Put a label on it

I am still following Resolve on FB, do many of you follow them?

Now, maybe I'm just not that observant (okay, I know I'm not all that observant) but have the comments on Resolve's FB posts always been so judgy and divisive?  This morning they posted an article about childfree living being a fulfilling alternative to infertility, something I thought sounded nice enough, but the comments really bothered me.  Most were along the lines of "The term 'childfree' is offensive to infertiles."  

So, I get that some infertiles don't like the term "childfree" because they don't feel it's appropriately descriptive of their feelings about their status.  They don't feel that they are "free" of children, and they are still grieving the children they might have had.  But there are also infertiles who have or are or want to move on from their grief and embrace being "childfree." They don't feel like they're lacking anything, so "childless" would be the more offensive term to them.

Whether you are childless or childfree or nonparents or furparents or aunties or unattached-fuck-buddies or whatever else you want to call yourself is entirely personal and specific to your situation.  And there is never going to be a single term that everyone agrees is appropriate for everybody.  So why are people getting their panties in a bunch over a word?

Moreover, I'd go so far to say that even trying to come up with generalized, so-called appropriate terms that satisfy everyone's needs is kind of offensive.  Doing so strips us of our individuality and creates barriers between us.  Why do we feel the need to be compartmentalized?  I feel the same way about describing my race on government forms - for one, the choices are usually entirely inaccurate given the mix of races in the U.S. today, and two, who the F cares what my nationality and/or skin color is???  Marking the "white" box might be somewhat descriptive but it doesn't say a thing about me.

Okay, that was a bit of a tangent, sorry.  What I mean to say is, all of our situations are different.  I know sometimes we like to group ourselves together because we want to feel less alone, particularly when it comes to something difficult like infertility.  But even then there is no one who's been through exactly what you have.  And it bothers me when I notice that the focus of a "support group" strays from supporting one another in their necessarily individual struggles, hopes, goals and accomplishments, and instead zones in on trivial things that not only push themselves further away from the "outside" world, but build walls between their own members as well.  


Megan said...

Kitty, I've followed your blog for a long time. We "met" on webmd quite a while ago.

As my DH and I are currently not trying, and won't be entertaining that thought for at least another year (he's military, it gets complicated), this post hit particularly close to home for me. You've always had a way of articulating things in a very clear manner, often leaving me thinking about it days later.

I don't know what the future holds for us in terms of children. I'm no longer broken up at the thought of never having kids, though I'd certainly prefer the alternative :) there is no distinct label that accurately describes my situation, but luckily not that many people ask. However, this year will be our 7th anniversary, and I can almost feel the speculation and curiosity of our family and friends.

Thank you for such a thoughtful (and thought-provoking!) post!

Christina said...

I actually recently deleted Resolve's FB page from my "liked" pages because I didn't like the vibe going on!

Emily said...

Well said!! We need to be supportive and kind to ALL people, none of us has walked in the others shoes, and never will. Hope you are doing well!!!