Friday, January 6, 2012

Think Before You Press Send

Why is it that there are some things that are acceptable if done to an IFer, but, if a similar sort of thing was done to someone suffering from a more well-known disease, the person committing the offense would be condemned?

This morning I got to work and opened my email to find a "funny" email from one of my work colleagues.

I will pause here to state that our problems conceiving and the health issues I've gone through over the past couple of years have been no secret to this person. She shares an office with me and knows very well what struggles and disappointments the last two years have held. That's why I was so surprised this email came from her.

The email was - supposedly - a "Thesis on Women" and included several bits of "Medical Information Women Should Know". What is this information, you ask? Well, it consisted of several jokes about pregnancy. One of my favourites (and, yes, that word should be read loaded with sarcasm)? Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth? A: Yes, pregnancy

Now, I understand this is supposed to be funny. But when you're sending this to someone who can't get pregnant or someone who has struggled to get pregnant or someone who has experienced loss or, heaven forbid, recurrent loss, it's just not funny.

The next bit of the email was titled "10 Ways to Know If You Have Estrogen Issues". A couple of the witticism included in this lot? Everyone around you has an attitude problem and You're sure that everyone around you is scheming to drive you crazy. Now, while this may be true and actually describe the feelings of a woman with estrogen problems, I feel it's highly inappropriate to send this to a woman who is actually suffering from severe estrogen problems.

They want to know the real ways to tell you have estrogen problems? You have to have bloodwork every month to determine what your estrogen level is. You have to take medication that plays with your emotions and makes your monthly period incredibly painful and removes any desire you have for a sexual relationship with your partner. You have to have an endometrial biopsy every 6 months to confirm you don't have hyperplasia. You have to have a D&C when you do have hyperplasia.

Yeah. Not so funny when you know the true side of it. I honestly can't imagine anyone sending out an email with jokes about cancer in it and particularly not to a cancer patient. It would just be inhumanly cruel. So, why is it okay to send this to infertiles or to PCOSers? Why is it okay to poke fun at the real, devestating diseases that afflict us? Why are we accused of over-reacting when we mention that an email like this is not appreciated and that it actually hurts to read?

Will people ever treat those suffering from reproductive conditions as they would someone suffering another, more recognized disease? With the more time that passes, the more I become convinced this will never happen.


Mrs. Gamgee said...

Ugh! How thoughtless!

Honestly, I think part of it is awareness. Everyone knows someone who has battled cancer. There have been telethons and major research funding drives to highlight the impact of cancer. Not so with IF (and all its many permutatios). In fact, because it was considered taboo to talk about for so long, many folks just have no idea of the impact of their words. I'm giving the person who sent this to you a pass... if he/she knows your situation, then they should have enough brains to know it's inappropriate. I'm just commenting on the lack of awareness of our plight in general.


Kristin said...

Oh honey, I'm so sorry you had to deal with that. {{{Hugs}}}

Emily said...

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I personally would have sent an email back telling her it was upsetting and please don't send me anything like that anymore. That is just me.

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