Recently, one of my blogging companions got a comment that boils down to "shut up, and just be grateful".* Just like me, the blogger in question is trying to have a second ART baby. I couldn't help but feel personally offended by the commenter.
To top it off, the anonymous commenter dished out some guilt as well, saying that the stress of doing ART again (and especially the attempts that end in failure) is emotionally damaging the cherished child that is there.
This incident happened more than a week ago, but I still feel the need to write about it. If the shoe fits, wear it?
First off, I understand that I personally have a lot to be grateful for, and always have had. I was born in a prosperous part of the world, to name but one thing. If, for instance, an impoverished woman living in an impoverished corner of the world were to stumble on my blog, she's be justified to feel I should "shut up and just be grateful".
She'd be justified, but she'd also be missing the point about what this blog is. This is my personal space, where I write about my feelings and experiences, no more, no less. If you don't want to hear it, feel free to move on.
And if you're facing more difficult challenges than I am, I'm sure you're right that it's unfair. May I suggest blogging as a coping mechanism**?
Probably, what irked me the most was the guilt trip part, the suggestion that no one in their right mind would go through ART if they already had a child. Excuse me?
It's true that ART is stressful, and remains so even if it has lead to success before. The pills, the shots, the appointments etc. take up time but more importantly there's an emotional investment involved. The failure of our fresh cycle has left me a little blue, I must admit.
But does that make the commenter right? No, not in the least, if you ask me. There are many sources of stress that can befall a family. Illness, job loss, marital troubles, ... The only way to make sure none of these affect your children, is by not having any. More important than what you have to deal with, is how you deal with it.
Predictably, the comment met with disagreement from other readers. A poor response to 'criticism' the initial commenter came back to say. Fair enough?
On second thought, perhaps not at all.
I agree that in expressing opinions and ideas in an open forum, you have to be open to a degree of criticism (in the sense of disagreement based on rational argument). When expressing feelings, not so much. What use is rational argument against a feeling? (I tried rationalizing away my desire for a child, no luck).
If someone says IF makes them angry, sad, jealous, ... can you say they're wrong, as in their reasoning is flawed? You can disapprove of the anger, the sadness and the jealousy, but in my view you cannot truly criticize. Of course, English is not my first language, so I may be mistaken in interpreting the word that way.
Have you received 'just be grateful' comments (probably with best of intentions)?
Do you ask yourself 'why can't I just be grateful'? I do.
Is there any constructive way to dissent with an emotional (IF) blog post?
All that to say I reserve the right to mope on my blog. ;-)
* No link, I don't want to reopen an otherwise closed incident. I realize you only get one side of the story this way.
** I realize that for many people, getting access to a computer is the least of their worries.