I really don’t know how to write this post. To be completely honest – I’m probably gonna muck this up and make some people feel worse. But I really really need to try to say this.
I haven’t written in over a week. It’s mostly because I’m busy. But there is another reason. I recently wrote a post called Our Table is Full. Now, I’m not the best writer on the internet (shocking, I know). But I had been trying for three months to put into words what it was like to go from two kids to three kids and I was happy when I pressed publish because I finally felt like I nailed it. And I had even spell-checked, which at this juncture in life is a huge accomplishment. At one point I had a journalism degree on the wall and an AP Style Manual on my bookshelf. They are probably in the basement with the boxes we haven’t unpacked when we moved three years ago. Ahem.
Anyway, I shared the post on my blog’s Facebook page. And it was shared by a few other people. And before I knew it – it had become one of my most popular posts I’ve ever written. It didn’t go viral or anything. But I was proud. I felt like I had written something that many people could relate to and appreciate. To a smaller blogger I will liken this to a dessert buffet. I’ll have one of each, thank you very much.
So I spent the day feeling pretty awesome as the hits to my blog kept rising.
Then in the wee hours of the morning I received an email from a reader of my blog. She started out by telling me that she has always liked my blog, rarely ever comments (who does anymore?), but my post had rubbed her the wrong way. She wondered how I could have the nerve to write such an insensitive post when so many women out there would LOVE to have even one child but can’t. She told me that she got the general gist of what I was trying to say but that I needed to be more sensitive to others who will never have a “full table.”
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.
Maybe I deserved that? Believe me, I have now read over that post at least 100 times because overanalyzing is my thing. I’m really good at spending inordinate amounts of time on things I can’t change.
I have been blogging for more than seven years. And in that time I have read hundreds of heartbreaking posts from my blog friends who have endured things I can’t even imagine. Infertility, miscarriages, stillbirths, the deaths of their sick children, the deaths of their healthy children, the deaths of their husbands, friends, mothers, fathers, siblings, pets. Loss of sanity, loss of jobs, loss of homes, loss of limbs (no really), loss of finances, loss of businesses, loss of marriages. I’m not kidding when I say that I have literally wept so many tears for these friends, most of whom I have never even met. My heart drops into my stomach every time I open my reader and realize I’m reading, again, about someone else’s suffering. Oh, this world makes me hurt sometimes.
Is my sadness enough to take away your pain? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But I want you to know that I internalize the pain of others. I think of those who are hurting often. There happen to be people in my life who are hurting right now. It pains me to know that I can’t solve their problems. Knowing if I had the answers for them and the power to change their circumstances, I would do it in an instant. I really would.
I’m not trying to be defensive about receiving an email from a reader that didn’t care for how I worded something. It has happened before and I’m sure it will happen again. But I’m kind of stuck as to an answer. If I wrote so as not to offend a single person – then I wouldn’t be able to write about much of anything, you know?
I can’t write about politics because, whooooo boy, no one can agree about anything when it comes to the U.S. government, amiright?
I can’t write about my parenting philosophies because if there is one thing that brings out the internet snark it’s parenting. (seriously, if I see one more post about what I am/am not supposed to do as a mother I’m going to throw something).
I can’t write about God because there are a million different faiths, man. And I might offend someone if I write the word Jesus.
And I can’t write about transitioning from a family of two to three because someone out there doesn’t have what I have. And they think I’m not grateful enough to deserve it.
Look, I’ll admit to being a little nervous whenever I post a photo of my kids on instagram. I know that many of the women who follow me have had miscarriages and/or lost a baby in the last year. My heart absolutely aches for them.
But can my heart not ache for them and celebrate my joys at the same time without being insensitive? I still love those friends and care about their sorrows.
The truth is I’m happy, guys. Really really happy. It hasn’t always been like this. Please accept my apology if I lay it on kinda thick right now. My guess is that we will all suffer terrible losses in our lives. We don’t know how or when. But if I live long enough, which I hope I do, I’ll surely lose people I love. Hell, I already have. Twice. It’s just math. And it scares the crap out of me.
On my commute home yesterday there was a terrible three-car accident. I saw a silver minivan mashed up in the grass on the side of the highway and cops standing all around. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t put myself in their place and lose my breath over the fact that my happiness could be ripped away at any moment. It’s a sobering thought and one I have to try really hard not to have all the time. Hooray, anxiety!
I think I just keep writing this post now because I’m trying to end it on a positive note. And a car accident isn’t exactly positive so keep going, Molly. Wrap it up.
Anyway, if you’re out there and my post hurt you, I’m so sorry. All I’ve ever tried to do on this blog was spread that “hey, we’re all in this together even when it’s crappy” message.
I’ve shared my joys, my sorrows and even some of my deepest secrets with the internet world. Smart? Probably not. Therapeutic? Yes, yes, yes. I shared that my table may be full now but it wasn’t always that way. And for anyone out there who wants a full table but doesn’t have one – I hope so much for you that all your dreams come true someday soon. It hurts my heart that you may be out there alone and aching. I wish I could take it away or hold your hand while you cry.
The email definitely made me think about how I will post things in the future. But I hope you’ll also give me the freedom to keep posting my joys and my sorrows just as I would give you that freedom in your own space.