I woke up yesterday morning to see several Facebook status updates with: "I'm X weeks and craving ...". A few people I thought, "hmm? crappy pregnancy announcement?" And then I saw others I knew are not pregnant and immediately know it was some stupid game. I don't really participle in these games. Sure that first one about your bra color was semi fun. Awareness for breast cancer and all, yay! But the others since, like alluding to my husbands "8 inch" cock size, or that fact I *might* be pregnant, are kind of lame, and do nothing for breast cancer.
I didn't cry or get upset by this game. Although I did find it a little annoying. Later that day and today I saw the infertile community blow up about these status updates, and they have every right to!
Elphaba on Yolk: a blog about eggs and sperm posted Pretending you’re pregnant isn’t cute. Some of my favorite quotes:
"Now I know I don’t have to tell any of you how unbelievably fucking stupid this is.a) Any infertile knows you can’t be one week pregnant. That’s just stupid.b) It’s just fucking stupid.c) At least the bra thing kind of made sense since boobs go into bras.d) What does any of this have to do with raising awareness about breast cancer? So a bunch of people see how many weeks fake pregnant you are and that accomplishes what exactly? How am I more educated about breast cancer now? Oh, I’m not. That’s right. So instead of actually donating to a cause or learning some real facts about it, all you’ve done is made your infertile friend feel like shit. Congratulations.
So I took a stand and posted this as my Facebook status:No, I will not post how many “weeks I am” or “what I am craving” in some misguided attempt to raise awareness for breast cancer. Pretending you are pregnant isn’t funny or cute (nor does it raise awareness)–certainly not to your friend who just suffered a miscarriage or is living with infertility. And with 25% of all pregnancies ending in miscarriage and infertility affecting 1 in 6 couples, I can assure you, someone on your Facebook has or is experiencing one of these things."
I also copied this status as my own, giving credit back to Elphaba. And I noticed a few of my friends did also. I did not get any negative feedback, but a few of them did.
Christina on C.G. Ward Photography posted Regarding the facebook "Breast Cancer Awareness Games". A few quotes:
"I suffer from secondary infertility. That means I can not have anymore children even though I have had one. An estimated 15% of americans, (more than 5 million people) suffer from infertility. This means, someone you love, who wants a child and deserves one, can not have one... I did conceive in March of 2009, but miscarried around 4 weeks after conception, when I did not yet even know I was pregnant. We were devastated. As you can imagine, pretending to be pregnant as a joke, is downright vulgar to me. It would PAIN my family and friends who have been praying for us for years for me to jest of pregnancy on facebook and then say "just kidding!"."
"It is still pointless and a bit unintentionally, insensitive. And I don't believe the original purpose was for Breast Cancer Awareness at all. This is now being sugar coated to retaliate against the infertile community who is now in an uproar. Naturally we are always labeled as "bitter". We're rather used to it. We get called bitter when we feel no "bitterness" at all. Please stop stereotyping us. We know you didn't originally intend to hurt us at all. Of course not. We're not being mean to you by asking you to please stop or try to understand us. But when you tell us to lighten up after we say "ouch", that's when it feels personal. Instead, just say, "I didn't think of it that way". Because we know you probably didn't. "
"...many of the young breast cancer survivors who won the battle, are now INFERTILE from the treatments they needed to fight breast cancer. So I imagine a mockery of pregnancy "on their behalf" via a facebook status message is probably adding insult to injury."
"If you played the game, I guarantee you there is someone on your friends list who saw you post your fake pregnancy, and for a moment, she was reminded of her empty aching womb, preparing herself to congratulate you, because she loves you, and yes, she IS truly happy for you if you ever do get pregnant, please know that. She went through the emotions that come with such a sensitive situation for her, and she probably cried. And when she found out it was all a joke, she probably felt anger and pain and learned NOTHING about Breast Cancer Awareness."
"I am pretty confident this "game" was started by someone who will never know what it is to ache and pray for a child and to not be able to have one, or who isn't close to someone who goes through the same monthly pain I do. When I'm in public and I see a newborn baby, or hear one cry, my attention is involuntarily diverted to that little baby, and how bad I want one, and what I would give for one....."
Moments of Pause posted 0 Weeks and Craving Forgiveness. Quotes:
"I chose my words very carefully... I never asked someone how many children they had because it was a question I hated to answer. I didn't ask people who had been married for some time if they were 'trying' because my assumption was that they were and it wasn't going well and that -in itself- is a loss... a loss of that dream us little girls have- we grow up, fall in love, get married, have babies, the end."
"I was on facebook when I read many friends... who were writing how many "weeks they were" and what they were "craving". The inference here was that they were pregnant. I thought it was funny (because clearly they weren't) and I wanted in on the joke. I played along.. but my computer lit up, and my phone rang off the hook with people asking me (for real) if I was pregnant... (clearly their friends hadn't gotten the same forward I had about the 'game' whose purpose was apparently to raise awareness for breast cancer). Some people laughed and thought it was funny- and to be honest- at the time, I thought it was 'funny' that people would honestly think that I was pregnant."
"It wasn't until a friend sent me a message- (A friend who lost two beautiful twin boys, a friend with no living children but a overwhelming desire to be a mother of children that people SEE)- wrote me congratulating me, that all laughter and smiles stopped. I lost my breath and my eyes started to water. I realized what I had done."
"I wondered how many people read my 'status update' and wanted to give me the finger while I smiled and waved... oblivious. I felt sick to my stomach, let her in on the 'joke' and quickly posted the message I got to every 'baby-loss group' I am a member of in hopes to save others from the 'sting' of hearing a friend was pregnant... when in fact they were not. Some thanked for the clarification but after that came outrage, and rightfully so."
"When you want to have a baby... if you've been trying for two months or two years- while you may be happy for someone else, you can't help but be more sad for you- it is human. I learned that when my brother and his wife were expecting their first child a month after I had lost baby E. As excited as I was to be an auntie, and as happy as I was for them... I felt sick and sad. Sad for me. I remember being glad that I heard their exciting news over the phone so that they didn't have to read my face in that moment. It wasn't about them... it was all about me..."
"The world never talks about me. I have no color. No ribbons worn by celebrities as they make their speeches at their awards shows. They never talk about 'me'. But perhaps they will now. Maybe this game will bring attention- just to a different cause. Mine. Ours. So talk about that. Talk about us. The Secret Society."
I don't have much else to add since these blogs summed it up. This in no way, shape or form helps bring "awareness" to breast cancer. It mocks infertility. The women that go through infertility are strong. They take meds that give them horrible side effects, stick needles in their own bodies, and go though painful procedures. All because they have the simple biological desire to have a child. Some of these drugs are not even FDA approved for infertility. Infertilies will try ANYTHING for the small chance of having a child. And when that doesn't work they suck it up and try it all over again next cycle. This makes morning sickness look like a walk in the park. These women are strong considering most of them suffer in silence.
Same goes for those who have dealt with a miscarriage, preterm delivery, or any other type of infant loss. With finding out you are pregnant you have so much excitement, but when you learn at 40 weeks you will not be bring a newborn home from the hospital it is devastating. Most people can't even imagine the emotions that go into that.
These women do cry at pregnancy announcements. Maybe not all of them, or to your face, but it does happen. I have cried at random Facebook announcements, or sitting in the bathroom staring at a negative pregnancy test. I know I'm not the only one.
If you want to raise awareness for breast cancer then wear a ribbon or donate. But mocking those who have suffered infertility or the loss of their child is NOT the way to do it.
September is PCOS awareness month. Polycystic ovary syndrome is something that affects so many women and most people have never even heard of. Or pick one of many other ribbons to wear and bring awareness to that cause.