Infertility Message Boards: Proceed With Caution
I am sure that this missive here is going to set a few wigs off kilter, but my desire to keep things real, requires me to say my peace. In the early days of my journey, when I lived in fear and filled my head with anecdotes, not facts, I trolled more than a few infertility message boards. What I found was a spooky mixture of well meaning attempts to provide support, that consistently seemed to descend into a fertility Fight Clubs. These boards left me wondering how anyone got any “support” from them at all.
While I am sure that there are a few fantastic online groups out there, here are 5 reasons why you should avoid infertility message boards entirely, or at least exercise extreme caution:
1) Lack of Effective Moderation
Far too frequently for my comfort I remember thinking to myself, “Yikes. Is anyone with any sense moderating these conversations?” Fearful and vulnerable women who are living with infertility can quickly find themselves whipped up in a whirlwind of irresponsible and wildly unproductive exchanges. If you choose to participate, select only those that have clearly posted ground rules. If things start to slip in that area, blow that popsicle stand!
2) Weirdly Competitive
Think there are no shady mean girls in the infertility world? Think again. Whether it is identifying themselves by the number of rounds of treatment they’ve been through, or the “see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya,” exits made by those who finally got pregnant, this kind of nonsense is incomprehensible and downright offensive. Don’t accept it. Don’t do it.
3) Anonymity = Abuse
As you probably know by now, if someone can hide their real identity behind “hopeN4BB4589,” (If there really is someone going by that handle on some fertility board, it is purely by coincidence!) they can probably get away with saying whatever they want, at least for a while. With no accountability, things can get freaky fast.
4) Bad Information
An infertility message board is not the place to get reliable advice that is specific to your unique situation. Duh. Boards provide anecdotal information at best. Sky is falling fear mongering at worst. Call your doctor. If you want real advice about planning for your journey, call a professional coach.
5) Lack of Focus on Positive Action
Sharing fertility journey war stories can be a wonderful way to feel understood and blow off some steam, but don’t get stuck there. Create a life you love, by focusing on positive ACTION that you can take in your life right now. Message boards rarely seem to offer suggestions for well thought out, big picture positive action. Take them for what they are worth.
Nothing Beats Responsible “Been There Done That”
While boards may have the appeal of easy access, they can never, ever replace the value of face to face, positive support from women or professionals that have lived this journey. Seek out women in your area who have walked in your shoes. If a group isn’t your bag, reach out to a fertility coach or mental health professional who has personal experience with infertility. Talk to your doctor about resources. You are worthy of having positive, responsible support!
What has your experience been with infertility message boards?
Share it in the comments below.
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With Love + Respect,
© 2014 Rosanne Austin, From Maybe To Baby