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EXCLUSIVE: ‘Married to Medicine’ Cast Member Buffie Purselle Addresses Dr. Jackie Calling Her ‘Infertile’ & Denounces Fertility Shaming In New OpEd

Last week, we all got a sneak peek of the upcoming episode of Married to Medicine airing on Sunday and it has left me utterly speechless. The clip shows Dr. Jackie referring to fellow cast mate Buffie Purselle as ‘infertile’ during her book cover reveal party! Buffie did not deserve this, especially when you consider the irony of Dr. Jackie’s misdiagnosis.

As you can see from Buffie’s Instagram post below, Dr. Jackie neglected to find fault in her piercing and malicious words: 

This was one of the most humiliating and painful moments in my life. I am proud that I was able to rise above my pain and embarrassment and conduct myself as the lady that my Mother and Grandmother raised me to be. When you first meet someone and they see that you are happily married they ask the inevitable question "do you have kids?" I always answer no. No - period. Then SOME people ask "why NOT" as if my husband and I have done something wrong. I am then forced to explain my many failed attempts at motherhood. This is the level of discussion that Dr. Walters and I had regarding my CHALLENGES with fertility. To call another woman infertile is cruel. That word doesn't begin to describe the type of person that I am. The clinical definition is that you are unable to GET pregnant. Well, I can and have gotten pregnant many times. I was just unable to carry my babies to full term. Additionally, it means that you bear no fruit. Well, I like to think that I have been a productive member of society and that my mark will be left through philanthropy. I believe that Dr. Walters said this with malicious intent because she could have said many other things about me if she truly wanted to relate to me. We are both successful businesswomen, we are both extremely organized, we both do a lot of charity work, the list goes on and on but she settled on this. And to date, she has NEVER offered me a sincere apology. I don't want an apology from her anyway because she doesn't think that she did anything wrong. A mouse has more emotional intelligence. For all of the people saying this is some sort of editing trick - sadly it's not, it happened, and being forced to relive it on television and social media hasn't been fun. Thank you to everyone for the positive words of encouragement. The kindness of strangers will never cease to amaze me. I'm fine. I'm tougher than I seem and this too shall pass. I am thankful to know who my REAL friends are on the cast @drsswhit @iluvmariah and @toyabushharris and thanks #Lake and #DrJarret 💜💜💜 #married2med

1,009 Likes, 468 Comments - Buffie Purselle (@buffiepurselle) on Instagram: "This was one of the most humiliating and painful moments in my life. I am proud that I was able to..."

This is why Buffie and her husband Dr. David C. Purselle exclusively shared an OpEd with me in order to express why Dr. Jackie’s comment was out of line. Continue reading below:

Stabbed & Too Ashamed To Say “Ouch” By - Buffie Purselle & Dr. David C. Purselle

Imagine going to a party, and someone that you know walks up  — and stabs you in front of everyone. You first experience shock as you grasp at the wound, but then you attempt to hide the injury to avoid scrutiny - “That didn’t hurt!” You try to fight back the tears from the pain of your bleeding wound. “You are getting blood all over the floor!” When you finally do show the injury, you are asked: “what did YOU do to get stabbed?”  

Obviously, this is a dramatized metaphor, but it describes a recent experience I had being verbally stabbed in front of a group of strangers with a knife in the form of “Buffie, you are infertile.”  This statement, being proclaimed for all to hear, pierced me deeply. The weight of this took a moment to register, but once it did, I realized I was bleeding profusely. I showed a brief moment of distress but quickly pulled myself together and carried on as if I wasn’t severely wounded. This is how I was raised. I was able to find some strength from within somehow, and apply the skills for appropriate social interactions so as not to further draw attention to myself.  After all, the event I was attending was not about me, and I was determined to keep it that way.  

When I finally mustered the strength and presence of mind to confront my attacker, I was accused of being “too sensitive.”  Too sensitive? What does that actually mean? At face value, it suggests that my reaction to the statement was inappropriate or overblown.  Dig deeper and what that statement really says is that both my feelings and my response are invalid. 

The word infertile doesn’t begin to describe me clinically or as a person.  My husband and I have had fertility challenges, but we can and have gotten pregnant.  I have been unable to carry my babies to full term. It’s incredibly difficult even to share my experience because I still feel like I failed at something that every other woman in the world can do. I identify with Michelle Obama and her struggles with fertility, as written in her book, “Becoming.” I wept as I read her words - “A miscarriage is lonely, painful, and demoralizing almost on a cellular level.” 

Since nobody’s experience is the same, even in shared situations, it is impossible to understand how a significant event may impact someone else fully.  Projecting what you think your reaction would be onto someone else is unfair and can be insensitive and unempathetic. Repeatedly dismissing another’s emotional reaction to experienced insults verges on bullying and victim shaming.  Just because I have a reaction that others may not does not mean my response is wrong.

So what happens when we are repeatedly told that our emotions are wrong?  We begin to question them ourselves. At the moment, this internal conflict can be confusing and result in a reaction that can mask the true emotion.  Pushing aside uncomfortable emotions like anger, shame, and embarrassment and displaying a more “socially acceptable” emotion can become an overcompensation and result in behaviors that may be confusing to others.  In the moment of my “stabbing,” I pushed aside the immense negative emotions I was experiencing and relied on what I have learned from previous situations - saying “ouch” will cause me more pain, so I will pretend it doesn’t hurt.  

The subsequent victim shaming and bullying I endured via social media only compounded the humiliation.  This will undoubtedly influence my reaction to the next embarrassing situation in which I find myself, and yes, I might seem to some to be “too sensitive.”  I make NO apologies for my hurt, sensitivity, or my anger. And, am certainly not asking anyone else to “validate” my feelings or reactions. I am not perfect. But, I am woman enough to own who I am (and also appreciate there is room for growth,  self-improvement, humility, and forgiveness). So, for any “haters” out there — my reactions and emotions are just that MINE. What happened to me happens to millions of women each day. And why is that? Why do we always judge each other so harshly for just being human?   Why is that society relegates anything remotely emotional to acting “like a girl.” As if that is somehow lesser than.  

Ironically,  the event that I was attending that night was meant to promote a major accomplishment, uplift, and empower other women.  I challenge us ACTUALLY to begin promoting, uplifting and empowering other women. Empower us to not only be strong and confident and to run the world but also to be vulnerable and human and empathetic to others. 

I am calling for a moratorium on the use of the words “too sensitive.” Have you considered that maybe, in fact, YOU are not sensitive enough?

 

Do you guys feel that Dr. Jackie was wrong for calling Buffie ‘infertile’? Feel free to share your thoughts and tune in to #Married2Med on Sunday, November 17th at 9p.m. EST!

 

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