolutely batty when someone seems to expect that because they are suffering pain, others have an obligation to /make the suffering go away/.

I'm not talking about simple accomodation. I'm talking about a kind of grand sense of entitlement. And that, I think, is pretty intrusive and wrong. It's sort of like "well you have kids, so you have to fix my sadness about kids." And that's not on, because it's simply not respectful of the fact that everyone has their struggles and so on.

I read that into this mail, but that was me reading into it.

As always, you have a beautiful way of explaining your (and many of our) perspectives. It's not a game of who hurts most...what kind of sick game would that be anyway?

On a positive note I haven't commented in a long time because I've been busy enjoying my 8 week old daughter! After so many years of disappointment we were finally blessed to give birth to a beautiful healthy girl.

Well put as always T. And thank you for your comments about adoption not being second best or a consolation prize. You always word things so well.

Thinking of you during the 2ww.

two non-related points:

i am always slightly stunned at how blithely the burden to "provide homes for all the homeless children in the world who so desperately need them" is assigned to the infertile segment of the population, courtesy of their so-knowing friends, society, and culture.

i feel very very sorry for this couple.

Very well said. I didn't read all of the comments on the last post because I know it will just upset me.

But OMG I think the "you"s who don't get it need a reality check. And a few good expletitives.

Shandra, an excellent perspective, thank you!

Well said Tertia. You are a Strong Voice of Reason. and Understanding. You are an amazing person.

My personal view-point related to what people do or don't resort to and why. And only that. I make no commentary on degrees of pain but on what different people resort to and whether we can know their desperation.

As a fertile who has walked a short road with infertility, I have a bit an idea of the longing for a child when a child doesn't come. Not the desperation but something of the feeling of longing and hoping and the disappointment. That's what brought me here. But I have also walked other hard roads and made other choices that most people do not condone from within their subjective view-points. It is this issue which motivated my comments. When I think about my hardships and then I see honest, humble people just making do and not seeming to blame anyone or resenting their portion in life, it touches me. This is not whimsy - it's my desperation too.

Tertia, I am so sorry this has all come to what it did yesterday. I applaud your stance, and believe you are doing the right thing. And, I agree with all you posted. Well put. You are incredibly perspeptive about others pain, but you are not here to save the world.

I believe the van der Westhuizens may be telling the truth. I had a baby in Feb 05. My gine was dr Leon Venter. I remember him being very distraught during a routine checkup in Dec 04 about a patient of his that had HELLP syndrome. I remember this so clearly. He also said that the baby was a very "special" one because it was an IVF baby.

Tertia, I'm not an infertile, but your story and blog has inpsired and touched me so - you make me treasure and appreciate my children even more. I have a few infertile friends (one currently going through ICSI at Vincent Palloti) and my heart bleeds for them constantly. I will never know exactly what they go through - but I can just imagine knowing the love i feel for my two boys. It is something I wish for every person to experience.

Good Luck to you - and thank you for helping us fertiles better understand the heartache our infertile friends go through.

*clapping loudly* I wish I could've written my own feelings as tactfully as you. You described how I feel when fertiles tell infertiles to "just relax, you'll get pregnant" or "just adopt, there are so many unwanted children out there". Well YOU take them all home. You solve the problem. Don't one "up" my pain as I have never compared my heartache to yours. If you haven't walked a mile in another's shoes, then you can't imagine. Don't assume you can neither.

Amen to what you said, Tertia. I'm waving my one arm at you.

Having a child in a world filled with disease and pain and cruelty is an act of hope. To try to have a baby when your body is working against it is the ultimate act of hope. Some idiots simply don't get it.

Spot on. My daily, hourly, minute-by-minute prayer, and what I try to work toward: "May the suffering of all beings end soon." Actually I think most people have this feeling in their hearts; sometimes when the suffering is our own it just becomes difficult to pray for relief for all.

posted this on the wrong post:
I am not an infertile, and I don't know what it's like. I do know, having friends going through it, that it is HELL sitting month after month with a white pregnancy test while you see the 17 year old down the street with 2 kids and every friend you know getting pregnant at the drop of a hat.

Still, even if this letter were legit (Which it is SO not), it plays on the emotions of those of you who are scarred and bruised from the battle that is infertility.

And I think that really, really sucks.

I totally agree with this post. It does have a lot to do with perspective. When my husband and I were in our 2nd or 3rd year of trying to conceive, my mother was diagnosed with skin cancer. After that, and everything she went through, my infertility didn't seem so bad. Yes, it was tough taking the drugs, and taking out the eggs, getting those horrid "sorry not this time" phone calls...but thinking about living without my mom, or having kids without her around, was totally horrifying. So instead of feeling sorry for myself every holiday because it was another year without a baby, I felt lucky that it was another year with my mother still here, especially mother's day. Because of this, infertility just wasn't the painful dark hole that it seems to be for everyone else. I can truly say that I endured a lot to have my twins, but I never suffered, even the miscarriage didn't make me suffer. I definitely lose the "suffering olympics".

This is very good Tertia, and thanks btw for saying what you did about adoption. I'm adopted. You are right, so right.

Great post. Spot on.

As I said in my earlier posts, you have enough sychophants here so I don't think you need me to be another one.
I'm one of the ones who brought up adoption. But I said that I didn't think it was a replacement for not having your own children - for many, it is a wonderful option but it should never be seen as a "replacement", or "second-best". So, if it's not "first-best", then perhaps you shouldn't consider it.
I have accepted that I am never going to have children. My marriage is currently crumbling because of this exact issue. Yes, I feel sorry for myself. BUT I still believe that you have to keep a sense of persepctive about everything in life. I will survive this and I will be happy again some day. I still have my health and a roof above my head, etc etc.
I completely understand the need to connect with others who understand what you are going through because they have experienced it themselves. Obviously, infertility is a very hard thing to deal with in our pronatalistic society. All that said, I find this constant "pain olympics" games that infertile on-line communities/blogs etc tend to play self-indulgent in the extreme.
I'm sure most people got that you were just trying to illustrate the pain and desperation of infertility by publicising that couple's plight. But you are a very powerful voice in South Africa, and maybe, just maybe, you could admit that it was ill-advised to play into their hands, in whatever form. And this follow-up post just smacks of "the lady doth protest too much".
Shandra said it much better than I.
Over and out.

syc·o·phant /ˈsɪkəfənt, -ˌfænt, ˈsaɪkə-/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[sik-uh-fuhnt, -fant, sahy-kuh-] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
a self-seeking, servile flatterer; fawning parasite.


Tertia, your writing amazes me. Thank you for your thoughtful post on such a sensitive issue. The back lash that you've received in unfair and truly unworthy of your response. It's never good to feed the monster of ignorance, and yet, I can completely understand why you need to do just that. Comparing the ills and woes of one company of people to that of another is insensitive and cannot be taken as anything but hurtful. You do not deserve that.
Why do people assume that adoption is the way to fix a disease? I myself am in the process of adoption after infertility, but never would I suggest that this is going to cure the deep pain over losing my son in pregnancy, or forget the fact that I cannot give my husband a child with his beautiful eyes and warm smile. Adoption and infertility aren't related. They are both a beast to be faced with obstacles to overcome. In the end, both can bring tremendous satisfaction and both also have losses on many levels that need to be tended to. Addressing the sadness, accepting your frailty doesn't make a pity party or suffering olympics. It's a healthy process and part of life; for adoption, infertility and any other disease or loss-realted experience.
I am thankful to you for posting the first piece and for retorting in this one. You should be so proud of your voice.

*sigh* if only I could afford adoption, I'd scoop a handful right up.
oh and I think you are so great and would love to serve you while I'm seeking myself. wink wink.

If people don't like reading infertility blogs because they find them self-indulgent, then why do they read them? I think I get something good out of them. Like, this weekend's article in the Globe and Mail here, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070622.whappycover0623/BNStory/lifeMain/home

"She cites a study by a University of Texas psychologist, who found that depressed people who vented their pain in journals healed much more quickly than those who steamrolled it over with a mantra of pep.
When people put their pain into words it's not merely venting, it's healing,” says Prof. Held, who has treated hundreds of patients in private practice. “It helps you to reconstrue and reformulate. It can also lead to new ways of solving a problem."

So maybe blogging is good for us personally, even when we write things others don't feel like reading, eh? My theory of the day, I think.

Beautifully said.

Shandra - well said. :-)

There is no such thing as a 'My pain cancels your pain,' situation. If it hurts, it hurts.

There are many ways children, or the lack of, can be hurtful. Because my husband and I were able to have 2 children of our own without the help of science or other methods, 90% of adoption agencies will not allow us to adopt from them. The agencies told us that they were there to help people who couldn't have children. Being unable to have a biological child doesn't make you a better parent or mean that we would love our adopted child any less or any differently than our biological offspring, so why should it matter? I have wanted to adopt for as long as I can remember - YEARS before I ever even thought about biological children! It hurts to know that my dream will be that much harder to achieve because people assign the "job" of adopting to couples who are fertility-challenged. Either way you look at it, it is not right. Adoption should always be an act of love, not an obligation.

I will never know how you, Tertia, or any other infertile feels, nor will you ever know how I feel not being able to take another child from a situation of suffering into a situation of all-embracing love and support. Neither of us wins. It is our pain. It is hurtful. All we can do is the best we know - anything I can suggest to help you, anything you can suggest to help me.

I think it comes down to coping skills - how some people cope is by making themselves feel better than you - even if that means making something worse so they can say, "See, I have it much worse than you do." You can have the same thing happen to you for the same reason, but your life experiences and your ways of dealing with things will still make a different outcome. You will never "know" how a person feels - but you can get a general idea. Pain is pain. There are degrees, sure, but pain is still pain. Love is still love. Hope is hope, longing is longing, etc.

I wish Conrad's parents peace - that they will come to a place where they can accept what happened and love Conrad for the joy he brought, however briefly. I wish them peace, hope, and love - but above all, love.

(And when 'fertiles' tell 'infertiles' to 'relax' etc., I bet in most cases, it truly is meant to be helpful and not completely insensitive. Again, it's a case of not knowing because they've / we've never been there and it's the best we can do. Much as you want to kick us (fertiles), tell us that's not helping and what we can do to help / encourage / reassure.)

Tertia... No wonder you have such a huge following, you are such a beautiful writer. I cant imagine what its like to go through this... Everyone feels pain, and despite the extent, its still there. Someone else's suffering may be worse but that doesnt stop your own pain; doesnt make it go away.
Infertiles... keep on trying, do what you can, and what is right for you... Adopting because it seems right to other people is not right for YOU. Besides Angelina Jolie seems to have made a vow to adopt every orphan in the world, so dont worry about their fates (sorry, lame joke I know but I just cant stop thinking about that woman and her army of children). i cant comment on desperation. Ive never been so desperate for something that I would contemplate using another persons pain to gain something for myself, but that is not to say I wouldnt, and not to say its right or wrong. I am just so thankful that thus far, I have not found myself in such a situation. I have both my arms and legs, and it is something I am thankful for everyday.

Tertia... No wonder you have such a huge following, you are such a beautiful writer. I cant imagine what its like to go through this... Everyone feels pain, and despite the extent, its still there. Someone else's suffering may be worse but that doesnt stop your own pain; doesnt make it go away.
Infertiles... keep on trying, do what you can, and what is right for you... Adopting because it seems right to other people is not right for YOU. Besides Angelina Jolie seems to have made a vow to adopt every orphan in the world, so dont worry about their fates (sorry, lame joke I know but I just cant stop thinking about that woman and her army of children). i cant comment on desperation. Ive never been so desperate for something that I would contemplate using another persons pain to gain something for myself, but that is not to say I wouldnt, and not to say its right or wrong. I am just so thankful that thus far, I have not found myself in such a situation. I have both my arms and legs, and it is something I am thankful for everyday.

This is my first stop at your blog. I'll be reading more of your previous posts soon.

I'm really sorry you've been having to deal with the couple’s attempt at raising money for their IVF by contacting you for help. Given the circumstances, their plea seems in very poor taste.

You've been very gracious in your response to them, despite their not so gracious response back.

I hope they respect your wishes not to contact you again. And I do hope they are successful in their attempts to have a child.

Adoption works for us. We adopted our son as a newborn 2 1/2 years ago. Now we're in the process of getting licensed to try to adopt through the state.

Just wanted to chime in with a nod of support for Meredith, and say how I am OH SO TIRED of infertiles exploding every time someone mentions the word adoption. Of course, it is reasonable to suggest adoption as an option to someone who is struggling to have a kid. Nine times out of ten, I do not think that the comment is made in the spirit of, "OH just adopt," but rather, "You do know there are other options out there?" Imagine a world where adoption was not an option??? Now I find that scary.

Teria, I admire you much of the time, but this latest post was way out of hand. Your reaction to the word adoption (nowhere did I read "just adopt") was way over the top. I hope it's the progesterone.

We are all dealt a hand in life and we all have to live with the hand we are dealt. Some of us who struggle with infertility will overcome it with the help of science. And some of us, like my friend who just failed IVF number 12, the last two with donor eggs, will not. In that case, yes, thank god adoption is an option. And yes, there are needy kids out there. And yes, as much as it goes against "the way we always heard it should be" maybe we could adopt and fall madly in love with a non-biological kid. Some of us will have to give up that fight with fertilty and pursue other paths to having kids. A crippled person might be offended by the suggestion of a wheelchair (and before you attack me, I know this is an imperfect metaphor), but if he just can't manage to walk, a wheelchair is another route to mobility. Good for you Tertia, you overcame infertility. Not everyone does.

When I was struggling with infertility, I LOVED that people mentioned adoption as an option, even before I was "there" in terms of accepting it as a personal choice. And it helped me sleep at night knowing that if I couldn't make my own baby, there were other options.

So, I think it's time we stop treating adoption like a bad word.

And Tertia, while I wholeheartedly agree with you that one person's pain does not cancel out another's I am sure you inadvertently offend peopel all the time. We all do, becasue it is impossible for us to know the world's pain. So quit being so sensitive!

I totally agree Tertia - and great post, Shandra. Like others I absolutely understand the desperation but do not understand the way this couple approached you. How hurtful and cruel. And to carry on and use language like in their reply that isn't exactly kind to those who supported them in their comments.

As Overwhelmed said, you have been very gracious about this whole thing.

Well put Tertia.

I really was going to leave it at my previous post, but thank you Andrea for the nod.
Tertia, I too enjoy your blog for the most part, but you are hugely popular, get hits from all over the world, and have become a big media presence in your own country. Therefore, like it or not, you do have a big responsibility... it must suck at times, when you're feeling down yourself, to be the poster girl for infertility, but most of the time I think you manage it pretty well.
I just felt the whole using this couple to illustrate the desperation of infertility thing was WAY over the top, and kind of backfired.
And another thing that bothered me in your latest post was this paragraph:
"No infertile has ever said “my pain is worse than that person’s hunger, that person’s pain, that person’s grief”. Ever. It is you who make those comparisons, not us. We know we don’t have the monopoly on pain and suffering. All we know is that our hearts ache and our arms are empty. I’m sorry if you feel we should just suck it up and get over it because others suffer more."
Uh, actually, I have met many, many women suffering from infertility (the majority, in fact) IRL and on-line, who really do believe that infertility is THE worst thing that could befall anyone. I've often seen it compared to cancer. And whilst yes, it is most definitely a LOSS, and very, very painful, and life-altering, and all of those things - there also HAS to be some perspective, otherwise you're in big trouble indeed (as are all the people who surround you).
Aurelia, thanks for the link - very interesting article! Just wanted to say that I didn't find infertlity blogs self-indulgent by default, just some of the postings. I find my own blog so embarrassingly self-indulgent and precious that I've closed it! It's great therapy for me, but probably not so interesting to others.
Finally (whew) - Tertia, you're very, very brave in putting all this stuff out there and I'm sure it hurts to get hit for it every now and again. My intention is not to be offensive to you or anyone else, but merely to open debate.
Sorry for the word "sycohpant", maybe it is a little strong - but isn't it more interesting when people offer a different viewpoint?

Meredith - I would guess you're going to take a lot of flack for your post so I'll step in before it happens and thank you for hearing what I was trying to express on the previous post on the "relative" nature of desperation.

When I responded to this post a little earlier, I deleted some of what I said as I know Tertia is going through such a tough time now and doesn't need conflict. So Tertia please don't take what I'm going to say as an attack on YOU any more than what you wrote about fertiles who "don't get it" was not directed specifically at me (as you say.) If you read into anything I said, that I was saying anything remotely like "suck up your pain and get over it because others suffer more" then you need to read what I said again. It is in fact you that presumes that ANYONE said that. I understand that it feels to you like someone said that. I was not trying to diminish your pain by voicing my thoughts about poor people who struggle, but who seldom resort to "any means" to keep their born, living children alive.

I have no reason to attack you, critise your thinking or argue with you. I enjoy your site and your writing and it stimulates much thought. I admire your courage etc. If you would prefer comments that will be guarrenteed not to offend you or your beliefs about yourself and your suffering, let us know.

Meredith - I don't agree with everything you have said, but I do have to agree that I like different viewpoints, it makes for good discussion. I get a bit sick of people jumping on someone for going against the trend, when the person who offered the differing opinion did so respectfully.

Tertia, thinking of you during your 2WW.

Everyone has the right to voice their OWN opinion, but that is all it is, an OPINION.

Oh and I should add - I've always thought Tertia is incredibly strong and resiliant when it comes to criticism, and welcomes all feedback whether people agree with her or not. I love that about her. But it's other commentors who get all mafia about it sometimes.

Am I the only one who does believe in the Pain Olympics?

I've been reading for ages that pain can't be measured and that one person's pain isn't worse than another's ,etc, etc. This has been on quite a few infertility sites over the years, in fact. I beg to differ.
Of course there are varying degrees of pain! Negating that and bundling everyone into the same boat is just not real. How can you compare the pain of losing a days old baby to the pain of losing an entire family in a car crash, for instance? I know people who have been through that and believe me, there are varying degrees of terrible pain. And then again, how can you compare a failed IVF with the pain of losing a days old baby? Or 3 rounds with Clomid to 6 failed IVFs? The list goes on. Of course there are Pain Olympics.

Some people who have lost their homes, entire families, etc, in natural disasters are at the top of the sick scoreboard. Others who have tried to get PG for 6 months or so and then "miraculously" get PG while on holiday are near the bottom, IMO. There, I said it. I'm not sorry for my opinion and I don't think anyone can just say pain is pain is pain. That would be negating some very real problems and the people who have suffered. I do feel sorry for those who are at the bottom of the "scoreboard" and I hope this isn't coming across as being offensive but I can't shut up.

I myself have gone through 5 years of infertility hell and then adoption and I would never dare to presume that my pain is even close to the loss of a child. No way.

That would be so arrogant and presumptuous of me. That would be snubbing a greater pain and diminishing it. And I do believe that my pain is far greater than the person who tries to have a baby, goes on 1 round of Clomid and then has twins. Of course it is. It's the loss of a dream. It's the acceptance of a new one. That is painful! And all pain is quite simply not the same. Yes, it's a sick idea, but the Pain Olympics isn't too far off in its concept. I'm sick of being so politically correct and agreeing with the idea that pain is simply pain and that you can't measure it. Of course you can! One can't say 3 months trying and then a pregnancy is the same as losing several babies. It's just so off.

And thanks, Tertia, for saying that adoption isn't a second choice and that we aren't responsible for adopting the world's orphans. Adoption isn't for everybody, that's true, but it is the most wonderful experience in my life.

Please don't adopt to "save a child". Adopt because you want to be a parent! That child deserves a family, not an eternal debt that he can never repay!

I understand where people are coming from re the opinion that you have a "responsibility" as a public figure....but I actually disagree. This is TERTIA'S blog. I see no reason why you should find it nesessary to self-censor in order to appease others. It's about choice - if people don't like a post, they can stop reading - or they can comment and add their opinion....

I did find BERTO's last comment VERY offensive and TOTALLY out of line. Maybe it's his pain and frustration talking, but a LOT of people who would perhaps previously have considered helping them would doubtless have been put off by that tirade!

They did not specifically write this ONLY for Tertia, it appears on other blogs etc, HOWEVER they should have shown more sensitivity to Tertia's loss and in doing so could have avoided causing her more heartache.

Jodie is spot on - having differing opinions is what makes discussion interesting and stimulating. Imagine if we all agreed on everything, how would we ever learn? I hope this will continue to be a fairly respectful conversation. Thanks for expressing your viewpoints, on either side of the fence.

And again, as Jodie said, please don't go all mafia on people who express a viewpoint different to your own. (I hope I haven't offended any mafia people with that comment)

I got moaned at recently for not intervening in the arguments that ensued in the egg donor post. Someone got trashed and it was felt that I should have stepped in and done something. What I am not sure.

As a rule, I don't censor the discussion in the comments section of my blog. It would feel dishonest to me to start deleting and moderating the conversations.

So, I ask of all of you to remain respectful towards each other and towards me. You can disagree in a way that doesn't come across as attacking. We are adults, we can disagree without name calling and finger pointing.

Lastly, as I said in the opening paragraph of my post, I almost didn't post it because I was concerned it must upset some people. But this is me, I am sometimes emotional and irrational, and occasionally I do unintentionally offend, but being honest and true to what I feel and believe is the only way I know how. This is me. This is how I feel. It isn't always right, it isn't always pretty. But it is always real. I have to be this way, the alternative is beige, and imagine how boring that would be.

Thanks for reading and for participating and for allowing me to be non-beige.

Hi Tertia,

I'll fess up, I think you mean me when you talk about being moaned at! (Dragging my toe on the floor looking sheepish here.) But so you know, this comment above is exactly what I meant about stepping in. Perfect I think. Not deleting or censoring, but more like wandering up to two of your guests at a dinner party who seem to be disagreeing and redirecting the discussion a bit. I only mention it because fights in the comments have become an early warning sign that forums and blogs start to close or go PW protect and I'd feel incredibly sad if that ever happened to you.

I like you non-beige. This site is great for that.

To the other commenters, the pain olympics as we refer to it, exist IMO because society for so long has refused to acknowledge any loss at all, of lost pregnancies, of infertility, of anything society deems "less", so we spend a lot of time trying to "prove" our loss existed. It is isn't just restricted to infertility & loss. I volunteer with crime victims and their losses get ranked by the justice system, even when they want to be treated equally. Take two drive by shootings in the same city. Then ask the mother of a white crime victim & a mother of black crime victim. Media coverage, police response, courts, like night and day. Doesn't change the feelings of the mother involved.

Which has led to a new possible entry in the next DSM that psychiatrists use. It's called complicated grief and it refers to what happens when people grieve over an event society does not acknowledge. It's not relativism, it's respecting others feelings and giving their emotions legitimacy. Stuffing down out feelings and pretending our losses are nothing, can have serious long-term effects, like PPD after a subsequent pregnancy, anger, depression, PTSD. Many of my losses that have been the most acute and had the longest and hardest resolution are the ones that were minimized by doctors and friends and family. Just yesterday, I was with a women who had a 13 week miscarriage 9 years ago, and she was sobbing like it was yesterday, because she'd never been allowed to talk about it before. She needed validation, and didn't get it.

And it showed. I'm not saying she'd be perfectly okay if she'd had a blog, or told her story a million times, but I do wonder how different her life would be if someone had been kind to her back then.

Thanks for letting me write this here Tertia.

"Of course, it is reasonable to suggest adoption as an option to someone who is struggling to have a kid. Nine times out of ten, I do not think that the comment is made in the spirit of, "OH just adopt," but rather, "You do know there are other options out there?""

Andrea, while I'm glad this worked for you, the fact is that there is no person going through infertility out there who is NOT aware that adoption exists and is an option. I have yet to meet anyone - fertile or infertile - who hasn't heard of legal adoption and of the basic idea that you can parent a child who's not genetically your own. Given this, being "informed" that such an option exists by people who have never availed themselves of it comes across to many people as saying, "Well, I know you told me what you're doing, but clearly you don't know as well as I do what you should be doing. I deserve to have genetic children, but you don't." I'm glad this made *you* feel better, but generally, it's not a good idea to hear that someone is on a course - ANY course - and tell them, "Well, but you know that X option exists, right?" when you know that there's NO WAY they wouldn't know it exists. Yes, yes, of course I except destructive courses such as drug addiction and trying to save terrible romantic partners from this scenario...but do you really think that infertility treatment is on the same level of those?

Tertia's basic point that adopting to "save" a child is a terrible idea is spot on. Some infertile people will end up adopting, and loving the children they adopt with all of their hearts, but they need to get there on their own schedule, not on the schedule of someone else who's uncomfortable with any suggestion of pain or difficulty and wants to come up with a neat, tidy solution for someone else's life to get rid of it posthaste.

Should people attempt to keep perspective in life? Oh yes. Most definitely. But, you know...I'm assuming that most of us here didn't grow up in grinding poverty, correct? And that most of our parents didn't die in their 40s from old age/extreme overwork, correct? If you look at things from a historical perspective, the fact that most of us have our parents for as long as we do is an extreme anomaly - not a bad one, just an anomaly. Yet, I suspect that most of the people who talk about how infertiles need to have "perspective" would be mighty pissed if they had just lost their mother or father and I told them that they needed to have some "perspective" on the loss, as there are many people around the world who don't have their parents survive adulthood. I too think that everyone needs to differentiate between those in the world truly trying to negate their pain, and those just trying in a clumsy way to help...but I also think that certain things in life get over-negated away by those not directly going through them, and infertility is one of those.

I think some people need to keep perspective. They were talking about a couple that LOST A CHILD. So, ok, they made a bad judgement call and upset Tertia. Can't you just point that out politely without calling them Nigerian scammers? Or without telling them that there are worse things going on in the world? IMO, the majority of the responses were extremely offensive and cruel and am glad they got a "fuck you" in return.

As for paying for someone's IVF vs. sending money to hungry kids in Africa. Everyone is entitled to do whatever they want with their money. And paying for one of the two things doesn't preclude anybody from paying for the other as well. I'm sure kids in Africa need food much more than you need a damn internet connection, for that matter.

In response to Carmen's comments above about the pain olympics.
Pain is a SUBJECTIVE thing, ie: it is unique to the pain sufferer. In other words - you cannot compare pain - whether it be physical or emotional, pain is unique! What one person may find very painful, another may experience it as "water off a ducks back".

We all perceive the world differently, and our perceptions have largely been shaped by our own personal experiences. So - to the unfortunate person who may have lost their entire family in a road accident - and then experiences infertility, they may find the pain of infertility easier to bear. But if you have been fortunate enough to escape other tragedy in your personal life, and then you experience infertility, this will indeed be the most painful thing in your world.
There is no pain olympics, and one persons pain is not greater or less than anothers, pain is unique!

And to Tertia - please just look after yourself (mothership!!) with 3 embies on board - and let this all be water off a ducks back to you! You certainly don't need any added stress at the moment!

For anyone that considers (or would consider) adoption as “second best”, then I believe its best you don’t. My son (through adoption) is THE BEST thing that’s ever happened to our family.

Since our son came into our life, we are probably the happiest we’ve ever been. That doesn’t mean that I don’t remember the pain of our infertility and miscarriages. There were certainly some desperate times.

I wish peace to this family.

Tertia, keep up the great work… you’re awesome!

Tertia, this post and the other about the letter the couple sent has this question going through my mind: What makes one couple so desperate to have a biological baby, a pregnancy, and another couple so ready to adopt? What is the difference?

What flummoxed me most about this couple's letter is that they are saying, "Please donate this money so that we might get a baby. We might not. The predicted success rate is probably less than 50%, so your money might mean no child for us, but please donate anyway." I would be MUCH more likely to donate to someone needing it to adopt than to have an IVF. Because I KNOW what IVF means - a maybe baby. A maybe family.

I think what this couple did, regardless of how they worded the letter (dead baby talking or otherwise), borders on tasteless. I might ask my parents to help pay for an IVF... a rich sister or brother maybe, but friends? strangers? maybe things are different in SA, but I don't know anyone that would do that here in my area. Some friends of mine trying to finance their second adoption got the money by moving to a smaller house and having a huge garage sale, selling many many non-necessities in their home. They got the money. They have a beautiful son now.

I personally have been all over the map in this situation. I have a bio child that I carried. I have suffered infertility that NEVER resulted in a live child. I have had miscarraigeS. I have pursued IF treatment for years, up until the line I had drawn in the sand. I have adopted without knowing where the money would come from. So I've had all these emotions, so to speak, and I can't imagine reaching the point where I would ask random people for money to finance a medical procedure with an iffy success rate. Sure, I wish I'd had a windfall of money so I could try and try and try until they wouldn't let me anymore, but I would not have been willing to sacrifice my self-respect to get that money.

Tertia, you have had what, 9 IVFs? 7? For me, that would have cost around $50,000 - $70,000. And that would be at a local doctor. If I did what some people do, fly to New York for the BEST doctors, add the travel expenses to that. That is well more than half of what we made gross in a year. Insurance would not have touched it. As a young couple, we did not have lots of extra cash. We would have been paying that off for YEARS if we had financed it, perhaps years without another child. How bitter would that have made me?

So I don't know. I don't know why I could say, "We will reach X point then we won't spend any more money trying to get pregnant," and this couple said, "We don't have any more money to try to get pregnant, so let's ask strangers for the money." What made them more "despeserate" for pregnancy than me? Can that question be answered?

There may be such thing as the pain olympics in your mind, Carmen, but how can you possibly know how much pain someone else is feeling after a certain event?

Let me give you an example: I have good friends who said goodbye to their little boy after 4 months of life. I had a rough pregnancy with my first child, but nothing compared to what they went through. Still, they will tell you there is no such thing as knowing what someone else is going through. No such thing as the pain olympics, except for those who want to magnify their own pain in others' eyes.

For Sue, losing her days old baby is hell. For Joe, losing his entire family in a car crash is hell. Is Joe in more pain? No one is able to say. I have seen people lose so much and end up bitter, angry, and in so much pain. My aunt had 4 children die the week of their due date (4 separate pregnancies), a 17 year old son die in a car crash, and her husband die in a farming accident at the ripe old age of 40. She is a wonderful happy person, despite all that pain...just ONE of those events may crush someone else.

So I don't buy the pain olympics, because you just can't know. You can't know what someone else can handle; what they consider alot of pain, or too much.

You just can't. And trying to sit there and compare just wastes time and makes everyone involved miserable.

I love how you educate all of us. Thanks for sharing this.

I love how you educate all of us. Thanks for sharing this.

Amen, Tertia! Some people just don't get it. However, I'm sure they could find justification in the sorrow over one of their "issues". Funny how that works.

Okay, I need to add a few things.

First, "pain olympics" don't exist. Step into the world of psychology and the first thing you will learn is that most of the human experience is subjective. That means everyone looks at it, feels it, hears it and tastes it in a different light. That is why some people need Tylenol while others need morphine. Why do you think it is so hard to define normal?

As for the adoption issue, I totally agree it should be looked at as an option....FOR EVERYONE. I wonder how a fertile individual would feel if I were to tell them that instead of trying to conceive they should look into adoption, because there's so many ready made babies out there. Doesn't sound as nice coming from the other direction, now does it? It seems absurd in today's world to suggest adoption unless:

A. You are struggling to conceive

B. You already have "children of your own" and want the extra credit of adoption

So, duh. Of course I've heard of adoption. Does that mean that, because I have PCOS, I need to simply adopt because, oh well my ovaries suck, so that's door number two? I don't think the issue is suggesting adoption to someone. I think the issue is that everyone presents it as an, "oh, can't have your own babies, huh? Well, why not adopt?" as if that is the same thing. It's not. Adoption is an entirely different set of rules and not everyone feels equipped to play. Furthermore, I FULLY believe that those with infertility are easily targeted as selfish and self-centered, and inconsequently, only by people who are looking in from the outisde.

If you want to suggest adoption to someone infertile, then suggest it to everyone else as well. Why should it be the alternative? That is exactly what everyone is making it. Thinking about having children? Ever considered adoption? If you want to provide suggestions, that is how it should be, fertile or not.

Or, even better, butt the heck out! As if infertiles are so self-centered they've never heard of that thing called "adoption". Ha, or better yet, as if your opinion should have any weight in any fertile or infertile's family growth!

Tertia, how many Andrea commenters do you have? How do you keep track between all of us? I know all those Andrea comments above are not me, only one of them.

Ute, Please stop. You are berating a couple for invoking their dead son and then you do the exact same in trying to make them feel guilty. You are not this baby boy's parents. No matter what you think of what they've done, you have absolutely no right to do that.

No matter what else they have done or said, their son is dead. They do no have any living children nor are they in a position to pursue that. They may never have a child. To be in that place is to live in hell.

I well remember being stuck it. I thank every person who stuck with me through it and I understand why so many people could not do it. Most of all, I am thankful for everyone in my life who has graciously allowed me to move past the things I did and said in that desperation.

There are some seriously ugly people in this world, Tertia, and I am sorry that you have to deal with them, especially at a time like this. Then again, there are many more seriously wonderful people in the world (like the vast majority of the people who read your blog) and thank goodness we outnumber the nasty ones.

I agree that the letter that this couple sent you is insensitive, insulting and presumptous. Even though I've never met you, I'm outraged on your behalf. I understand that they're in pain, but their final remark, in the last post, to you and your readers, is just not on. As my son used to say to me when he was five: 'When you point a finger at someone, there are three other fingers pointing back at you.'

Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, etc....

Good luck: you're a good woman, with a heart the size of a planet, and you deserve every rich blessing that the universe rains upon your head.

PS: Someone who calls your fans 'sycophants' and can't even spell the word correctly deserves a smart kick in the broekies.

I think it's worth noting that just a few posts down, only 47% of the respondents thought that the women who had already done seven cycles had a right to change her mind after careful consideration of having said a "yes" in haste.

Reasons that woman cited included depression. Yet here we have people going after a couple who want to raise money. They are not asking for Tertia's egg, they are asking for her to consider giving money.

We obviously all draw the line in different places. That's something I'm slowly learning myself.

This couple sent an email to a woman who has been where they are and who now has two children. A woman who has used her website to raise money for others. And it would not take much research to find other sites that have raised money for infertile couples.

Their hearts led them to use the photo and voice of their deceased son. I certainly don't think they meant it to be hurtful. They didn't go into it with the goal of it being "not on." What they did was not "wrong on every level", it was wrong for some people, I'm sure it had the intended effect on others. My heart breaks for those it hurt.

Is it because we "know" Tertia but not the woman who donated eggs and this couple that we feel free to tell that woman to ignore her risk factor for depression? To judge so harsly the methods of a couple who are speaking out of a desperation that is all too familiar to a lot of us? I think it might be.

"You are berating a couple for invoking their dead son and then you do the exact same in trying to make them feel guilty."

Yes, I admit that it was over the top. But having read their last, incredibly insulting, comment in Tertia's "despair" entry below, I just couldn't help it. They aren't _invoking_ but actually _using_ their dead son. I was wondering whether they realized that; it seems so revolting to me. But I have no intention of entering into a dialogue with these people anyhow, so you needn't worry, Kathleen. :o)

I'm sorry, but I have to butt in here again. I don't think it's acceptable, ever, under any circumstances, to put words into the mouth of a language-less child or an infant, or to use those circumstances (ie, the death of that child) for your own purposes. Just because you gave birth to a child does not give you carte blanche to speak on their behalf.

I totally see why you posted their email and why you feel so strongly.

It, too, makes me sick to think that parent's would use their dead child to beg for money. But, like you said, desperation does strange things to otherwise normal people. I think it's wonderful that you are looking at them from that angle. I would guess that it's a scam, but you are probably right.

It makes me sad for them and other's who are struggling with the same demons of desperation. :(

I found your comment on adoption interesting. My husband and I were lucky and conceive babies easily. It's the pregnancies that are difficult. Anyhow, we have both bio and adopted children.

I have always wondered why many infertile people choose not to adopt. Maybe, because I have my own bio kids, it isn't fair for me to question those who can't. But after all the years of trying without success, I'd imagine that I'd take an adopted baby over none at all.

I think you are doing a wonderful service for many people throughout the world. :)

I am not infertile, so I can't pretend to understand the pain and suffering it causes. I have two beautiful children with a third on the way. One of my new friends suffers from infertility. She has lost 5 babies due to miscarriage and 1 due to a stillbirth. I couldn't tell her about my surprise pregnancy, I just couldn't. I've followed so many infertility journeys that I couldn't cause her so much pain, to tell her that I was pregnant and it wasn't planned, to imagine her sitting behind her computer screen crying when I shared my news. Then she emailed me and told me that she's pregnant, the first time ever without the help of ART. I rejoiced for her and could finally share my news, but with some trepidation still. What if she miscarried again and had to share in my pregnancy news while dealing with her loss? I know that the chances are just as great that I can miscarry, but it is a lot less likely for me. Infertility makes for rocky ground between friends, especially at times like these.

While I feel great sadness for these people, I think they're going about it the wrong way. They are trying to get people to help them by playing on their emotions, showing them graphic images and speaking to them from their deceased son's point of view. And the angry, nasty response from the father, telling everyone to F*** off is just uncalled for. Many people are just plain old scared away by a response like that. Someone else mentioned that others handle the situation with grace and dignity and unfortunately these parents have not.

I also find it unfortunate that so many people have the "just adopt" answer to infertility. You have to be in the right place emotionally and mentally to decide to adopt. We want to start an adoption some time next year, but I've been rudely awakened by the infertile people on the adoption sites telling me I have no right to adopt, because I can have children myself. This sword is definitely double edged and it cuts both ways. As much as infertiles are hurt by the "just adopt" comments, so the fertiles get hurt by the comments that they have no right to do so.

I really hope and pray that you will get your BFP soon. I haven't been around here for a while (saw you in Huisgenoot a while back!) and Adam and Kate have just grown up beautifully.

Oh, just wanted to add that I've gotten the "my pain is greater" argument a lot. I've also gotten more comments than I can count about infertile people loving and appreciating their children more than I do. The argument is always that they had to go through so much more (including references to adoption), so their love and appreciation is greater than mine. I'm sorry, I missed the fine print where it said that everything in life is a competition.

My issue with the "just adopt" comments is not that someone is suggesting I adopt. It's that they say it in such a way as to imply how dare I "waste" so much money on myself, selfishly, when there are so many babies out there who desperately need homes.

A friend of mine (forgiven only because I know how truly beautiful a person she is) actually gave me a lecture on how many Israeli children are orphaned as a result of terror attacks, and rather than make myself crazy with IVF, shouldn't I better spend my money on saving these poor orphaned children. 5 minutes of research on my part gave her tons of links about adopting in Israel, how most orphaned children are taken in by family, how there's a 6-year waiting list, and, as yet, no international adoption.

If you want to ask me IF we have thought about adoption, that's okay. Saying to me, "why don't you adopt?" is not. If this friend had spent the same 5 minutes looking up information that she spent typing up her email to me, she would have saved me a world of hurt, and us a (repaired) rift in our relationship.

It's all in the delivery folks.

And for what's it worth, I don't think the email is a scam. I think the parents need help, however. To send out a plea like that, and then to post in their dead child's name screams hurt and depression.

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