Over the weekend, I told my fertility journey story at SpouseBUZZ Live. After the event, a handful of wives came to me and thanked me for sharing. They too have had difficult journeys and appreciated my candor. My friend from my real life was shocked; she had no idea that any of this had happened to me in the past six months. And typically, that's why I like sharing, because it's a private thing but people want to know that there's someone out there who groks. We've even had an audience memeber share her journey at a SBL who said she never even told her parents about her miscarriages. But she shared with me.
I wish it were always that simple and touching.
Instead, I also met two ladies who openly scoffed at my woes. They heard my entire story -- dead babies, failed fertility treatment -- and looked at me derisively and said that I just haven't been patient enough. Apparently I am just being silly in thinking that two years is a long time to try and that 31 is getting a late start. Nevermind the fact that they weren't that much older than me and their kids are teenagers. Wait, did I say "kids"? I meant their "whoopsies" pregnancies. Oh good golly, am I pregnant, how did that happen? Whoopsie! They got done telling me about their whoopsies and said that I am just impatient.
And I sat there and took it and then excused myself and left. Because I am polite.
I wish it were possible to type their tone of voice. I'm glad I had a witness to this conversation who assured me later that I wasn't overreacting.
People never cease to amaze me.
But I am trying very hard to be content with the people who were grateful I told my story, instead of dwelling on the naysayers. Guard Wife offered to throw hands for me, but I told her that it's really my problem and that I need to take a deep breath and not let it ruin my night. I kept reminding myself of this:
The first line of the most popular book in Buddhism, The Dhammapata, goes something like this: All that we are is determined by our thoughts. It begins where our thoughts begin, it moves where our thoughts move, it ends where our thoughts end. If we think thoughts like he hurt me, he stole from me, he is my enemy, our life and our destiny will follow that thought as the wheel follows the axle. And if we think thoughts like he cannot hurt me, only I can hurt myself, he cannot steal from me, he cannot be my enemy, only I can be my enemy, then our life and our destiny will follow those thoughts.
There will always be naysayers and boorish people. The only thing I can control is how I let it affect me.
You know my offers are w/out expiration date so even when we're old and in rocking chairs & you need someone's larynx punched, just lean over and tell me & I'm on it.
After this weekend, though, I know that I have so many 'alternative' methods of destruction...elbows, knees, feet...Ha-Ha!!
Posted by: Guard Wife at November 18, 2008 03:55 AM (eb8pN)
In my experience, it's always those who have it "easy" who judge those of us who have to work at being parents. Sad to say, but we spent much of our lives avoiding the "whoopsies." When I turned 30 and wanted a baby vs. telling my 15 yr. old to not have one. Selfish me.
I'm proud of your grace. I would have probably handled it the same way because, for some asinine reason, I tend to not try and offend people I'm talking to, especially about sensitive issues.
Posted by: Susan at November 18, 2008 06:10 AM (4aKG6)
I can't believe someone (two people!) actually said something so rude. Ugh. Some people deserve to be slapped. They don't know how lucky they are, both with their "whoopsies", and also that people like you (and me too) are too polite to give them the verbal backlash that they deserve for being so inconsiderate. Ugh.
Posted by: Leofwende at November 18, 2008 07:23 AM (jAos7)
It's often said that people who are insulting online would never say such horrible things in person. Even if that were generally true, sadly there is no shortage of people who can be cruel in real life. Who did these vicious women think they were? I would have lost it if I were you.
People never cease to amaze me.
They amaze us in good ways as well. I admire your ability to keep your cool when confronted with idiocy. And I am moved, both by the positive reaction from your audience and by the very real loyalty of your "imaginary" friends.
I just found an online translation
of the Dhammapada.
Here's a word-for-word analysis
of the passage you referred to.
I was relieved to see that the original starts with Manopubbaṅgammā dhammā
(mind-before-going [is] mental-phenomena) because I don't think that "All that we are is determined by our thoughts."
"All that we think
is determined by our thoughts" (my loose translation) is still too tautological for my taste, but closer to the truth. I used to believe in mind over matter (i.e., that one can be whatever one wants to be), but over the years I've come to recognize the importance of nature and nurture. Nonetheless, it is true that we determine what is in our minds, even if we can't determine "[a]ll that we are"
. We may not be able to control external stimuli, but we can choose to ignore some things and fixate on others to our detriment. Hence we often make ourselves suffer, and in such cases, only we can set ourselves free.
Posted by: Amritas at November 18, 2008 08:04 AM (+nV09)
I totally would've wanted to take Guard Wife up on her offer and then, while the "ladies" were gasping and recovering on the floor, advised them to "just be patient - you'll be able to breathe soon enough."
But in reality, yeah, I would've done the same, non-confrontational thing... they're just so obviously not at that point where they have developed empathy yet.
I'm glad that you know you were able to help others, though! :-) Sharing really does strengthen us all...
Posted by: kannie at November 18, 2008 08:13 AM (iT8dn)
I would pay to watch a martial arts movie in which Guard Wife lives up to her name. Imagine GW giving those two a paralyzing touch.
"just be patient - you'll be able to breathe soon enough."
Great line, kannie.
they're just so obviously not at that point where they have developed empathy yet.
The sad thing is ... they may never
But Sarah won't let that get her down. She won't let the likes of them
mess up her mind.
Posted by: Amritas at November 18, 2008 08:56 AM (+nV09)
That's just . . . mean!
You did not overreact. People who feel they must tell you how to live your life are people who really ought to look at their own.
Some of us have to WORK at fertility. Thankfully, we did not have the trouble you guys have had, but we had miscarriages and setbacks, too, and Ian is our little blessing from God.
I'm glad you shared your story. Even though a couple people felt the need to judge your actions, more people were comforted by your positive attitude, optimism, and ability to relate.
You are in my prayers!
Posted by: Deltasierra at November 18, 2008 09:03 AM (1TJiE)
You took the high ground on that one. Very classy, but, those of us who have come to know you a little through your blog would expect nothing else. You are a classy lady and gentle.
Having said that, guard wife, there were two of 'em. I got your back girl, let me know when and where.
Posted by: Pamela at November 18, 2008 09:29 AM (T27wJ)
if i may be so bold as to add yet another of my brilliant words of wisdom (haha), when i told my boss that i had just returned to work from the doctor's office and that i learned that i had lost one of my twins, her response was, "oh, you must be so relieved!". I'll never forget it. someday i can share jim ross's theory of stupidity (or stupid people say the stupidest things), but suffice it to say, you are right: you can't control what other people do, only how you react. must be those good midwestern values that your wonderful mama and dad taught you
Posted by: kate at November 18, 2008 02:52 PM (576n8)
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