Posted by: DD | January 9, 2008

no. 576 – It’s Not Free If It Will Cost You Your Sanity

One of the things I’ve always wanted to do through this blog is a PSA that warn others about filling out those promotional cards that you get from the doctor’s office and maternity/baby stores. Yesterday’s post triggered a reminder.

The first time I filled them out I was pregnant with XBoy. A tra-la-la-ing I went into my pregnancy with nary a concern. I was tickled to receive free diapers, formula, magazines, etc. It was free! Who doesn’t love FREE, even if it’s crap.

Then came Vivienne. I made it through the first trimester, but I really didn’t think anything about the hurdle except I was hoping I wouldn’t feel so shitty all the time. I went to The Metro to get myself some new maternity clothes. Stopped in at Satan’s Lair Mimi Maternity and when I went to pay for my purchase (a soft pink cardigan set – I remember it as if it were yesterday), they asked me some demographic data as well as my due date. Again, tra-la-fucking-la…

A week later I encountered the spotting. Vivienne was dead and probably had been as I was doling out her due date to a stranger who couldn’t care less. After my D&C, I was horrified when promotional items showed up in the mail. Not just that, but I had signed up on a website for weekly pregnancy updates and every time I sat down to the computer, I would get a "Your baby is now 17 weeks old!" "Your baby is now 18 weeks old!"

I don’t remember when I finally unsubscribed, but when I did, I was hit in the face yet again. By unsubscribing, they ask why, including, "Was there a miscarriage?" I clicked Yes and was sent automatically to those horrible chat boards ("Even though I was told to wait two cycles before trying again, I got pregnant right after my miscarriage!" "Sending you baby dust!" "They told me my baby had died but at a final ultrasound before the D&C, they found the heart beating again!").

I knew that those boards were not for me (The cynicism is strong in this one!). I never heard of a blog until we started fertility treatments six months later.

A really shitty lesson, trust me. So that’s why I don’t fill out the promo cards and I never will. Maybe my friends think I’m cuckoo for telling them to avoid them as well, but I do and I’ve told them why. I don’t care if they think I’m overly paranoid or borderline nuts. I’m happy to report that I’ve never had to say, "I told you so." Not that I would. I’m just sayin’…

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Responses

  1. I realized the fullness of it just when you mentioned the card. I think you are very good at sticking up for yourself.

  2. Ugh. I filled out one or two of those cards when I was pregnant the first time. It just about killed me when my free pregnancy magazine showed up after my D&C and the emails similar to yours. Skip the cards ladies!

  3. True dat.

    I made the mistake too, when I had m/c #1. Horrifying. Never again.

  4. This happened to my SIL too. She signed up on the weekly pregnancy updates and did unsubscribe once she had her d&c – except the formula companies and various baby couponers didn’t and so she keeps getting them in the mail (she is pregnant again now but it’s still early). So to get back at the formula companies for continually sending her those damn checks, I sell them on ebay for her.

  5. Yup, learned the hard way also.

    These two items make me cringe….for very definitely reasons.

    “Sending you baby dust!” “They told me my baby had died but at a final ultrasound before the D&C, they found the heart beating again!”)

    Really? Both are my worst fears.

  6. I effing HATE those stupid promotional cards. I hate how when I buy maternity clothing at Mo.therhood, they ask me for my phone number and address. You don’t need it, ok? Thanks for leaving me alone.

    *sigh* It’s enough to send me into a rant every time.

    So. Yeah. I’m with you on this.

  7. Oh DD, I am sorry. Nothing like a cheerful reminder of your child who will never be.

    I was newly (15 weeks) pg when I went to my dentist in July. August we got the news that our baby boy was affected and we proceded with a termination. In January when I went back to the dentist, the receptionist helped me off with my coat and said “I can’t believe your hiding a baby in there!” (Well, I mean who goes around telling everyone that you are no longer pg? In fact, the dentist was one of the few poeple who DID know; we kept it from nearly everyone else). I smiled sadly and tolder her we lost him. She looked confused until I took off my coat and she could see I was definitely not pg. From the look on her face I think I almost felt worse for her. Oh crap.

    I am so glad that your pg is progressing so nicely. Hang in there and be well. Please TRY not to worry. I pray that you and your wee one will come out of this A-OK. Be gentle with yourself, and have a lovely day. 🙂

  8. I learned that the hard way too. I called Enfamil 3 damned times to get off of their mailing list. Each time telling them very angrily that I had lost the baby. Due date rolls around and I started getting formula samples in the mail. Cris started intercepting the mail and throwing stuff away before bringing it in the house. He even went so far as to call them.

    It sucks.

  9. One of my friends who was 3 months ahead of me in our pregnancies kept telling me I should sign up for the weekly “how your baby is developing” email because they were so cool. FInally I said “yes they are cool until your baby dies and you get a weekly reminder” since I too had made the mistake of signing up the first go ’round. I never did sign up for any of the crap for my successful pregnancy. The free stuff isn’t worth the never ending junk mail anyway.

  10. Wow, my OB doesn’t hand out any of those kinds of cards with their regular paperwork, thank goodness. Even the magazines in the waiting room are a mix of baby, parenting, health, menopause, lifestyle, gossip, and news mags. Guess I never realized how good I had it!

  11. A friend had relayed this problem to me prior to our starting to try… Once we had the first ectopic I refused to even consider filling out sample forms etc. The lady at Motherhood was horrified when I said NO and when asked I said – “What if this pregnancy ends in miscarriage – the last thing I want is reminders showing up on my due date.” She replied “Oh that’s not going to happen and if it does you can just unsubscribe then.” Needless to say I did not subscribe with SD and won’t subscribe with future pregnancies either… So you are not alone in this one.

  12. not knowing any better i did as you did. my first promotional gift was a free can of formula. it showed up on earl’s due date.

    no cards since. no nothing. fuck that shit.

  13. Oh my gosh, I was just going to post about this. I was reminded by Huggies that my baby is 9 months old. SICK!

  14. Yes, there is nothing like coming home from the hospital without your baby and finding a box of formula in your box. I called and wrote to Enfamil and they NEVER took me off the list. Somehow with Andy’s pregnancy I got on the list again even though I never registered or signed up for anything. Definitely either my OB or the hospital sold my info.

  15. I am still getting offers from companies, only now they’ve graduated up to toddler/preschool stuff. It never stops.
    It’s wonderful for some, but for those of us here… not so much.

  16. Amen, sister.

  17. I never signed up for that stuff for myself. But my SIL, who was due at the same time I was,* signed up for the “what does your baby look like this week” email, and thoughtfully included me on her distribution list, ensuring I continued to get those wrenching reminders long after my twins were gone.

    *Of course, her baby is now a happy, healthy one-year-old.

  18. I hear you loud and clear. With my pregnancy, I unknowingly signed up for a lot of crap. Including the electronic what the size of your baby is and what s/he is doing. Then I lost my baby. I couldn’t seem to get rid of the electronic things for awhile. They kept asking for my password and for the life of me I couldn’t remember what it was. I had subscribed to a different part and then switched to pregnancy planner. I finally had to do the contact thing to get unsubscribed. Then in late October I started getting the “stuff”. I got the formula, and the coupons, and all the other junk. I still get it. Some of it I have tried to pass on. Others I just throw away. Now I know better! Thanks for reminding us to warn others too.

  19. With my first pregnancy loss I did the electronic “what is going on with baby” emails list. I learned that our baby wouldn’t make it very soon afterward. So, when Motherhood Maternity asked me to sign up for the “free magazine” with my current pregnancy I declined, the salesperson pushed me and I said, “I would rather buy them than have them show up for months after a miscarriage”. I went on to explain it to her, and she seemed to get my point. Hopefully she won’t push people so hard in the future. I’m 32 wks pregnant and I’m still avoiding the “free stuff”.

  20. I’m completely with you. Completely. I wouldn’t even give Motherhood my name. “But then we won’t have a record & you can’t return or exchange anything.” And that’s absolutely fine with me, thankyouverymuch. The reminders of my loss cost much more emotionally than a stupid pair of pants that I can just donate will.

  21. Thanks for this. Someone told me about this before I was ever lucky enough to use the advice and it did help I think. When I went to buy pants at Motherhood, I was so thankful that I knew not to give them my info. No thank you sir, I’ll buy my own crap. Though my SIL swears that the free formula and diapers rocked. But she conceived without trying and had an easy pregnancy.

  22. Good warning. You’ll no doubt help more than a few to preserve their sanity. I’ve become such a cynic in recent years that I question just about any “free” stuff coming my way.

  23. Here from Mel’s blog roundup. I was soooo lucky. I signed up at the maternity wear store as well as Sears. I got one can of formula delivered a few weeks after my daughter was stillborn. I marched straight to the phone, called the company & asked to be taken off the mailing list. The woman was very sympathetic & apologetic, & thankfully that was the end of it. It was enough! These days, with better developed computer systems, I’m sure I’d be inundated.

  24. Not only did I get mail and samples and shit, I also got phone calls about education savings plans, baby-book-of-the-month clubs, and music classes. I took perverse pleasure in telling that hapless callers that my baby was dead. But then, I’m a bitch.

  25. Great PSA,dd. I got all those cards at a prenatal P’Bean appointment, and I chucked ’em in a drawer, figuring I’d send them when I felt more confident. (no, I never did send them)

    I don’t care how cynical it is to warn people not to fall for the free-crap cycle, I think it’s an important warning. It sucks hard to have those reminders in the mail.

  26. Great PSA,dd. I got all those cards at a prenatal P’Bean appointment, and I chucked ’em in a drawer, figuring I’d send them when I felt more confident. (no, I never did send them)

    I don’t care how cynical it is to warn people not to fall for the free-crap cycle, I think it’s an important warning. It sucks hard to have those reminders in the mail.


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