May 20 2011

No thank you for your support.

Published by at 12:44 pm under Infertility,Rants,Stupidity

When dealing with infertility, there are a number of places online where you can go to get information, share stories, and get support from other people in your situation. That is, if you don’t mind diving head first into the realm of inappropriate cutesy-ness and impenetrable acronyms. For some reason, the online infertility community has decided to basically surround themselves with animated emoticons and a whole lot of jargon that a newcomer has to pick up on if they want to make heads or tails of the conversations. When you are diagnosed as infertile and begin seeking treatment, your world becomes crowded with new terms and information just by virtue of your diagnosis; most of us are not casually familiar with the things that could go wrong when you’re trying to reproduce. You usually get a nice crash course when it turns out that you are not one of the ones who can just “get pregnant”. And while many doctors do take the time to explain things to their patients, oftentimes you will want to do some research on your own to educate yourself as much as possible. This is a serious problem, after all. It will affect your whole life, and may be the turning point veering you off from “parent” to “not so much parent”.

However, when you go out searching for answers and to talk to other people who are in your situation, you’re going to have to put on your sparkle panties and start speaking a specialized form of txt tlk. Because apparently infertility turns you into a 16 year old. (I feel extremely sorry for the men who venture into these communities for this reason.) It’s for this reason that I hardly ever go to these forums – I find the whole atmosphere to be ridiculous. But you might choose to go there because, let’s face it, they are some of the only places to talk to other people in your situation. Let’s get you geared up to make your debut!

Stupid Sig File

The first thing you’re going to need is an abnormally long signature, detailing every single step of your infertility journey. It may look something like this:

TTC since 11/07

HSG on 12/07 – tubes clear

6 IUI between 1/08 and 8/08 – BFN! (animated emoticon of someone beating their head on a wall)

IVF Cycle 1 10/08

Retrieved 8 eggs – 5 mature

Transfer 2 embryos 11/08

Preg test 11/08 – BFP!!!!! (animated emoticon of a dancing smiley AND/OR a small two-line gif indicating positive pregnancy test)

M/C 5 wks. (animated emoticon of a smiley with angel wings and a halo)

IVF Cycle 2 3/09

Preg test 4/09 – BFP!!!! (animated emoticon of a dancing smiley AND/OR a small two-line gif indicating positive pregnancy test)

DD born 2/10 (some kind of girly emoticon)

Remember, that whole things shows up underneath EVERY SINGLE POST you make on the message board. Even the one-liners that say “Keep trying! Baby dust and sticky thoughts!”

Baby Dust and Sticky Thoughts

You can’t say “good luck” or “I’m thinking of you” or “I’m praying for a positive outcome” on the infertility forums. You are just about required to say something like “baby dust!” or “sticky thoughts!” You say “baby dust” when you are wishing that someone will get pregnant in the near future. You say “sticky thoughts” when someone has just had an embryo transfer and you are hoping that the embryo will implant and result in a successful pregnancy. There’s nothing like trivialization!

Did you want some acronyms with your advice?

Finally, you’re never going to communicate on the forums unless you learn the language. And by “language” I mean “stupid acronyms created to make newbies feel stupid”. You may have noticed some of them earlier in your sample sig file. SOME of the acronyms are actually from the medical community (such as IUI and IVF) and those ones you are probably already familiar with if you’ve started treatment, but some of them are just there for…I don’t know why. Stupidity’s sake, I guess. I’m going to just provide some examples, because there are TONS and TONS of these.

TTC: Trying To Conceive

IVF: In-Vitro Fertilization

IUI: Intrauterine Insemination

BBT: Basal Body Temperature

M/C or MC: miscarriage

DD, DS, DH: Dear daughter, dear son, dear husband

BD: Baby Dance. It means sex. Isn’t that revolting?

AF: Aunt Flo. Menstruation.

BFP/BFN: Big fat positive/big fat negative. Refers to the results of your pregnancy test. Can’t just say “positive” or “negative”. Not cute enough!

HPT: Home pregnancy test

LO: Love Olympics. Also means sex. Do you get the feeling these women are a little loopy?

PG: Pregnant

Extra Credit: Emoticons

While the use of emoticons is not required, per se, it is heavily encouraged. How else is everyone going to know that you are frustrated that your latest progesterone test showed that your levels have inexplicably dropped unless you include an animated gif of a yellow head beating itself against a brick wall? How else is someone going to comprehend how traumatizing a miscarriage (or M/C or MC) was unless you put a little angel emoticon in there? If you can find an emoticon waving a magic wand and spreading sprinkles to use whenever you wish someone “baby dust!”, well…that’s just gold, right there. Solid gold.

In conclusion, many women frequent these forums and they must enjoy them or at least enjoy the sense of community that they find there. However, I cannot bring myself to become a regular because I can’t stop seeing the posters as those kind of women who wear pink kitten sweatshirts with fold-down collars. By which I mean that they are well-meaning, but out of touch, and have very little to nothing in common with me. I get the feeling that if I were to be sarcastic or swear on one of these forums, several thousand heads around the world might explode from the non-cuteness of it. I don’t have anything against these women, it’s just that they create an environment that makes me feel that I don’t have anything in common with them, either. There are already a huge number of women that I don’t have something in common with: I can’t get pregnant the “normal” way. Why do I need to feel out of place in the community of people who are supposed to be “like me”? I don’t.

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