Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An Article Makes Me Mad Enough to Write A Letter

Oh, GLAMOUR magazine. Usually so forward-thinking in the areas of women's reproductive health and options, you so disappointed me by publishing one of the most infuriating pieces of writing I have come across in a really, really long time.

The piece in question is "Stop That Woman!" by Debora L. Spar, adapted from her new book, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection, and published in the September 2013 issue of GLAMOUR. Let me share with you the quote(s) that made me so angry:
 
"...technology has created at least 15 additional ways to have a baby, none of which involves sex."
"I have a friend, a glamourous 42-year-old career woman, who couldn't carry a pregnancy. So she and her husband spent tens of thousands of dollars interviewing surrogacy agencies, surrogates, and doctors to extract her eggs. They made embryos, froze them, and implanted them in strangers' wombs. Nothing worked. Three years in, she's doing IVF again. 'It's so hard,' she told me. 'I just want a baby.'
     Once, she would have adopted. Now we've set the standard that if you can become a biological mom -- by spending exorbitantly and undergoing endless medical procedures -- then you should. Is that liberating? To me, it feels like another way women have to be perfect or, in this case, perfectly fertile."
 
 
Can you see why this made my blood boil? I stewed on it for a day, and then just could not shut up about it. My husband said, "Why don't you write them a letter?" So, instead of explaining what I wrote in my letter to Glamour expressing my EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT in giving a voice to this incredibly insulting view of ART (and adoption, for that matter), here is my letter:
 
Dear Glamour Magazine,
I am so disappointed in the Motherhood section of the piece by Debora L. Spar, “Stop That Woman!” in the September 2013 issue.  As a woman who is currently pursuing motherhood through donor egg IVF, I found her comments about assisted reproduction both insulting and highly damaging. To say that her friend spent tens of thousands of dollars on IVF and the agencies, “strangers,” and doctors involved in surrogacy, and that this is an example of a woman trying to “have it all,” when “Once, she would have adopted” is completely irresponsible. Whether you decide to pursue parenthood through reproductive technology to treat the disease that is infertility or you decide to pursue parenthood through adoption, it is a CHOICE that women are fortunate enough to have (assuming they can afford either option due to the costs involved). Adoption is NOT easy—it is not the path of least resistance to a family that the author insinuated.  It also typically comes with tens of thousands of dollars in agency fees, attorney fees, lengthy waits, and the possibility of failure.
 
Both adoption and assisted reproduction are difficult but highly rewarding paths to parenthood, and to put such a negative spin on infertility treatment and make adoption sound like an easier path if you just put aside the desire to be a biological mom “because you can” made me incredibly angry. I have pursued treatment for my infertility because I choose to continue to pursue pregnancy AND a baby. I have looked into adoption and it is not the right choice for me at this time, because I am still treating my medical condition and have hope that a pregnancy and birth are possible. This does not make me someone who has an unreasonable desire to be “perfectly fertile.” This makes me a woman who just wants a family like anyone else, who wants the experience of pregnancy that so many get to experience without a thought, who wants to breastfeed and experience that moment of pumping in a restroom that the author so eloquently described at the beginning of her piece.
 
Shame on Ms. Spar for providing such a judgmental and biased view of family building for those who have difficulty conceiving. Wanting to be pregnant is not trying to have it all; it is part of the human experience that is grieved tremendously when not possible through sex due to infertility.  I strongly encourage Ms. Spar to go to www.resolve.org to educate herself on both the disease of infertility and the realities of adoption.
 
Sincerely,
Jessica

I am pretty sure that Ms. Spar hasn't experienced infertility herself. There is no way she could have given the complete lack of compassion she showed her "friend." How amazing it must be to pass judgment on those going through an incredibly heartbreaking experience from the side of a woman trying to balance career and family without having to have fought for the piece that people assume is a basic human right--the right to reproduce and create a family unit. No matter how you build your family, there are costs, both financial and emotional. I firmly believe in every woman's right to pursue motherhood HOWEVER SHE SEES FIT and in WHATEVER WAY IS RIGHT FOR HER FAMILY. No one way is easier than the other.
 
Rant over.


11 comments:

  1. My SIL posted this article on Facebook and it really bothered me too, though I couldn't come up with the words to say why. You did a great job though. Did you send it to them?

    The miseducation about how people should "just adopt" is so rampant. I have shocked- SHOCKED- friends by telling them how it really is (in one case, really disappointing a friend who is single and doesn't make much money and thought adoption was a realistic option for herself- then I felt like a real jerk, but that's the truth, babe).

    I agree with the main premise that women- and men- shouldn't try to "have it all." But the language and thoughts in the section on ART are just wrong. Learn something before you write and publish on it. Geesh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did! I totally sent it. I sent it to letters@glamour.com, but am considering sending it via snail mail as well. Overkill? I agree, it's so destructive to try to do it all and have it all, but for the love, there is so much judgment already rampant in how pregnant bodies look and how quickly you "lose the baby weight" and whether you breast feed or stay home or get a nanny or go to daycare or become a Pinterest queen... do we really have to have the judgment go back to HOW we conceive? There were so many other points that she could have made besides attacking women's choice. Which last I checked, we've worked really hard to have choices as women and to have them honored and valued. Gargh. (I am still really angry about it!) I believe that adoption and infertility treatments are both pathways to the same end, but to call one easier or less expensive when there are considerations on both sides... GAGH. Thanks for your support!

      Delete
  2. Totally worthy rant! I hope to see your letter published in the next issue!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you--I am so hoping that I at least get a response. To have an excerpt published would be great. To have any backlash published would be great--I CAN'T be the only one who is infuriated by that article. Grrrr!

      Delete
  3. Great letter! I hope that they publish it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. So proud of you for speaking your mind and the truth and sending it in. You are one of the voices the IF community needs and one of the voices that everyone else needs to hear. You're right, neither option is easy or better or right for everyone. Hope it gets published!

    ReplyDelete
  5. The excerpts you shared just pissed me off! The title of the article is the absolute worst! Thank you so much for speaking up.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, everyone! I received an email stating that my letter had been forwarded to the editor-in-chief... not sure if it's the standard receipt letter but it seemed personalized. I hope it gets published. It STILL makes me mad thinking about it! :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well said! I hope that they review the letter and, even if they don't publish it, I hope the editor-in-chief will think about how hurtful and insulting certain comments can be the next time a similar article is submitted for publication. Well done. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I hope they get a lot of letters. I can't be the only one who read the article and felt so angry and hurt by it... :)

      Delete