It's not that infertility is unique--it is just strange the division that moves through the medical world: this condition is respected; this one is not. This disease is considered a disease; this one is considered a choice. Nester writes:
My wife and I have been called selfish and narcissistic by adoption activists. Religious zealots have condemned us as immoral manipulators of God’s will. And prudes just don’t want to discuss where babies come from. Every time I mention our struggle to conceive a child in an Upper East Side Petri dish, I wander into a minefield of awkwardness, discomfort, and rage. I’m made to feel I’ve provided way more information than is socially acceptable.It is entirely acceptable to critique an argument, critique a piece of writing, critique the way something was said. But a person in and of themselves? Alex Kuczynski was equated with Hitler on a Gawker comment (forgive me if I like to keep my Hitler comparisons to those who have organized a genocide). She was called "bitch" more times than I can count. The advice given was laughable--do people honestly believe that with 11 IVFs under her belt, she didn't have time to think through her decisions and weigh her options?
Nester asks, "what is the protocol for talking about the IVF process?" Literally, I'm asking this here. What is the protocol for answering questions and speaking about your life when the response is critiqued so harshly? The person's intelligence and ability to make decisions called into question?
When I wrote about the surrogacy article on BlogHer today, I was speaking more to the fact that this is the reason a culture of secrecy still exists. Was it a great article--frankly, no. It had some wonderful moments that really resonated with me. I really ached for her as I read it. But it was in desperate need of an edit because too many statements could be read in too many different ways to make it helpful. Her point wasn't clear; her reason for including parts of the story unclear.
But I think more telling were the comments that came after the article. The posts about the article.
A commenter over on my post made the point that newspapers used to edit the responses as well--if you wanted to publicly discuss a piece, you wrote a Letter to the Editor and a few of the coherent ones were published. With an online medium, anyone can leave their thoughts. And they do--whether they advance an argument or make a point at all. If people had critiqued the article (and the photographs do not count as the article because they are two separate entities), I would be fine with anything written. But to critique her is ludicrous. We don't know her. We haven't walked in her shoes. We haven't made her decisions even if we've chosen a similar path.
I have been wondering all week what Alex Kuczynski has been feeling.
Since I cannot get that (unless, Alex, you want to weigh in here so I can stop worrying?), I would love to hear your thoughts on Nester's article.