A lesson in graciousness

Yesterday I snidely alluded to a blog I had ‘trolled’.

I wasn’t outright rude, but I wasn’t nice either. I was upset and angry on behalf of myself and on behalf of a group of my friends, you see, the woman whose blog it was had dared to post a long and considered list of tips for couples trying to conceive – things she’d found or heard to be helpful – and at the end was a small message to those who were struggling to concieve

To wait on God’s timing

To pray

To know that some day we ‘would hold that precious baby in our arms’

And my response (amongst others) was ‘No, actually, we won’t’.

But here’s the thing.

Infertile women are can be incredibly touchy. It’s an open wound which gets poked and prodded every time we see a baby/hear a pregnancy announcement/hear someone yelling at their kids/see or hear of mistreated children/hear about people’s wonderful relationships with their children/think about it all too much and mull what we’re missing out on. And one of the things which can rip at that pain in our souls is ignorance.

Plain, simple ignorance. The ‘not-even-your-fault’ kind. Because I’m sure none of us ever really thought about what the world looks like through the ‘Can’t Have Kids’ specs until we were unceremoniously dumped into that position. We kick and scream against it, but we’re there for good (for the most part). And it rankles that we can be dismissed so easily when what a lot of us go through is *anything* but easy. Particularly to be dismissed with nary a thought by someone who got her children.

And yet.

For myself, I am somewhat ashamed.

My comment wasn’t too horrible – it was frank but not mean.

BUT

It was part of a knee-jerk, pack response after a link to this article was posted in an infertility group I’m in. The link was posted with an aggressive comment about the woman’s stance, and I (and several others) took up our swords of pain and rage and went to attack this woman and put her firmly in her place.

Which we did, thoroughly.

Viciously.

Shamefully.

And later I opened my inbox to find a humble, hugely upset apology from this sweet woman, thanking me for being nice[er] and understanding[er] and letting me know that she’d gone back and added a big notice to the top of her post to the effect that this wasn’t meant for those with diagnosed infertility.

So I got back to her, in the spirit of communication (though still slightly on my high horse) appreciating her apology and thanking her for adding the note.

I then got a later email from her, a far more sad-sounding one, saying that she’d had loads of horrible comments and emails and was feeling really bad. She was emailing each person who’d been nasty to apologise to them, because we were all quite right – she hadn’t much knowledge on the subject and had unintentionally hurt and offended us and was so, so sorry.

She asked for our viewpoints, and today her post featured another apology and the story of one of the ladies in the group, in an effort to engage and share information and spread compassion.

What an enormously, massively amazing response.

We’d collectively trashed her post, trashed her, torn her thoughts and theories to shreds in public, humiliated her in as many ways as we could and let her know for damn sure that she was wrong, wrong, WRONG and had no business posting on the subject.

She could have responded with anger – she would have been well justified under such an onslaught.

She could have responded with justification – if she had no prior knowledge, why should she be accountable?

She could have responded with retaliation – why would anyone want to engage with such an obviously embittered, sour group of have-nots?

She could have responded by ignoring or blocking us and deleting our comments – why should she have to listen to that kind of abuse?

Instead she responded with grace.

With humility.

With compassion.

With engagement.

With kindness.

And I for one am impressed and would like to applaud her.

It was an honest mistake, unintentionally made, which upset a lot of people, but I’m not sure it warranted such an angry barrage of comments. Her response was nothing short of incredible, and I’d love you all to go over there and see her lovely blog Journey of Parenthood.

Emily, I salute you.

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10 thoughts on “A lesson in graciousness

  1. Oh how I applaud her response to the 'attack', as she displayed such beautiful grace and honor of you all in correcting her message, and apologizing. I love love love people like that!

    I also applaud YOU, my friend. You may have made a harsh decision, but you also handled every bit of it with beautiful resolve. I am so impressed with your humility and insight into all of this.

    BRAVO honey. And bravo to Emily! I will go check out her site now…

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  2. Today Good exists, and its name is Emily πŸ™‚

    We had the right to say our piece, but I think if it'd been a real-life situation, it would have turned into happy-slapping, which is never ok. It was the blogging equivalent, which is also not ok.

    BUT bridges have been built, learning (on both sides, I hope) has been had. So YAY πŸ™‚

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  3. I am truly in awe and have to say that from what you wrote her Emily handled herself wonderfully. You all had the right to say your peace and it always amazes me when someone does something and then does something like this to apologize and make it right. Thank you, by the way for sharing and letting me know that some good still exists in this crazy world.

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  4. This is it – it's all about moving things forward, and instead of withdrawing, she invited comments, invited a guest post from one of my friends, and showed herself open to learning more about it.

    It's easy to be naive – there are things in life which have absolutely massive, daily impact for people, which I've never even heard of and wouldn't have the first idea about how to broach.

    And learning to think before you speak (or, hit publish) is a skill which takes time to learn – not one person alive can say they've done nothing inadvisable or which they didn't later regret and wish they'd done differently. She's shown remarkable resilience and ability to adapt.

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  5. No, I think (and she admitted) that she had been naive, but that's really no excuse for my part in the backlash. There are all sorts of 'advice' things out there for parents, and the best one I ever heard was 'do what works for you'.

    But yes, I understand your short shrift with those who absorb mindlessly and uncritically, particularly if the impact is very negative.

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  6. I think you had your reasons and right to react as you did. To be honest, if someone does not have first-hand experience in a sensitive matter like infertility, they should not “offer advice”. It was hurtful to not only you but also many others in your situation. Honestly, “God” has decided it's not your turn yet?? But it wa the turn of this woman who flushed her baby down the toilet, of the woman who killed and stored her newborns in the deep-freezer or buried them in the flower bed, of the woman who throws her baby out the window, or throws it in a pile of trash?? That's screaming BS.

    On the other hand, I definitely appreciate her apology. She might have posted those things out of incredible naivite, and realized how ignorant it was. And it was honorable of you to accept her apoligy. I hope she learned from it. But I definitely agree that it proves that she has a strong and good character.

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  7. She doesnt strike me as a person who thinks things through. She looks to be a babywise adherent and those people scare me. I was introduced to the books by a friend but you know me i dont adhere to any parenting policy. I read the book and ended up taking notes and doing research. Most everything he ascerts is wrong and i can support this with research studies. So i naturally get weary of people who do not read the research and just go along with something that has caused problems with babies.

    http://www.ezzo.info/

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