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Welcome!

This blog addresses various emotional aspects of experiencing infertility. It is written by a clinical psychologist who specializes in infertility counseling. Thank you for reading, and best of luck with your journey!

Monday, March 23, 2015

The art of being infertile in the internet age: When not to pay attention, and why

Last week there seems to have been a little bit of a kerfuffle about Dolce and Gabbana's expressed opinions on children born via IVF and on non-traditional families.  I'm only hazily aware of what they said, and I think I'm going to keep it that way, for the sake of my own mental health.  This is an acquired skill, ignoring comments made by anyone from important celebrities to random strangers.  I have a long history of being what my parents called "overly sensitive"-- being hurt by what others have said, and consequently of nursing a grudge.   Naturally, this made the experience of being infertile and an adoptive parent more painful than it might have been otherwise.  If I've learned one thing through my infertility, it's that people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions, even if they are uninformed, unwelcome, and painful to hear.  

What I realize as a result of these experiences is that I was putting too much value in the thoughts and opinions of others. I think this resulted from my own insecurity about myself.  I frequently have walked around thinking, "That doesn't make sense....I must be stupid because I can't understand why so-and-so said that!"  However, as a result of hearing so many stupid opinions and comments, I came to see that on certain topics. I should privilege my own thoughts and opinions.  Now, I feel that if someone is an expert in an infertility-related field, or has a lot of life experience with infertility, I will seriously consider what they might have to say, even if it differs from my own initial thoughts.  If they don't have that experience, their thoughts and opinions are most likely irrelevant to me.  This is why I don't care if Dolce and Gabbana might feel that two of my children are "synthetic".  They haven't experienced the same things as me, and it isn't their area of expertise.  So they don't get to have an opinion on it that I value!  

I do try to be fair about things.  So please don't take any fashion advice from me.  I don't know anything about it.  Seriously, my fashion goals are to be able to wear my pajamas to work and to find only marginally ugly shoes that will fit my clunky custom orthotics.  Any clients of mine who might be reading this will back me up on this one.   Dolce and Gabbana are your go-to folks on that subject. 

It used to be that we just had to worry about the uninformed opinions of those we might run into in daily life.  Now, with the internet, we are bombarded with the opinions of everyone, whether they be famous or anonymous.  And it seems that the more outrageous they are, the more they will be promoted, so that we will click on them and generate advertising revenue for someone.  If I see something that looks especially controversial, I try not to click on it.  I don't want to encourage that sort of behavior, and I certainly don't want anyone to profit on it.  

Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke at my graduation commencement.  She said something that I have increasingly come to see the value of as time has passed.  In referring to marriage, she said, "Sometimes it pays to be a little deaf!"  I think this is true not only in relationships, but increasingly true for the world in general.  Ignoring things can go a long way in terms of saving us some anguish.
Consider the source before you roil yourself into a fit of self-righteous outrage!

I  hope you all have a great week and welcome your opinions and experiences in the comments section or at lisarouff@gmail.com.

62 comments:

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