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Keep Talking About Infertility - But Don't Get Fired!
a blog by kathleen puls andrade, April 19, 2010
The parade of thoughtless insensitivity goes on. With permission, I’m sharing this post from another site about a woman who actually lost her job because she objected to a poem that was being circulated through her office. I read the poem and . . . well, read on.
“I was recently fired from my position of eight years as a Program Manager with a non-profit workforce development agency for women. The day before my termination, a co-worker circulated a "poem" which, in a nutshell, in an effort to make women feel better about themselves, told them to look at the empty lives of other women who appeared to have it all.
The poem listed three things that these women could have going on in their lives.... they could have hell in their heart, be unable to have children, or be lonely. I fall into the category of not being able to have children. My husband and I went through three long and painful years of infertility treatment. My boss is fully aware of this and allowed the "poem" to be distributed anyway. When I told her how upset it made me, she told me she didn't see it that way. We argued the point and I said that I wanted our Board to review it.
The next day I was fired.
My husband and I are trying to live a child-free life and I feel that this episode has really set me back. All the old feelings I had when going through treatment and IVF have come flooding back and I have such hatred and rage for my insensitive boss. This episode happened a little over three weeks ago. My husband and I stopped treatment about two years ago. I would greatly appreciate any advice or support on this.”
Empty lives? Is this really how people view those who have no kids whether by choice or circumstance? When will the stigma end? This hearkens back to the times when women were considered selfish, or less than, or somehow defective just because their bodies failed them. And no one talked about it! Women suffered with shame and in silence like so many still do today.
I thought times had changed for women but it seems we are taking two steps back in so many instances. Infertility is a biological problem, not a self worth problem. It’s devastating, but we are strong and we’ll figure it out, especially if we keep talking about it (without the fear of losing jobs or friendships!).
When will we take infertility out of the closet for good?