Tuesday, August 27, 2013

my response to "anonymous mom"

(Some of you may remember this article from a few months back - an opinion piece written by a dad who was expecting twins and who wasn't happy about it. Some of you may also remember my response. Yesterday, the wife of Anonymous Dad wrote a reply of her own to all of those who criticized her husband for what he wrote. Here's my response.)

Congratulations, Anonymous Mom. You finally got what you wanted: someone to feel sorry for you and your husband.

I'm guessing it's not in the way you expected. You see, I don't feel sorry for you in that I feel badly about your situation. I don't sympathize with your blatant lack of respect for your children or family, or your lack of responsibility for your actions. I don't feel sorry for the fact that you are in therapy or that you struggle financially.

Instead, I simply feel sorry for you because you're pathetic.

When I first read your husband's post and responded to it, I thought maybe it was a maturity issue. Part of me said to myself, "Oh, I bet he'll come around and feel differently as her pregnancy progresses or after the babies are born." Now, after reading your version of the events, I realize that this probably won't be the case.

After all, your version of the story isn't much different than your husbands. Every line desperately screams "woe is me."

Believe me, I get it. Wanting kids and not being able to have them is hard. Wanting a sibling for your child is tough, too. Yet, we all make choices. Every day, people in this community choose their next steps in their journey. They mark "twins" as an acceptable choice on their adoption paperwork. They transfer three embryos instead of two to increase their odds. They go for that last IUI, even though they have more than one follicle ready to go. Because they have nothing else to lose.

Some of them do end up with multiples. I'm sure that's terrifying in a sense. It's a huge responsibility. However, there are many others who end up with nothing. An adoption falls through. Embryos don't implant. There is no pregnancy. There is no happy ending for them.

There IS for you. Yet, you don't see it. Instead, all you see is what a burden these children will be, on top of the burden of your existing child.

It's his fault, right? He was a difficult baby, and you don't know how you'll handle that all over again (potentially), times two. Colic is tough. You know what else is tough? Having a child born prematurely. Having a child with special needs or medical issues. Having a child who you WISH would just have colic.

I feel sorry for you because you can't see beyond your own skin to realize that this isn't the end of the world. I feel sorry for you because you are too selfish to understand that what you and your husband are feeling and have written will affect your children for the rest of their lives. And I am sad for your children - that they will grow up and someday learn that you feel "remorse" over their conception. That you blame them for your problems. (Soon, you and your husband won't be the only ones in therapy.)

You ask yourself toward the end why "the universe, God, karma, whatever, whomever think it was a good idea to bring forth twins" into your lives.

Honestly? I think the rest of us are wondering the same thing.


Whitney Anderson said...

Amen. That is all.

kay said...

I'm actually not wondering the same thing--I think she is brave to be honest. I reduced twins to a singleton and 2 years later have zero regret. I wish someone had given her that option. Everyone builds their family in their own way. Your harsh, judgmental attitude is mean spirited and reeks of bitterness. Also, pregnancy can be fraught with hormonal changes that make dealing with stress/anxiety/depression VERY hard. Would you go after a mom with PPD like this for saying she wished her baby would disappear sometimes? You yourself have written about your struggles in this area. She is afraid. She is overwhelmed. She is speaking her truth. Cut her some slack.

Katie said...

Kay: You made the best decision for you and your family. I hold no judgement on that decision. This woman not only made the decision to transfer two, but she also made the decision NOT to reduce after discovering she was having twins (please see her husband's article; it was discussed). That was her choice, and then she and her husband proceeded to whine all over the Internet about how miserable they are and how it's basically everyone's fault - God, the universe, their other child's - but their own. This can't even be compared to PPD. It's a completely different situation.

But what would I know... I'm just a "mean spirited, "bitter" woman who wouldn't know that pregnancy is stressful and full of hormonal changes. Aren't I? :)

Anonymous said...

I hate the anonymous parent series and the tizzy it worked the infertile community into. The cries of "its not fair" and " why not me?" and the inability to see beyond our own pain. It is an ugly story, I'll agree, but these are JUST feelings, and we've all had ugly feelings and gone on to make good decisions or have good relationships. I also question if these the stories are real; would anyone really put this out there? Doesn't the news love to villainize infertiles? How many hits did the first story generate when the second one came along? For those reasons, I filed this one in the "whatever" category monthd ago.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I am upset by this couple for the following reasons:

1) They had several choices along the way if they truly felt twins would "ruin their family." Not put back in 2, and do an FET. Selectively reduce (which they did decide against.) Place one child up for adoption. (It is an option!)

2) I do not like the way they talk about their existing son. It's mostly negative.

3)I understand her fear and worry, however, and she has a right to feel upset things are not going the way she planned. It's just shocking as she and her husband don't seem to want to change. They want to play the victim role, it seems. However, she does have to consider how her children will feel if they see this someday. I also worry about the fact that she has felt this way for so long that it will negatively impact her children once they are actually here.

4) Publicizing this story on the internet creates bad press for infertile couples and casts a shadow of a doubt over the whole IVF process for those of who fight so hard to maintain these rights on daily basis...

Glass Case of Emotion said...

To the anonymous poster above...

As a counselor to many young people, I say you are WRONG. It may seem like just feelings now. But this sort of sustained feelings over a long period of time CAN and DO lead to behaviors. And behaviors that impact children. If you don't bond with your children, if you blame them for "ruining your family", if you put yourself and your needs for trips/ houses/ cars (certainly disappointments but not NEEDS) before children then yes, it does impact the children and becomes more than "just words." I'm sorry, but this has all the makings of children who will end up being neglected and emotionally abused children. I have seen the pattern, and it is sad for these children.

Some feelings on this level are expected, however, sustained feeling this way can be a rocky road ahead for this family.

There's a difference between stress/ sadness and feeling bad and actually truly believing this is ruining your family. I hope they can see the light before it is too late for these children.

missohkay said...

We have friends who spontaneously conceived triplets when not even trying to get pregnant. As much as they might have the right to complain about the hand they were dealt, they are class acts. Surely the anonymous parents who were trying very hard to get pregnant and knew the possibilities of multiples can buck up too.

kay said...

Katie, I do see your point about 'making your own bed.' And while I don't think you personally are mean spirited or bitter, I think your post misses that this couple is dealing with some serious emotional problems and personally attacks them unnecessarily. Sure, their problems stem from the consequences of their actions. But does that make them any less worthy of their truth being heard? We all make mistakes and we all whine about them. And other people can learn from that.

I actually admire you (which is why I read your blog). And I would love to see a thoughtful (rather than attacking) critique of this problem --what happens when we make reproductive choices we aren't happy with after? As infertiles, we sometimes get MORE choices...and more ways to mess up.

I am sorry I attacked you in my comment. I should have been more thoughtful myself.

Marianne said...

As I sit hear heavily bleeding after a positive hpt after IVF, I read this article and want nothing less than to cut this bitch.

We transferred two embryos, knowing full well we could end up with twins.

We are probably going to end up with no baby at all. This my rage.

No one should ever transfer more embryos than they could raise. It is not fair to the children. Shame on that woman.

Rebecca said...

I keep writing rants and then deleting them.

But, what Marianne said above is perfect. "No one should ever transfer more embryos than they could raise." Period. That's it. If you can't possibly deal with the consequences, then you shouldn't do it.

And, if you take the risk and it turns out the way you were hoping to avoid -- then don't frickin' bitch about it. Sure, you can have all the feelings you want, but I don't want to hear about it when you're seeking sympathy for something foreseeable that you brought on yourself.

Anonymous said...

No sympathy for either one of them. They appear to dislike parenting their current son -- can't figure out why they wanted a second child in the first place, except that perhaps they felt they had to "complete their family." They deliberately transferred two embryos rather than freezing one because it was just too! hard! to! wait!!! for a FET. They refused selective reduction because they don't want to feel like bad people -- they SAY this. Now they're whining because they wanted a girl but -- GASP! -- they're having two more boys. They come across as spoiled and entitled. They also, to me, come across as wanting sympathy for their horrible plight, which turns me off.

And yes, I'm biased. We transferred two embryos because I was AMA -- but we did so knowing we were willing to raise twins. Guess what? They both took. We have twins. It is AWESOME. Sometimes it's hard, but *anything* worth doing is hard. We are incredibly blessed.

If we hadn't felt ready to handle twins? Well, we would have insisted on transferring one. And yes, unexpected embryo splits can happen, but we would have had a lower risk of twins than a spontaneous pregnancy. On the flip side, we told our doctor that under no circumstances were we willing to transfer three, because we wanted to do everything possible to avoid the dangers of a triplet pregnancy. We would have stuck to it even if medical advice had been that doing so was an acceptable risk given my age.

Don't want twins? Perfectly understandable. If you end up pregnant with them despite using no fertility aids and/or taking active steps to avoid getting pregnant with them, you have my sympathy, and I can see why you would investigate your options. But if you really don't want twins, you're doing IVF and you end up with multiple embryos, TRANSFER ONE EMBRYO and freeze the rest. This is not a complicated concept. There are plenty of women right now staring at one-lined pregnancy tests after transferring one embryo at a time. They're just not trying to get a platform in the Huffington Post to scavenge for pity.

Do *I* whine sometimes? Yes. Do I try to get my whining into the Huffington Post in an attempt to gain sympathy for my First World problems? No, because I am an adult. One day, this couple's kids are going to read what was written about them, and I doubt they will ever forget it.

aryanhwy said...

An adoption falls through. Embryos don't implant. There is no pregnancy. There is no happy ending for them.

There IS for you.

This is a rather strong assumption to make, namely that no baby = sad ending, baby = happy ending. This may be the case for you, but not necessarily for every one. It could very well be that having two babies for her will not equal a happy ending. It could in fact equal an eroding sense of self, guilt over her (in)ability to be the mother that she wants to be to all her children, and, given the way both she and her husband feel, divorce. None of these are particularly happy endings, and the sheer fact that she now has the child(ren) that she wanted may not be enough to counterbalance that.

A new child doesn't always equal a happy ending -- even a dearly wanted, hard sought child.

Leah Campbell said...

Yes, yes, yes. I actually had an open letter published over at mom.me to both of them (her response appeared in Babble months ago - for some reason HuffPo is just picking it up?)and was totally in line with you in much of this:


To me, there is a blatant lack of responsibility being taken for the choices they each made - and honestly, the way they each talked about their existing son also made me very sad. I DO think she is clearly suffering from some level of depression and I truly hope she gets help.... I honestly feel more sorry for her than her husband, but that may be just me trying to find some sort of reason and understanding for how any woman who actually fought to be pregnant could now be feeling so negatively about success. The whole thing baffles me. And makes me very very sad.

gailcanoe said...

well said.

KeAnne said...

It would be one thing if she talked only about her fears with having twins and her 3-year-old. Who wouldn't be able to empathize with that? Yes, twins are a lot of work. Twins and a toddler are a hell of a lot of work. But it's the tone and whining that irritates me. Even if she had simply said, "in a moment of fear and weakness, I agreed to have the RE put back both embryos" that would have been a lot better than the overall theme of "these babies are ruining our lives." And she did have options if she did not want to parent twins. I just can't with the "I made a bad decision and instead of doing something about it, I'm going to bitch and moan all over the Internet." Put on your big girl panties and suck it up.

CourtneyAnna said...

I felt like I should comment, but I can't even formulate a thought about this. She's lucky they could afford IVF. You cannot pick and choose your children.
Maybe her son has bad behavior because she is a horrible parent. I'm sure she resents that son and he feels it. Kids are not dumb.. they feel it. My heart breaks for that boy and these siblings of his. Someday, these twins are going to read this and think, 'Wow, my mom and dad hated me from the start.." That is horrible.
Maybe IF and miscarriages made me bitter, but after FINALLY having my son (who also had 2 open heart surgeries for an undiagnosed heart defect....) I couldnt imagine speaking of him the way this witch speaks of her children. It's disgusting.
She should have never procreated.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more with you. When I read the guy's post, I already almost went apoplectic - I mean, REALLY? TWINS is the worst thing you can think of? I was sitting there thinkin, oh maybe these are HS kids who inexplicably got married because he knocked her up, and of course without a job or an education, this would be hard. But people in THEIR 40s? What, do they live in a bubble that they think twins is the worst thing that could happen? And the woman made me almost more angry, whining about a colicky child. Can't imagine the kind of therapy all their children are going to need, poor hapless souls.