Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Cowardly Butrfly

I do my best to stay away from hot-button issues like politics, abortion, fur – stuff that instigates arguments. Because, while I do love when people come to my blog and comment, I don’t want a big throw-down here. Maybe I’m kind of a wussy, but I get out my opinions on other sites. However, Lindsay at Suburban Turmoil has a special talent, I’ve noticed. She could post a one-word entry…like “Chicken”…and she would have 50 comments from people who feel very strongly for AND against chicken. Sometimes it’s funny – sometimes it gets scary – sometimes you’re left scratching your head saying, “How did THAT start such a heated debate??”

I won’t bother to link to the post because the ugly comments have been ‘erased,’ but her post over the weekend was just a funny little story about her hair. This led to a discussion about Locks of Love (which is, from what I’m reading, not as great of an organization as I’d thought!)…which led to the crazies popping in with their big long rants about why she shouldn’t write what she does.

The “crazy” I’m talking about reminded me of someone. A while back, on my old blog, I wrote about my ‘encounter’ with actress Diane Farr. I found out then when a self-righteous bitch this woman was. This is probably the most controversial thing I’m ever going to post. But since I don’t have time today to write about something else, I thought I’d leave you with this to read.

Originally posted October 24th, 2006

I subscribe to
Daily Candy – a great website that acts as your 'in-the-know' friend. They have great tips on shopping, travel, what books to read - you name it.
Last week, they sent me an email about
www.otherannouncements.com. This is a website where you can order cards detailing the changes in your life to send everyone you know. Now, the creator of this 'business' is Diane Farr, who is apparently an actress (and author) as well. Call me "out of the loop" if you will, but I've never heard of her before (even with my Daily Candy). After seeing her picture, I vaguely recognized her as the woman from "Numb3rs" which I never had the slightest desire to watch. I also do not watch Oprah, as I work full-time - so no, I didn't hear about her there, either. I guess she was also mentioned in Glamour, which I actually do read, but still can't recall hearing of her.

I guess this whole 'business' started when Ms. Farr was dumped by her fiancé after she'd already sent out her wedding invitations. She didn't know how to tell all these people that her guy dumped her, so she sent out another card stating that she was now single. How embarrassing for Ms. Farr - yet what a clever idea.

Apparently, she got great feedback about this, so she created more cards. You can now order cards to send to all your loved ones when you:
*Have a child come out of the closet.
*Have a pet die.
*Lose your job.
*Get plastic surgery.
*Break up with your significant other.
*Get a DUI.
*Get sober.
*Go into remission.
*Have a miscarriage.
*Pretty much do anything, because you can customize them!

Now, can anyone guess which one of these pissed me off to no end?

If you guessed "miscarriage" you're right and you win … nothing - but be happy you were right.
The fact that she developed a card for people to inform their acquaintances of their loss is not what bothers me, as I've had to do this and, yes, it's hard to do face-to-face. What bothers me about it is what it reads: "I'm not fat. Unfortunately, I'm not pregnant anymore, either, but we'll be trying again soon while my boobs are still big. Thanks for your support."

I found this wrong on SO many levels. I, personally, cannot see how someone could find humor in miscarriage. I know there are many different types and I have suffered both early miscarriages and late-term pregnancy loss. While I felt a huge difference between them, they were all sad events. Never once did I think it was funny. Never once did I think, "I should jot down a little joke to let everyone know my baby died." I also did not see them as opportunities to try again "while my boobs are still big." In fact, sex was the absolute LAST thing I thought of when I was grieving.

When I saw this card, I immediately clicked the "Contact Us" link and told them what I thought - that the card was insensitive, sick and evil. I send them the links to the websites I have been supporting and told them to go read the stories these families had about pregnancy loss and see if anyone was laughing about it.

Well, wouldn't it beat all, Ms. Farr herself responded to that email. She told me about all the wonderful things she does for other people and how there was pretty much no way I'd ever do as much good as she does. And do you know she "literally wrote the book about honor amongst women"? I sure as hell didn't – nor did I care. She proceeded to tell me that I don't know anything about what kind of fears women face after losing a late-term baby, having to explain to all the people in their life that they hardly know where their baby was.

Hello? YES, as a matter of fact, I DO. I happen to work in an office with about 300 people, not to mention the 600 + people on the manufacturing floor. Over a year later, I still have people asking me how my baby is. I do know first hand how heartbreaking it is and no, Diane, I did not find a magic cure-all to let the world know. But as it happens, I didn't want the world to know. I don't care to send out sympathy requests. The people who know me well enough to ask about my child deserve to hear to their faces, despite how embarrassing it may be for them - or how hard it is for me emotionally - that she is now in Heaven. I also did not have $1200 to send a witty little note to the 2000 people I see on a regular basis. Nor did I want to send the misconception that I felt it was something to laugh about.
I told her in my response, "When you are a caring parent, you have a connection with your child; An unconditional love that cannot be dismissed with a joke."

As I said earlier, I had no idea who she was. So, after I found out she was semi-famous, I did some searching. Turns out, she does do a lot of public speaking, and the sale of her cards goes to charity. Well, in my opinion, anyone who makes a substantial amount of money and does not try to help the less fortunate is a scumbag. Even Britney Spears donates to charity and she has two babies and a freeloading husband. It does not impress me that you are doing your social duty – especially when you try to use that to define yourself as better than me.

I also found a picture of her – pregnant – on a celebrity gossip site.

I wonder if Diane had lost her child (God forbid – I would never wish that on anyone), would she have sent out her own card? Would she have thought it a funny little story to share with everyone? Probably not.

Apparently, she's been criticized for creating this card before:

In my first email, I asked what the difference was to her between losing an unborn child and losing one who had been born – as she did not have a funny card for that situation. She said there are plenty of notices (I'm assuming obituaries) for these types of deaths, but none for miscarriage (the same response she gave in the above article). When my brother died, we put his obituary in the paper. How many people do you know scan this section in the paper looking for people they might know? We were still faced with having to personally inform people about what happened for years to come. This does not convince me that I should perceive miscarriage as funny. I told her: "And as for your excuse that there is not another way to announce your loss, we went with an email with a forwarding request that said something to the effect of 'Last night we suffered the loss of our beautiful baby girl, Isabella Grace, due to umbilical complications. We thank you for your support and understanding during our difficult time.' I just don't think a witty one-liner would have explained the death of my beautiful baby the way I wanted to - the way it felt."

After having time to reflect on everything – my hasty and perhaps nasty initial email, her defensive yet still completely offensive response, and my more well-thought out response to her (haven't heard back yet) – I've come to realize that I don't only find the miscarriage card inappropriate. I still think it horrendous. But if I were to, say, lose my pet (the card reads "Got a shovel?") … Would I really want to send out cards to tell people about it? Who would I send these cards to? Who really cares so much about my cat that they'd want to receive a card notifying them when she died? Also, if so many people cared about my cat, wouldn't it be a little insensitive to jokingly ask them for a shovel to bury it?

The more I think about it, the more I feel sad for the people who want attention so badly that they feel the need for these cards. I suggested maybe she should start up support groups for these people, where they may learn to express their own emotions in their own words.


Kristina said...

I'm glad you e-mailed her what you did. The whole feeling of her cards just is just gross and inappropriate.

Cherann said...

I read this post some time ago but I decided to go back and comment on it.

I agree with you about how inappropriate the card is. She has obviously never suffered a miscarriage and in her ignorance, she produced that card. She's not alone in her ignorance. I've suffered through one and I've had people just tell me "get over it--it's not like you really knew the baby". These people just plain suck.

Jodi said...

OHMYGAWD. a) I cannot not believe that horrible awful woman, I will never ever watch Numbers. and b) I am so sorry that you have had to go through all that you have, with losing your Isabella and losing babies during pregnancy. I cannot even imagine your grief. And you are absolutely right, a snippy snappy one liner certaintly doesn't fit the bill. If I were to receive a card like that from a friend after they had suffered losing a baby I think I would be offended. You know? Talk about minimizing a human life...it's morally wrong. Again, you are one brave woman!!!! And I am so sorry you have been through so much. Big hugs to you and I am laughing with you that that stupid website is gone!