Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Those Nutty Message Boards

In the world of trying to conceive (TTC, for you non-procreation attempters), you find yourself spending a lot of time reading and lurking on message boards. In the beginning, I'll grant, they were extremely helpful. I have learned buckets of information from women who are venturing down the same path. Any question that you have, there is a woman out there who is happy to impart her knowledge with you. On these boards and forums, there are different places to lurk--"TTC," "Interpret My HPT" (women post pictures of their peed-upon sticks,) "Pregnancy," "Pregnancy Loss" (no one wants to have to end up here,) and the dreaded abyss, "Infertility." I knew that I had passed a milestone when I discovered that the "TTC" board held nothing for me anymore, and I was a frequent lurker on the "Infertility" board. It wasn't that the "TTC" board didn't still have useful info, but the questions started seeming pretty newbie to me... "What does it feel like when you ovulate?" "I sneezed blue popcorn out of my nose last night, could I be pregnant? and my particular favorite, "My period is two weeks late, do you think I am pregnant?" Honey. TAKE A PREGNANCY TEST. It started irritating me that most of these women would be over in "Pregnancy" board land in a few short months, and probably never have to venture into "Infertility" board territory.

Anyway, these boards are pleasant 90% of the time. But every once in awhile, a topic thread will get started and it will become a war zone. The most controversial topics are:

1) Primary infertility vs. Secondary infertility...whose pain is worse? This usually starts with a comment like "Be thankful you even have a child." It soon escalates into a emotional pain competition..."You don't know what it's like to have your child beg for a sibling!" "You're right! I DON'T know what it's like because I don't HAVE a child!" etc. etc.

2) "Just relax." Someone says something to the effect of "Just relax" to a hysterical poster; the "Just Relax" Gestapo appear and all hell breaks loose.

3) Support for pregnant women. Some infertility strugglers feel that it is asking too much to be expected to attend baby showers and such. Some feel that we need to move past our pain and be supportive of others in their joy. I'm sitting on the fence on this one.

and finally...

4) "How can a just God not give me a baby?" This topic is the most sensitive of all because there are a whole lot of women out there who are really, really angry with God. I can understand; I have my bouts it. But what these angry women hate above all else is being told that God loves them. Second runner up is being told that God has a plan for their lives.

Whenever any of these discussions get going, you can be sure that a few particular posters are gonna be embedded right in the center of it. They remind me of vultures. They don't answer any of the harmless, tame questions like "How do I extend my luteal phase?" or "Should I start drinking green tea?" But get a "Just Relax" discussion started and they are smack dad in the middle, hurling seething remarks left and right. In fact, on my message board, there is a poster that I actually look for. Whenever she gets involved, you know you are in for a good ole' rowdy time.

I used to get frustrated and angry whenever these discussions got going. I tried to stick my two cents in. But now, I just sit back and watch it unfold. I read some of those women's comments and it makes me sad, because I know that they are drowning in their anger. I pray that I never get that angry when it comes to this infertility business.


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