Resolve To Know More About…Hope
April 26, 2014
I wrote my last post about this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) and then went to bed feeling unsettled and leaving it in drafts. Then I woke up at 3am and started thinking about this post. I wish I could say I slept soundly after formulating the idea for this post, but sleep has been difficult lately.
This year the theme for the NIAW blogging challenge is Resolve To Know More.
My relationship with Resolve is complicated and not in the best state. My relationship with Hope is currently in the gutter. That bitch does NOT want to meet me in a dark alley right now. But at 3am the other night I woke up and remembered seeing this tweet a few weeks ago.
If your sentence contains the word "Hope" then you've confessed no control over the outcome you're hoping for.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 26, 2014
And it came to me. I think the reason I have issues with Resolve is because they frame everything around Hope. Blog posts submitted to them for NIAW will compete to win a Hope Award to be presented at the Night of Hope Gala. They also sponsor a Walk of Hope.
Don’t get me wrong, as much as I hate Hope right now (and yes, I do think of her as a person or an entity that I can be mad at) I recognize the need to have her in our lives. No one would ever accomplish anything if they had no hope that they would succeed. But Neil deGrasse Tyson is 100% correct: Hope also represents a complete and utter lack of control.
Case in point: I really HOPE my friend fighting cancer wins her fight. But I, and she, really have zero control over the outcome. She can do her best and control for what she can. But in the end, we’re both still only left with Hope.
Framing everything around Hope means that you are ignoring all the people who have none left and you are highlighting the fact that they have no control. You are snubbing your nose at the people who have resolved to live childfree – an action that represents taking back control and is thus empowering even if incredibly difficult. You are snubbing your nose at the people whose fertility treatments were ultimately unsuccessful regardless of whether they adopted a child. Those people were sold on a promise of Hope that couldn’t be delivered. Not everyone is a winner despite what youth sports teams teach these days. Another blogger makes that point here in a NIAW post about odds.
Not to compare infertility to cancer – the two are inextricably intertwined in my world as I keep having to deal with them both at once (fortunately not personally on the cancer front) – but… Would you try to sell Hope to a person actively dying of cancer? No. You wouldn’t. You’d try to make her feel as comfortable about her fate as you can. Fortunately for my friend we are still hopeful. Although not full of hope – there’s a subtle difference. As such I won’t blow sunshine up her ass and tell her everything will be OK. Life is simply not all rainbows and unicorns and…hope.
I’m NOT saying that I expect Resolve to get women pregnant who can’t do so on their own. That’s for the Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs). It is not Resolve’s job to deliver on the hope promise. Nor am I blaming Resolve for selling this vision of Hope. OK, well… maybe I am a little. It still bugs me that they partnered with Parenting.com for NIAW last year thereby inserting ads with pictures of cute babies in my feed during INFERTILITY AWARENESS WEEK. It also bugs me that they didn’t stand up for proper use of words regarding adoption. Their focus is supposed to be education, awareness and support for infertility and the infertility community. And they absolutely do the first two. But they are less adept at the latter.
I understand that you can’t be all things to all people at all times. I do. And I don’t want this post to be about Resolve. It’s about Hope.
Hope comes from within. She’s in all of us whether we like her or not. When your Hopes turn into Realities it can be all too easy to forget how it felt beforehand. And, as I’ve pointed out before, those of us in the Hope phase are tired and often distracted by our busy worlds. Which leaves the majority of the advocating to be done by those living in their Realities. I see this politically all the time. People forget (or perhaps never knew) what it felt like to be unemployed and hoping for a job interview to lead to a job. Or to be without health insurance and hoping you don’t get sick.
Hope is necessary. Hope is needed. Hope can be inspirational. Hope is beautiful. I never felt so wonderful as I did when I was full of Hope for Kit Kaper. It was a glorious feeling. Hope gives rise to great inventions.
And terrible ones.
And sometimes the product of Hope is…NOTHING AT ALL. Hope exists to teach us failure. And to teach us that you can try again after failing. However, Hope does not teach you when to change your tactics or give up when you continue to fail.
Hope can also be divisive and lead to jealousy when you are hoping to have for yourself what you see others having around you. Hope can turn toxic. Easily. I see it all the time in the ever present Us vs Them mentality in the infertility community – The PAIL (Parenting After Infertility & Loss) vs. Childfree vs. Still In The Trenches. Hope vs. Reality.
Remember… Hope means having no control. And most of us really don’t like that feeling.
Hope is like a drug. She can make you feel euphoric. But then you come crashing down.
Hope is like a beautiful woman who has an ugly personality. She looks good on the outside but once you get to know her…she’s kind of two-faced and doesn’t truly give you what you need. At least, not for long. Her beauty fades quickly.
Hope is short-lived. Which is why I become more and more disillusioned with people and entities (not just Resolve) constantly using the word and concept of Hope as a rallying cry. To Hope is to ignore the odds. Sometimes you need Hope. Other times you need to face facts, numbers, odds and science. Often you need a healthy dose of both. But that can be very difficult to achieve.
Perhaps we should all focus less on Hope and more on her cousin: Empathy.
Hope has a place in the world. We need her around. But her cousin Empathy seems far more worthy of all the attention.
“If you don’t like what’s being said…change the conversation.”