**NOTE SEPT 2nd 2011, 2:55 pm eastern time. I am overwhelmed at the response I received from this blog entry. I never imagined in a million years how many others would be so understanding, including those who played the game. Thank you. I would also like to apologize ahead of time for my lack of writing skills. lol. I am not a writer or journalist. I am simply a woman, with feelings. I never meant for this to become viral. So, point being, please don't let my writing inabilities take away from the point I am trying to make. I was simply defending the infertile community, the TRUE Breast Cancer Awareness Cause, and then, myself as I was personally attacked. This blog was NOT written to attract attention. Apparently it has. Whoops. I had no idea the masses of eyes that would stumble upon this.
A couple readers pointed out that by THIS blog post I am doing exactly what the creator of the game wanted; to bring breast cancer awareness. Well... I just don't think they planned on me coming along. lol. My destiny can not possibly be that special lol. But I am very glad that by getting up here on my soapbox (I'm really short, I need one lol), that I did make it (the game) about Breast Cancer Awareness again; as it should have been in the first place. That doesnt mean their game worked, it means the people who protested it did.
We have recieved THOUSANDS of letters from hurt & confused people with valuable emotions who felt this way. We have yet to hear of one single person who has actually scheduled a mammogram due specifically to THIS game. There doesn't seem to be a mass exodus of women rushing to their Dr's right now because their co-workers, sisters, teenage daughter posted a facebook status message that made them think they were pregnant for a few hours. ONLY hurt and confused people, and still, men who are left clueless. That says it all.
I love the ideas from commenters! Many of you have opened my eyes as well! Thank you!!!!!
Warning. I'm long winded. lol.
Ok I'm going to be the party pooper. :( I know someone will get offended & try to judge me in return for my feelings. I hope instead of being angry, if you participated in the latest facebook "breast cancer awareness game", that instead, you will open your heart and listen to me and maybe be able to see things from a different perspective. Pretty please? Our circumstances tend to be the basis for our opinions right? Ok. :) So here's a different point of view.
Last year a game was started on facebook, to "raise breast cancer awareness". Women emailed other women, to keep it a "secret from men" (which slices the possible amount of awareness spreading in half immediately), of how to play, to post their bra color as their status, so men would wonder what the fuss was all about, and somehow, this was helping to raise breast cancer awareness. Maybe because bra's are for breasts, that was the link *shrugs* When you get a minute, read that story about the bra game from a survivors point of view. It's worth it. Short read. Informative.
CLICK HERE FOR A SURVIVORS OPINION ON THE BRA GAME
Then it became posting where you like to leave your purse by saying "I like it on _____", so you were left with a sexually suggestive status message. For instance, "I like it on the chair in my office" Again, I'm having difficulty understanding how this helps anything related to breast cancer. And what is the point in "hiding it from men", when men TOO can be the victims of breast cancer... but many don't know.. because nobody tells them! I mean, if we were really trying to raise awareness, we'd want it to reach everybody, right?
Then we were told in secret, to post our shoe size, but in inches, with a sad face after it, another sexually persuaded status message. So I guess if you have big feet, or small feet... well you get it. In the end, most people had NO idea it had anything to do with Breast Cancer Awareness. :( If you did. Cool. I'm glad. But I have found that the majority of folks, had no idea.
Now another game is being played. This particular game, was when I had enough and felt I needed to speak up. I was going to keep my mouth shut, but then I saw dozens of people I am in touch with online voice the same hurt I felt. So here I am talking about it. We now have women on facebook pretending to be pregnant by choosing a number representing their birth month, and birthdate. Yea seriously. The birth month states how many weeks "pregnant" you are, and the birthdate claims what you are craving". There was a cryptic chart being emailed from women to other women via facebook with a list to choose from as far as "weeks" and "cravings". For instance, had I played the game, my facebook status message would have said, "I am 13 weeks and craving gummy worms!"
When someone figures out that it's a game and that person is not really pregnant, they are not an ounce more educated about breast cancer than before they fell for it. :) They're actually probably either extremely annoyed, upset, or just laughing at being thankful that someone WASN'T pregnant.
I'm not playing this game. As it appears, I can not have anymore children due to health issues and an ovarian disorder. I have one child. My Abby who is 8 years old, who, yes for the record, I appreciate and love to the core!!! If you look at the rest of my blog, you will clearly see that. :)
I suffer from secondary infertility. That means I can not have anymore children even though I have had one. An estimated 15% of americans, (more than 5 million people) suffer from infertility. This means, someone you love, who wants a child and deserves one, can not have one (who is likely on your friends list). My husband and I have tried since we got married to have a baby, pretty much every month. My daughter really wants a brother or sister. We have tried vitamins, bettering our health, counting days, taking temperatures, creams, ovulation kits, you name it, even taking unsolicited advice from friends and family. Everything we can do besides invitro, as we can not afford it. I did conceive in March of 2009, but miscarried around 4 weeks after conception, when I did not yet even know I was pregnant. We were devastated. As you can imagine, pretending to be pregnant as a joke, is downright vulgar to me. It would PAIN my family and friends who have been praying for us for years for me to jest of pregnancy on facebook and then say "just kidding!".
From this game, I witnessed someones mother become ELATED at thinking she was about to be a grandmother by her daughters (newlywed at that) participation in the "game". It took nearly a day for her daughter to sign back onto facebook (I'm assuming she has a job :) ) and tell her she would email her; the email that informed her that no blessing was on its way. I haven't seen that girls mother say much since then on her page in the last few days. Is it related to her post? I don't know. Maybe not. But, nonetheless, at least for a bit there I imagine she felt like a dream come true for her had just been ripped out of her chest. But hey, it was for charity right? I mean, come on, it's for a good cause, why should anyone say anything bad about it! I'm not alone in feeling this way. Maybe if you played along, your family and friends don't mind that kind of humor. Ok cool. If you're that confident that absolutely nobody on your friends list wasn't disapointed or felt awkward after, then hats off to you. And for the record, I recieved about a dozen emails just from other moms who experienced something similiar. One of them was so excited, she called her husband at work, her sisters, and they all started to celebrate and squeal in excitement. She is so hurt, she doesn't even know how to talk to her daughter about it :( . Doesn't that just break your heart?
And keep in mind, and this one is important folks, many of the young breast cancer survivors who won the battle, are now INFERTILE from the treatments they needed to fight breast cancer. So I imagine a mockery of pregnancy "on their behalf" via a facebook status message is probably adding insult to injury. :( not cool.
I'm the sure next comment will be... "yes but now people are more aware of Breast Cancer Awareness because of the game". Again.. this. whole. thing. is. an Epic. Fail. All this has done is cause strife and divided us as women. Not drawn us together. Not taught us anything about a serious medical issue at all. It is still pointless and a bit unintentionally, insensitive. Non productive for sure.
We know nobody meant to hurt anyone. Of course not. Nobody is being mean in return by asking folks to please stop or try to understand how hurtful this can be. But when you tell someone "lighten up" after they say "ouch", that's when it feels personal. Instead, just say, "I didn't think of it that way". Because we know you probably didn't. What ever happened to a good old fashioned apology without a "but, but, but!", right after it? I'm not lashing out at the people who sent it to me, gosh I know you probably meant nothing by it. I still love all of you :), promise! I know that no one intentially hurt me by sending it or by playing it. But I feel confident that when they decided to play, they weren't feeling a passion for raising Breast Cancer Awareness, but rather a bit of a giggle inside of pulling the legs of the people on their facebook friends list and eagerly waiting the reaction they got. Come on guys, you know you did that. lol. I wonder how many of you were excited for those who took the bait and actually emailed them and said "Ha! Got your attention! I love you and it's important to me that you get a Breast Exam", and they responded "Why yes, that's a fabulous idea! Had you not pretended to be pregnant, I would have never thought of that!" And if you were one of the few who WERE thinking about Breast Cancer Awareness, I'm super proud of you. Honestly. Maybe siking your friends & family out into thinking you've been given a blessing is that much fun to you, ok, fine. If you enjoy that kind of shock value, have at it I suppose. Maybe it is funny for some people. But to connect it to breast cancer awareness is hardly justified or tactful. We all love it when we pull a good clean trick on someone, myself included. But please try to understand, this, is very, very, tacky. I understand that spreading Breast Cancer Awareness is a very important cause, but this idea, wasn't very well thought out for the cause at all. Not to mention the rumor mill that will come from those who are new to facebook and not internet savvy who saw someone post a pregnancy and doesn't check their page often or have any clue what is going on. You watch. There be those peeps out there, yo. *wink* lol. And now the loads and loads of teenagers and scared and angry parents who were affected by this game are coming out of the woodworks. And NONE of them are talking about Breast Cancer Awareness.
We're just asking for understanding, and a better effort. Unfortunately, some people can't stand it when they accidently do something wrong and instead of trying to learn anything or think with their heart, they stomp their feet and throw toys. Instead, we ask that you please sample a slice of humble pie. It's good for the soul!
Yes, I know; we judge others based on their actions and ourselves based on our intentions. It is a human flaw and it's not fair of us. I don't see how a passionate intention to help spread Breast Cancer Awareness could have ever been the focal point in starting this game. This was a game that never should have had the Breast Cancer Awareness Cause pinned onto it.
Let's find more productive respectful ways to spread awareness instead of using silly facebook status messages. As a society, we have just GOT to be more creative than THAT. Mmm hmmm. I believe that in my heart of hearts. We can do better! *big smile* You know which one really worked that WAS funny and WAS focused on Breast Cancer Awareness!? The "feel your boobies" campaign! :) When I first saw this, I can tell you, I remember it. It was on my friend Renee's myspace page about 4 years ago. I cracked up laughing & I said to myself "well yea I guess you do have to feel your boobies to see if theres anything weird there, that makes sense". And honest to God, I gave myself an exam. I felt my boobies! And you know what, I found an OWIE! Turns out, it was just a fluid pocket & cutting down on caffeine can help it. PHEW! (and I learned that malignant tumors doesn't exactly = pain.) I have fibrocystic breast tissue. I wouldn't have known that or what it was even called or how to check for changes had my friend Renee not said "FEEL YOUR BOOBIES!" lol
Now THAT!!! Up there! That is great marketing! It's colorful humor, is what helps it get passed around... cause I know.. it's gotta be catchy and attractive to get it out there... BUT... it is so obvious what it's about so it's right on the point and DOES in fact make you think about getting a mammogram or doing at home self breast exam!!!! *big smile*
There were a few passionate ridiculers who felt pretending to be pregnant was a noble deed, who sent me hate mail. (Not very many, no worries, maybe only like 5) Apparently not only do I live with infertility, but now it is my responsiblity, my albatross to carry, to suffer in silence, while a very tasteless game is played in the name of a very serious cause. And again, I am not alone. I am just one of many many many.
Thinking that this is tacky is not being judgemental either. And please, don't try to use my faith against me. I actually had someone try to tell me that as a Christian, I shouldn't feel this way. I'm sorry, I disagree. It's called discernment, not judgement. Jesus Himself got angry when He saw something that was wrong. And He never sinned. Being a Christian or Jew or a Muslim or an Athiest or whatever you are, doesn't mean we aren't allowed to think & feel anger. Yes we are to control it. Sometimes our anger can be processed in a productive way to make wonderful things happen! God feels anger when something wrong is done does He not? It is not a sin for me to feel this way. I can "discern" that this isn't such a fabulous game. It wasn't a very well thought through idea. Just like when I see someone screaming at their small child in the store and cussing & acting like a fool. I'm not judging their parenting skills. I can discern that they need to calm down & learn more affective ways of parenting.
We are all AWARE of breast cancer. Being aware of it doesn't make you immune to it. You can be a Dr. who treats breast cancer patients and become a victim yourself, correct?
If you played the game, I guarantee you there is someone on your friends list who saw you post your fake pregnancy, and for a moment, she was reminded of her empty aching womb, preparing herself to congratulate you, because she loves you, and yes, she IS truly happy for you if you ever do get pregnant, please know that. She went through the emotions that come with such a sensitive situation for her, and she probably cried. And when she found out it was all a joke, she probably felt anger and pain and learned NOTHING about Breast Cancer Awareness.
This is blog post is NOT a guilt trip. If you played & you feel bad now, let it go. Here's a hug! (((HUG))) I don't want you to feel guilty. I want you to feel inspired! And I want you to feel your boobies!! Haha!
I'm all for being proactive. I have a plethora of ideas to help you be more proactive too!
- Next time you get paid, donate some money to your favorite Breast Cancer Awareness Charity. There are so many to choose from.
- You could even donate to a local clinic that treats breast cancer patients who can't afford their treatments.
- If you know someone who has breast cancer, go to her house after she's had chemo and help take care of her and cook for her family and clean her house so she doesn't have to. Be her friend. Be sensitive to her needs.
- Ask her that if you faked a pregnancy on facebook, if that would help her get through her battle.
Oh wait here's an idea! Let's have all the men, email each other, and not women, and all post their shoes size on their status messages but end it with inches.... to help spread prostate cancer awareness!!! For instance.. my husbands status message would say "10 1/2"!!! See how easy that was to help!??!! Wait... what do you mean we didn't help..... Oh..... well it's ok, my heart was in the right place and that's what matters. *wink*
I am pretty confident this "game" was started by someone who will never know what it is to ache and pray for a child and to not be able to have one, or who isn't close to someone who goes through the same monthly pain I do. You may roll your eyes in irritation when your dear Aunt Flo (period) shows up for her visit, but many times I clean myself up while I CRY!!!!! And your infertile friend or cousin, well, she does too. And then when I let my husband know and I see the disapointment in his eyes too. If you've never been through that on a consistant basis, please don't judge me or my lack of enthusiasm for this whole fad, or your friends who are going through it.
Breast Cancer Awareness is a noble cause. It deserves better treatment and publicity. Nobody who is truly passionate to the core for breast cancer awareness would be proud of a game that has not been effective in spreading breast cancer awareness, but only the hurt feelings of many of its sufferers.
ADOPT! Ok, well, for those of you who seem to think adoption is so easy and afforable for us all and are rude enough to insult me because I have not gone that route yet, trust me, I've thought about it. A LOT. I didn't get to tell my ENTIRE story in ONE blog! My journey with infertility is still young, I am only 31 yrs old (32 in a couple weeks, those of you who actually tracked my birthday from the game already knew that lol) . I may very well adopt someday. I'm sort of adopted myself. *big smile* and I'm an only child! :) And if it really means THAT much to you that I do adopt immediately, I'll give you my address so you can send me the money to pay for it. *smile*
I know things can always be worse. That's true for pretty much the entire population. Just keep in mind, there are no winners in the Pain Olympics.
I am stepping off of my soapbox now. I hope at least one person who played the game can see it through a different set of eyes and understand how tasteless and tacky and useless that "game" is.
NOW HERES Something to pass on via facebook that IS productive! You can CLICK a simple button right from where you are sitting, to give FREE mammograms!!!! Yay!!!
CLICK HERE TO HELP! <no seriously its really quick and simple and useful!
and join them on facebook! they have some GREAT easy to share "pass alongs" that are productive and cute!!!!
THE BREAST CANCER SITE ON FACEBOOK <great stuff to click "share" on you'll love!
Best Wishes! Hugs! Smiles!
UPDATE. I have received an overwhelming positive response from so many people today after I posted this blog entry. I have had thousands of strangers contact me. It turns out, many many women, and men too, were upset over this "game" and I was not alone. I would like to mention, many of those responses were from Breast Cancer Survivors, who agreed that posting a facebook status message suggesting a possible pregnancy, does nothing for Breast Cancer Awareness, or treatment for those living with Breast Cancer. I've had Dr's contact me & thank me. Women who experienced negative backlash from playing the game because they accidently hurt feelings of their family members who believed they were pregnant. Widowers who thought it was senseless. And a man who has breast cancer who had no idea it was even possible until he was diagnosed! If you could read the comments in my inbox, you would know exactly why I spoke up. Trust me. It was worth it. I would like to thank everyone who has left me supportive comments and for taking the time to tell us your story and experience with this topic. We have opened many eyes. I have decided to leave this post on my blog.
Still not sure it really bothered anyone? Scroll down and read the comments ;)
a survivors perspective <warning, she speaks her true feelings. Good read.
more about me :)
©C.G. Ward 2011
I put my money where my mouth has been and I donated $10 from each session I've had since I wrote this blog and 10% of my tshirt sales to the Breast Cancer Site at http://www.thebreastcancersite.com/
I hope you'll join me!!!!