Friday, September 4, 2009

Ready For This?

A friend of mine was thoughtful enough to point out the response to a "question of the week" in a Midwifery Today e-newsletter. I am sure it is obvious that I support homebirth, but this post isn't about that. This is about infertility and the vast amount of ignorance and unhelpful advice.

Please read the question and response below and then send an email.

Q: I have a friend who has been trying to get pregnant for at least two years now, probably three, without success. She is a powerful, healthy, active, spiritual woman. Her husband is a wonderful African dancer and has an individual providing spiritual guidance from Africa who has promised them that the baby will come someday. I am an RN and know the medical definition of infertility. I try to have hope for them but it is hard for me. My friend has had all the infertility tests run and has been told all is okay with her. I do not know about her husband. They cannot afford in vitro fertilization.

My friend has great faith and has, incredibly, not lost hope but I wish I had some information to give her besides the normal medical research on things that could help her get pregnant. I know this is a struggle so many other women deal with too. Any ideas?

Maira

A: The advice I give most couples trying to get pregnant is to have sex in places other than their bedroom...have sex in every room in the house! It's a lot of fun and works like a charm.

— Donna Harnett


Before you get too worked up, I understand that this question / answer forum is open to the public and Donna Harnett is likely a reader of the e-newletter and not a staff member of Midwifery Today. Still, I think the person answering the question needs some further advice, don't you?

Please send an email to: mtensubmit@midwiferytoday.com
On the subject line put: Question of the Week
At the top of the email put: RE: The response to the infertility question by Donna Harnett in E-News issue 11-18.

In the body of the email, I suggest you give some good advice to the question. Please be polite. I hope the next prints some of our responses.

Here is mine:

I'm sorry, but if Maira accepts the advice from Donna Harnett, the most likely response is that she will damage her friendship to a point that it may never recover.

I have personally experienced infertility for over seven years. Having sex in every room of the house probably happened in the first year. This wasn't done because it 'works like a charm', but as a way to try to make having sex fun again after months of timed intercourse and having sex when the time is right even if the mood isn't. I suspect the fun part of sex died out years ago.

Here is my answer to the question:

Dear Maira:

My advice is to tell your Friend that you are here to listen any time and as often as needed. Please don't offer advice or stories about how "a friend of mine finally adopted, gave up, got drunk, took a vacation or whatever and got pregnant." Those things do happen, but the stories are told because they are so rare.

After 3 years it is unlikely, although not impossible, for your friend to get pregnant on her own. I hope she will find a way to deal with the financial side of fertility treatments (which have their own set of stresses), but either way she needs friends right now - friends who are willing to listen to her grief and sorrow again and again if necessary. If your friend seems distant, reach out to her. It is easy to pull away from friends who cannot not or will not understand the cycles of grief and hope that come with trying to conceive. It is often easier to isolate oneself from the more "fertile" world than to deal with pregnancy announcements, baby stories and advice that trivializes instead of validating her experience.

You may also want to read some books (or blogs - try starting with Stirrup Queens) to further understand what your friend may be going through. Even try asking her how she is doing or what it is like. If she doesn't want to talk about it, let it go. If she does, it may be just what she needs.

Thank you for wanting to support your friend during what may be the most trying time of her life.

Kami

I wonder what the questions / answer might have been like had it been a different medical issue. Below is my dear husband's interpretation:

Q: I have a friend who has been fighting cancer for at least two years now, probably three, without success. She is a powerful, healthy, active, spiritual woman. Her husband is a wonderful African dancer and has an individual providing spiritual guidance from Africa who has promised them that a long life. I am an RN and know the medical definition of cancer. I try to have hope for them but it is hard for me. My friend has had all the tests run and has been told all is okay with her. I do not know about her husband. They cannot afford in chemotherapy.

My friend has great faith and has, incredibly, not lost hope but I wish I had some information to give her besides the normal medical research on things that could help her get better. I know this is a struggle so many other people deal with too. Any ideas?

Maira

A: The advice I give most couples trying fighting cancer is to have eat lemons...eat lemons in every room in the house! It's a lot of fun and works like a charm.

— Donna Harnett

11 comments:

Ryan's Mommy said...

Kami, your response made me tear up. Well said. And so true.

Tracy said...

Good response, Kami. I wish I had the time to write...I would suggest to Donna that she forgot relaxing and taking a vacation as her advice (slaps forehead.)

(I think you meant "chemotherapy" in your hubby's interpretation, not invitro?)

Kami said...

Thank's Tracy. I fixed the post. I also changed the font. Yikes! That's what I get for not properly reviewing.

babyattheend said...

Kami, you and your husband are my heros!!! I love your response and think his edits are genius!

MrsSpock said...

Oo..that certainly ruffled my feathers. I will definitely be sending an email.

battynurse said...

Good for you and absolutely fabulous response. That is frustrating to see a comment such as that.

Sunny said...

WOW that Donna woman is ignorant. Even if I hadn't experienced infertility myself, there is no way I'd be stupid enough to answer the question like that. I will try to find the time to send my response. Yours was extremely well done!

Jill said...

wow. I am astounded. how on earth is someone giving advice so uneducated on what she's talking about? That makes no sense. I'm sure their fertility problems are completely due to not having sex in the kitchen yet. That's pretty true for most infertiles... just get it on in the kitchen and it makes your husband's sperm suddenly liven up, or makes you ovulate, or unblocks your tubes. It's the magic trick doctors don't want you to know. But now you do!

arrghhhh. Seriously. It's like a stupid joke that's in super poor taste.

Geohde said...

So well said, Kami,

g

m said...

wonderful response. So hope its published.

Andrea said...

I love your husband's response.