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 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.
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.
For myself, I am somewhat ashamed.
My comment wasn’t too horrible – it was frank but not mean.
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.
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.
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.