Wednesday, June 16, 2010


I know they've all been talking 'bout me
I can hear them whisper
And it makes me think there must be something wrong
With me
Out of all the hours thinking
I've lost my mind

Even though we've switched clinics and are cleared to proceed with IVF barring any bad news at Thursday's appointment, I am still upset about last week when The Other Clinic convicted me in absentia of being too nuts to do IVF.

Prior to our last meeting with the counselor, I told hubby that I was afraid of prejudicial treatment simply because we've had so many difficult situations to deal with in a short span of time. Turns out I was right. The counselor views IVF only as an additional stressor and therefore concludes it's "unethical" for me to pursue it. I view IVF as a route to long-term peace and closure, though I recognize it will be additional stress in the short term.

Here's a recap of our meeting: The counselor started by going over the results of our personality tests - the notorious MMPI. I generally see personality tests as little more than an interesting diversion. Call me crazy, but I don't think it's ethical to use them as the sole determinant in making life-altering decisions on behalf of others.

She showed us our MMPI results, which are graphed as in the photo below. Hubby falls entirely in the "normal/subnormal" range. My graph fell completely in the "normal" range except for a higher than average level of "depressed mood".

She then spent a few minutes harping on the fact that both hubby and I answered the following question in the affirmative: "Have you had strange or unusual experiences?" We now know that psychologists see this as a red flag that you are nuts. I contend that most everyone has had some strange or unusual experiences by mid-life and that you are strange and unusual if you have not.

We explained that we are not nuts and have actually had strange and unusual experiences, particularly having to bury two of our children just six months apart. I would certainly hope this counts as unusual. In addition, we noted that we've both had unusual experiences during our adventurous pre-marriage years, including but not limited to:
  • swimming with sharks
  • traveling full circle around the world
  • eating a rat
  • engaging in public nudity
  • being threatened with a bayonet at the end of a machine gun
Even though it's a great story, I did not mention that I once had an imaginary Chinese fiance because that sounds a little crazy!

Next she pointed out that hubby is very much an extrovert and I am an introvert, but "not TOO much". I definitely got the impression that extrovert = good and sane but introvert = bad and mentally unbalanced. This seems to be a pervasive view in our society and it has always annoyed me. Introverts are good and sane people, too!

Near the end she brought up BMI (body mass index). This apparently is the only area in life where I compare favorably to hubby. My BMI is perfect thank you very much, but hubby has long been afflicted by a gut which is only getting worse thanks to stress-induced overeating. We are both aware that this is not a good situation, but it affects IVF not at all, so why bring it up? I suspect this was an attempt on her part to soften what had been a barrage of criticism about me.

In summary, I feel misjudged, underestimated, slandered, and maligned. Also, I have a much dimmer view of psychology in general. But I am delighted that we flew right over this roadblock at high speed by switching clinics and believe that doing so is ethical, pragmatic, and eminently sane.

I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
I know, right now you can't tell
But stay awhile and maybe then you'll see
A different side of me

Lyrics are from "Unwell" by Matchbox 20.


Oak said...

I did not get even a TINY crazy vibe out of you during our lunch together and I like to pride myself on having a pretty good "Nutso" radar. So you can just kick that dumb lady to the curb and move forward.

And the whole introvert/extrovert thing should have NOTHING to do with having a baby, what a fricking load of crap.

CeCe said...

I am amazed at all the testing that you guys have been going through. It was when my RE could see in my eyes that I was nearing my breaking point that she suggested moving from IUI to IVF. I most certainly would have failed a psych eval! Turns out the IVF brought me peace.

Browniris said...

I'm so sorry that the counselor was so judgemental. It seems like the things she was harping on shouldn't be relevant. GL!


BU said...

Um, that crazy test is the craziest thing I have ever heard. How can they expect you to be totally "normal" after what you've gone through? If that were the case, anyone with any loss in their life would be deemed unfit for their ethics.

Stupid effing clinic.

Christa said...

Wow, I can't believe that clinic would do that to you! I've never heard of having to be evaluated mentally in order to proceed with IVF. Glad you switched back to the other clinic!


Jessica White said...

I think it's a bit crazy that you guys had to have that done in order to move forward. I certainly think given your battle with infertility and your angel babies you're not going to be perfect happy go luck and well balanced as Joe-Shmoe who has never had anything negative happen.

Good luck!


Kristin said...

Stopping by from ICLW. I just lost my daughter to a cord issue (at 26 weeks) and I cannot believe I found someone else who has had similar losses. Sorry you're being put through the ringer to go through with your IVF. That's nuts.

Wishing you loads of luck!


Suzy said...

I think its DISGRACEFUL that anyone would feel they have the right to judge how you are coping with your loss and I do NOT think an IVF clinic can determine for you if its ETHICAL to treat you. I cannot imagine how you feel, I would be LIVID!
I hope your new clinic treats you with care and respect, as you deserve, and that you get your take home baby soon.

Much love xxxx

Circus Princess said...

I'm so glad to hear you decided to switch RE's. Being able to judge your own mental balance the way you do here, girl, you're twice as sane as most people I know and they haven't been through half as much hardship as you have.

Love the lyrics to "Unwell" :)

Happy ICLW!

Three Cats and a Baby said...

I am so sorry you had to go through that. And I am so sorry for your losses. Heartbreaking.

I am visiting for the first time from ICLW.

Anonymous said...

It is completely unethical to use personality profiles as the sole way to make a judgement on someone's life. In the UK and South Africa (I have worked in HR in both countries) it is illegal to even choose someone for a job based solely on their personality profile. This is not on at all.

I really hope you have a better experience at the new clinic.

Stopping by from ICLW.

caitsmom said...

I'm sorry for your losses. I can't imagine being judged like that from someone in the profession whose job it is is to HELP. That counselor gets the "UGH" award. Wishing you the best with your next clinic.

Unknown said...

you are a wonderful writer!
so real and poignant.
thank you for doing what you do, so well!

My Bumpy Journey said...

Are you kidding me? Tests like that are to be used at a reference of sorts, not a determining factor!!! Kind of like polygraphs- not admissable in court, and can be totally faked/taken wrong/misinterpreted if the test taker thought the question was asking one thing and the test WRITER meant another.
UGH. How dare she say that introversion is bad? If everyone was extroverted this would be a miserable world to live in. Do you have a chance to get a 'second' opinion?

I LOVE the quote from "Unwell". I love love love it.

Good luck sweetie!!
Happy ICLW from #22

daega99 said...

Yeesh - I do not think that is fair at all!!!! Best of luck at the new clinic!


Anonymous said...

OMG. You poor things! I am so glad you had the Clinic 1 card up your sleeve, and I wish you the best of luck with your upcoming cycle.

I just have a bachelors in psychology right now, so I haven't taken many courses on testing and assessment. But one thing that I do know, and that is obvious to anyone with even a modicum of common sense, is that you absolutely cannot base your assessment of someone on ONE test. Especially when that test is administered during an assessment that could make or break the person's plans for the rest of their life!

I would expect anyone who has lived through IF and the deaths of two of their children to score high on the depression scale. (I mean, duh.) I'd also expect that several other scales could be artificially inflated by the stress of it all and the demands of the situation. I'd say you two did remarkably well, and I'm glad Clinic 1 agrees.