Tuesday, August 27, 2013

An Open Letter to KSL

Dear ksl.com,

On behalf of every human being who has ever struggled with reproduction, I'd like to know why you ran "The flip side of infertility" by Arianne Brown on your website this past Sunday. Then, and with no more or less concern, on behalf of any individual who has ever studied writing or English grammar beyond the seventh grade level, I'd like to know how it is that you came to post such drivel to what is otherwise a relatively professional source of information.

I must admit that, as a once aspiring writer, I did find glimmers of hope strewn throughout the article--if we can call it an article. If this woman can successfully have her work (term used very loosely) published on your website, certainly there is still hope for me.

To address the latter issue first, throughout the article are sentences such as, "My mother bore 10 children, her mother had six, and I have a sister who began with twins, following quickly with two more in the space of three years."

We'll start with the numbers. You must be consistent within a category. Technically, yes, a number greater than nine should be written using numerals, but within a specific category, if you choose to use numerals, you must use them for all the numbers, including those less than ten. I certainly wouldn't bring this up on, say, someone's Facebook status update, but when it's something that is being published on a reputable website, I'd expect the rules of grammar to be followed. Speaking of followed, the twins that were born to the author's sister were followed quickly by two more. They were not following quickly.

The paragraphs in this "article" are reminiscent of a persuasive essay written during one's sophomore year of high school. There is relatively little, if any, transition between each paragraph and the points prove that there was a complete lack of research given to the topic. Additionally, the points that are made appear to be defending a separate argument altogether. There is simply not enough information given to make me understand why birth control causing blood clots is an argument for the "fact" that being fertile is so incredibly challenging. As any moderately informed adolescent can tell you, there are more ways to prevent conception than just the birth control pill. The grammar and general lack of understanding in regard to how an article or an essay should be written is simply atrocious.

Then, there is the offensive nature of the article. The fact that no one at your organization realized the absurdity of this article prior to it being published is astounding. Infertile women would simply love to be able to say "nursing and the mini-pill don't always work." They'd love to have to rearrange their lives. And every woman, regardless of position and fertility, has to decide when to call it quits. The woman who doesn't have a biological child has to decide when to stop trying. The woman with eight children has to decide when her family is complete. We all deal with whether or not we should stop trying after Joe or Kelly. To use this as an argument for why it is utterly challenging to be fertile is ridiculous.

I recognize that there are certainly challenges associated with "surprise" pregnancies. Just as infertility isn't in one woman's plans, an unexpected pregnancy isn't in another's. I would never argue that a teen pregnancy doesn't present an incredible list of challenges, nor would I wish this on anyone. A baby born 12 months after her older sibling will, obviously, present the parents with emotional, logistical, and physical limitations that may even be categorized as a trial. Even as someone who struggled through and with infertility, I know that. However, the fact of the matter is that when two people decide to engage in sexual activity, whether within or outside of marriage, pregnancy is a possibility. To be overly shocked by its occurrence is startling--especially to the infertile. To compare the challenges of being fertile to being infertile is to compare apples to a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Certainly they are both food, but that's where the similarities stop.

One is a medical condition often being referred to, depending on the diagnosis, as a disease. The other is a bodily system behaving in the way God designed it to. A friend of mine said, "Ultimately, I don't care that she wrote about her struggles. But to try to compare it to infertility was insensitive, patronizing, and out of line." One of my favorite comments on the article was written by a man. "The comparison that is being drawn by the author is not so different from comparing someone in poor living conditions that can't afford their next meal and the problems associated with being a billionaire..." Another person wrote that it was like a marathon runner telling a double amputee how difficult it is to have legs. My own husband said, "It's like saying, 'I know you have leukemia. I can totally relate because my allergies are really bad right now.'" I mean, I think we can all agree that allergies are miserable and can cause us to want to tear our own face off, but we'd all pick allergies over cancer. So the fact that, near the end, she writes, "Being fertile does have its challenges. Struggling with infertility has its challenges...merely being a mother and a woman has its challenges, and not one greater than the other." is really incredible.

I'm fairly certain the use of italics should have been on "fertile" and "infertility" because it doesn't really make sense to accent "does" and then follow it by accenting "infertility". I'm also mostly sure that there's an improper use of ellipsis there. But what do I know? I've never been published on your site.

A Concerned Reader

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