Thursday, January 3, 2008

I just can't.

Like the rest of the free world, I have caller ID. I can't imagine life without it. No more conversations with automated sales people; no more "May I have just 5 minutes of your time," or "Mrs. [insert incomprehensible pronunciation of last name], I'm not selling anything, but..." It makes no difference that we're on the national and state do not call lists, we still get them.

My most recent irritation has been repeated calls from a number in Denver, Colorado. I'm sure there are many, many lovely people in Denver. I, however, don't know any of them. I don't even know any disagreeable folks in Denver. So I never answer the phone. But they keep calling. Last Saturday, they called four times and they never left a message. Last night, I answered the phone.

Me: "You call incessantly and you never leave a message. Please take me off your calling list."
Denver person: "Ma'am..."
Me: "No, please. I need you take me off your calling list. Can you do that?"
Denver person: "Yes, but I'm with Planned Parenthood."
Me: Silence
Me: "Please take me off your list."

Planned Parenthood. The first charitable dollar I ever gave was to Planned Parenthood. I have always fervently believed in a woman's right to choose what to do with her body. Why should my desire to have a child trump your right not to have a child? I believe no woman makes the decision to have an abortion with anything other than a heavy heart. I believe abortion should be legal and available. I believe that Planned Parenthood stands for more than just abortion rights and is a worthwhile and purposeful organization. And for reasons I am having trouble articulating, I can't give them any money. I. Can't. Write. The. Check.

My planned parenthood is not going according to plan. I recognize that this is my issue. It has nothing to do with a scared 16 year old who doesn't believe that she can be a parent or carry a baby to term. It has nothing to do with a woman who was raped and cannot, cannot, have the child of her rapist. It is my struggle and mine alone. But my struggle, my heartbreak, my hope for parenthood....I simply can't. Write. That. Check.

Maybe it is not just my struggle to be a parent, but also who I am at 37. A dear friend of ours died of lung cancer last year. It is a devastating disease and I want to support finding a cure. Volunteering at a Boys and Girls Club recently opened my eyes to the overwhelming needs of children in this country. My heart urges me to open my checkbook. Maybe it's just that we can't give to everyone. Maybe.

Or maybe, it's that I just can't.


Io said...

Wow. Yeah, I am way pro-choice, but right now I just think I'd puke if I were still teaching and had a student getting an abortion.

Denise said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. It sucks when things like this take you unaware and bring up all kinds of emotion.

I got an anonymous comment today on one of my old posts in November from someone who was arguing that an embryo is "life." The person didn't really address what my post was about, which was the laws various states are looking at passing to define life as beginning at the embryo stage which would make fertility clinics (and people like us for that matter) criminals for destroying embryos. I'm still debating whether to publish the comment. It wasn't malicious by any means, but I'm a little unsure how to respond to it because I know this is a very touchy subject.

I have always been and will always be pro-choice, but it doesn't mean I want to be confronted with organizations or the people they support making the decisions that are right for them, but certainly wouldn't be right for me at this time in my life.

Meghan said...

Here via the Mel's blog roundup. I've thought alot about this with the upcoming election. Not sure how to reconcile the fact that I would do anything in the world to be able to carry a child but at the same time, think people should have the right to end a pregnancy if they want to.

I wouldn't have been able to write the check either

Dianne/Flutter said...

You aren't alone. My view have changed enormously on abortion. It is scary how my life's experience is skewing my core beliefs. But, I guess it only makes sense that it would.

ekunkelmann said...

I can relate. I have always been and continue to be pro-choice, but my PP donations have certainly dropped off, for reasons I can't quite explain even to myself.

B said...


It hurts when your context and your ideals collide. But you did the right thing by saying no (at least for now).

My views have changed too. I'm still pro-choice, because reproductive freedom is linked to women's political, personal, and professional freedoms. My context, however, has me focusing on reproductive freedoms in the ART arena.

Planned--very carefully planned and painful and expensive and heartwrenching--Parenthood has such a different ring to it now.

Almamay said...

Found your post from Mel "Stirrup Queen's" round up. I just wanted to add my 2 penneth and support you. I forget about Planned Parenthood as I now live in the UK. I am eternally grateful to them for the pap smears, safe birth control and the treatment they gave me for my repeated yeast infections (sorry TMI). I believe their help does more to SAVE women's fertility than any other organisation in the US. Especially for women of little means. DH and I are diagnosed as unexplained but I am sure if Planned Parenthood wasn't there when I was a poor young woman my chance of a family would have ended long ago.
My lasting impression of Planned Parenthood was that they wanted to help me keep me safe and healthy for when I was ready to start the family. It would be wonderful if Planned Parenthood could provide low cost ART treatment.

luna said...

melanie, just wanted to say hope you have a great vacation and wish you luck on the upcoming FET. my nurse also told me of great results with them, maybe because it's closer to a natural cycle, or maybe because choosing the freshies is still a crapshoot. anyway, thanks for your comment earlier too. ~luna

C said...

I stopped donating to Planned Parenthood during my struggle with infertility too. Even driving past their offices was difficult some days. In spite of the fact that I believe that PP is a very worthy organization, my heart and my head had (and still have) a difficult time reconciling my struggle to get pregnant and my belief that a woman ought to be able to terminate a pregnancy if she believes it's right and necessary given her circumstances. Writing the check is something I still can't do.

nancy said...

Here via round-up too ...

First of all, I'm in colorado myself so now you kinda sorta not at all know someone agreeable there. Or disagreable :)

Secondly, I too am pro-choice. And I don't think I could write that check right now or even ever again. Although I still believe every woman has the right (but unfortunately I know from experience, not my own, that not all are with heavy hearts), it's not something I agree with for myself. Where once I would say to that scared teenager that it's her choice and I'd stand behind her whatever she chooses, I would now tell her that she most certaintly have to give the baby up for adoption. Now that I know so many women try and fail, I just can't be okay with someone else ending it voluntarily. Although yes, some circumstances like rape, etc, I do understand. I know this is not a cookie cutter issue. BUT ... I still am pro choice and I still am a supporter for PP, but only in my words now. I think that's as much as I could give.

Melanie, I'm sorry that dumb phone call from my "neighbor" stirred up your emotions. I'll go TP them tonight. :)

Lea Bee said...

it's interesting. my infertility has not affected my pro-choice stance, because those women are not me...and also because i believe that all women should be able to access the medical care to achieve (or not achieve) a pregnancy. but, i think i'm clearly different than most on that score.

Thalia said...

Very interesting post. I also think it's very american in it's content, given how fraught an issue abortion is there, compared to much of the rest of the western world. I have to admit that I don't understand why anyone else having an abortion should be something you now can't support (financially and emotionally, I get that you aren't talking about your intellectual support). Particularly since you are well aware of how important the other work that PP does is - the education, STD testing and treatment, etc.

Given how incredibly difficult adoption is for the first parents and often for the adopted child, the loss that is created in at least 2 parts of the adoption triad, it makes no sense to me that being an infertile means you are less supportive of women having abortions. Jealousy of their easy pregnancy, yes, lack of support of what they choose to do about those pregnancies, no.

Almamay said...

I just wanted to add a second comment. I didn't realise that talking about PP meant only talking about abortion. I didn't need that type of help when I went to PP.

It was the first place that talked to me about my fertility. They stressed the importance of regular pap smears and birth control to avoid unwanted pg and STDs that could seriously damage my fertility. I went to them for birth control and I was educated about preserving my fertility for when I wanted a family. Not what I was expecting but I am still very grateful for.

I have always been and will always be (even after 7 IVFs, 1 FET, 8 IUIs and 1 mc) pro choice.

Duck said...

I HEAR YA! Funny enough I was just on a flight the other day thinking the exact same thing, I've been 100% pro choice all my life.... but all of a sudden one day i've awaken and realized that i just can't support it the way i used to, It's amazing how much infertility changes you.

TABI said...

Yes, this is an interesting issue as you go through IF. After my recent miscarriage especially, I didn't realize how early you are suppose to hear a heartbeat! It was pretty crazy to think about it. I still like to consider myself pro-choice but I also know my IVFs have put me in a state of mind where every embryo seems so precious.