How can you judge me?

If I’m learning one thing through this journey, I am learning how judgemental and self-righteous people can be about our decisions to undergo fertility treatment.

I have just returned from a trip to the US and while checking e-mails and reading some online newspapers in the airport while waiting for our homebound flight, I came across some of the most upsetting comments online I have heard to date. All the way home across the Atlantic, the words burned in my brain and the level of vitriol tore at my heart.

The article I read concerned American E! News host, Giuliana Rancic and her decision to undergo IVF treatment. The 36-year-old television presenter speaks about the realities of the arduous process, undergoing up to 63 injections a month as part of the fertility treatment, and a miscarriage that she suffered.

Now I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of her or her reality TV show Guiliana and Bill, but as always my sympathies lie with anyone going through this heartache. What shocked and dismayed me were the comments online afterwards – almost to a man/woman the comments all said how she deserved this pain as it was self-inflicted and representative of  a self-centered desire to ‘spread her genes’  and that she needs to face up to the fact that her genes weren’t just meant to replicate. This judgement of course they also apply to anyone undergoing the same process.

While I absolutely respect the right to everyone to hold their own opinion, I am dismayed by the level of self-righteous judgment and the nastiness of some of the comments. I wonder how many of these commentators are childless? And was their desire to have children not self-centered too? Isn’t that the nature of having children –  an innate biological desire to replicate their own genes?

I wonder how many of these commentators have gone month after painful month wishing, hoping and praying for a positive pregnancy test? How many have experienced a miscarriage? How many know what it feels like to long to hold yours and your partner’s child in your arms? To marvel as you gaze on that little bit of you, and that little bit of me in their face, their gestures, their look? To nurture that baby, watch and guide it as it grows? And how many of these people can honestly say hand on heart, that if they were faced with childlessness, they wouldn’t make the same very same decisions in the end?

So please people, some compassion here. We all walk a hard life at times, with or without children – there is pain along the way. Let’s not judge each other, for unless we’ve walked in each other’s shoes, we have no idea what we would have done in similar circumstances.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Marcia Banta
    Nov 20, 2010 @ 21:29:56

    I am so sorry this happened.

    I am not familiar with this woman and feel strongly in the negative about E!/Style/Reality shows, women who starve themselves and I question her numbers; BUT – BUT – BUT there is NEVER an excuse for cruelty, NEVER a place for placing your judgement on peronal decisions, NEVER a reason to use a public forum to scathe a person.

    Sadly, there seems to be a lot of this public, judging going on in our country right now. It is never small for the person to whom it happens (even celebrities) and as you pointed out, the vitriol spills over to people unknown to the writer and surely also undeserving of the added pain.

    Take solice in the fact that such nasty and unfeeling comments reflect more on the maker than on the target. Your comments were right on the button…we certainly all need to remember to “walk a mile” – preferably with open hearts.

    Reply

    • JBBC
      Nov 21, 2010 @ 03:22:01

      Marcia, thanks so much for leaving such a great comment. I love that you say there is NEVER a reason to use a public forum to scathe a person and I am disturbed at the level of vitriol and hate that is poured out daily online in all sorts of forums. It is terribly cowardly don’t you think? How many of these online commentators would have the courage to say what they do face to face? I suspect very few – and yet hiding behind the anoymity of their computers they feel they can wound and hurt without impunity.

      Reply

  2. Marcia Banta
    Nov 21, 2010 @ 06:06:51

    I truly don’t understand why websites allow unidentified comment. Our local paper – which I really like – lets online comments be by “handle” (like CNN, etc.) and it drives me crazy. There are lots of hot issues in local politics and all the anonimity does is allow hostile or unsubstantiated comments to pass as dialogue. Ugh. My personal policy is to always use my name…and believe me it makes for a much more considered, civil and measured response :-).

    Reply

    • JBBC
      Nov 21, 2010 @ 16:58:12

      Ah but you are a nice kind compassionate person Marcia! Thanks for your comments – they have really helped defuse my anger x

      Reply

  3. Lorna
    Nov 22, 2010 @ 09:15:31

    Oh my goodness, I am not familier with this lady or her TV programme but to suggest that having an IVF is trying to replicate one’s genes and selfish – dire ignorance indeed. I wonder are some of the commentators from those ‘religious’groups that suggest contraception and assisted conception shouldn’t be allowed – it should all be natural!
    I would try to put it out of your mind Marie. People always have something to say, if you can’t have children it’s ‘Would you not adopt?’ when you decide to adopt it become ‘would you not foster?’ – all well meaning but designed to make you feel guilty about your decisions!
    Having your own tiny baby is one of the best things in the world, feeling that skin to skin contact and feeding your own child as you bond and while some women will decide that enough is enough and turn to adoption (which is not without its heartaches and long waits), I know that if I didn’t have any children and wanted my own flesh and blood, I would be undergoing numerous IVFs if I had to too. Good friends of my sister have just had their first baby – third IVF attempt. It is not even about having your own flesh and blood I think, it is that natural desire to hold that newborn baby – there is nothing as peaceful and relaxing.
    I wish you well on your journey Marie and do put those evil comments out of your mind, because that is all they are – evil!

    Reply

    • JBBC
      Nov 24, 2010 @ 01:30:14

      thank you Lorna – I know that everything you say is true. I think I am just reflecting now on the nastiness of some people when they are online and wondering if they’d have the courage to say what they say face to face.

      Reply

  4. JBBC
    Nov 24, 2010 @ 17:52:02

    And thanks to a friend who sent me the following quote:

    I have one major rule: everybody is right. More specifically, everybodyincluding mehas some important pieces of the truth, and all of those pieces need to be honored, cherished, and included in a more gracious, spacious, and compassionate embrace.

    – Ken Wilber

    Reply

  5. nancyspoint
    Dec 04, 2010 @ 21:17:08

    Marie,
    Having cancer has taught me to be less judgemental about everything. My favorite movie has always been “To Kill a Mockingbird” because I simply love the message that you can’t really understand somebody else until you “walk around in their shoes.” I love that lesson. Try not to pay attention to people that judge your decisions. Who cares what such people think anyway? I know that’s easier said than done.

    Reply

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