02 January, 2012

Give me a break!

Our local newspaper is putting together a summer series of articles, which seem to be themed around the idea of a worst summer ever.  I either haven’t read all these articles, or they’re only in the paper every few days.  The first was a moving story by a woman of the loss of her brother just before Christmas a few years ago.   It was a beautiful item, written with warmth and humour and love. 

The second article was an insulting and self-indulgent piece, still subtitled Worst Summer Ever, about a woman’s pregnancy.  No, nothing went wrong.  Well, nothing beyond a waiter saying to her “are you sure you’re not having twins?” and her baby not arriving for a week or so after his due date.  I don’t get very angry very often, and I hate to start off 2012 with an angry post.  But this made me very angry.   Not because she didn't like being uncomfortable - I can understand that.  No, I lost it when she said there is a “special kind of hell” waiting to have your baby, not knowing when they are going to arrive, dealing with days and weeks of uncertainty.

A special kind of hell?  Give me a break!  This is a just-gotta-get-through this-to-get-exactly-what-I-wanted kind of hell – perhaps similar to a long economy class flight on your once-in-a-lifetime vacation.  The kind of hell we all wish we could have.
I thought of other, far worse summers.  Those of :

A friend breaking up with her husband of 20 years.
The family and friends of those who have died on the roads (or otherwise) since Christmas.
Those living in Christchurch’s eastern suburbs (the most earthquake damaged).
Those living alone - the sick, the frightened, the elderly.
Those who lost their jobs before Christmas.
Parents with sick or dying children.
Those who are trying and are unable to conceive.

Or even, my own worst summer ever was spent losing my second and last ever pregnancy (my previous worst summer ever had been the year before, losing my first pregnancy).  As you know, I had weeks of uncertainty, then months before it was resolved, with more hospital stays, surgery and procedures.  And of course, there was no baby at the end.  

So many of us - not just in the infertility community - would consider the writer’s worst summer ever to be our best.  I felt insulted that this woman – and perhaps even more so her sub-editors at the newspaper – were so self-centred and insensitive that they could subtitle this article Worst Summer Ever without breaking into hysterical laughter.  Or perhaps they did?  

The next article in the series was written by another pregnant-at-the-time writer, who had just moved to Wellington with her husband and daughter from South Africa.  She was alone, depressed, in a strange land where they knew no-one, with a degree of culture-shock, but still positive.  She reflected on her joys, and what she had, even whilst admitting how difficult it was to make the adjustment.  She subtitled her article, My Best, and Hardest, Summer Ever.  She doesn’t know that she redeemed my faith in women, journalists, and pregnant women.  I might write a Letter to the Editor, and tell her.


  1. What a knobber! I just don't get the whole "special kind of hell" thing about not knowing exactly what was going to happen when. Being a week overdue can't be fun, but it's not exactly a surprise, either.

    Is this article online? I'd be tempted to write, just because it sounds so awful. I'm sure even more fertile people would think so, too.

  2. I would be tempted to write, too. I haven't even read the article and I'm spitting nails!

  3. Oh dear...I'm shocked reading about how it could be the worst summer ever for that pregnant woman and how they even decided to publish that story is beyond me.

  4. I think she'd love to hear that she made a different (the positive one).

    On the other front.. well what can you say. I think you summarized it perfectly with "perhaps similar to a long economy class flight on your once-in-a-lifetime vacation."

    The newspaper seem to get a bit weak in NZ this time of year... but obviously they could find two good articles, so why bother publish something so un-newsworthy as someone whinging about being pregnant with a normalish pregnancy? I'd rather a half spread photo of some lovely summer beaches!

    And sorry to hear of your losses... and i hope that as summer rolls around each year, you have what you need to think about them on your own terms (and not more of this crap in the paper:)!!!)

  5. Ack, what a horrible thing for that woman's child to read later on. I bet she did not think about it.

  6. Oh Sweets,
    I say step onto that soapbox and send this post to the editor!
    I send hugs

  7. I'd like to ask her what she thinks about waiting to deliver the baby that you just found out is stillborn. :p Some people are truly clueless.

  8. A well-justified, well-written rant!

    I do imagine she was just trying to be funny. But wow, that's a tough one.

  9. write to the editor, go for it! haven't read the paper for ages - could write to the letters page in the world supplement - assume its the DomPost you're talking about. Or submit a counter story. But who wants to read stories of pregnancy loss?

    Maybe thats exactly whats missing. Worst summer ever, I think a well-written hard-hitting piece with all the clueless external crap that comes with mc/infertility would be extremely apt

  10. Jesus.

    My saddest summer was a miscarriage on my anniversary. My summer from hell had nothing to do with pregnancy or children or anything like that--I had shigella for 6 weeks and my husband got hit in the face by a group of thugs. People need to get perspective.

  11. Oh I hope you posted a comment at least, if not a letter to the editor. I suspect you weren't the only person shaking your head in dismay at the poor dear's "misfortune." Cry me a river, lady.

  12. I have to admit, a week on, there have been a few other articles about not-so-terrible summers with happy endings. I think the marketing of these is very sily. My anger has abated. A little. (Hormones helped, I will admit).

    Interestingly, when I check the website, a number of the articles have been put up, but NOT the "Worst Summer Ever." Perhaps they have some sense.

  13. My worst summer was when my son was stillborn, hands down. Hence, articles like that make my blood boil too. I recently wanted to punch a pregnant lady after she talked about a "real tragedy". Guess what... her crib wouldn't be there in time for the birth. I restraint from telling her I had it the other way around... crib: check. baby: dead. Freaking her out wouldn't have lessened my grudge. Plus I have friends in eastern Chch and they complain less about their tragedy than people who have to deal with nursery-in-wrong-colour-"trauma".

    Thanks for this post.