WARNING: The sensitive, the easily offended, and the keyboard warriors are not welcome here. But if you choose to ignore that and read anyway, fine. Your choice. But do not throw your judgemental shit in my face.
It started with a sentence written by someone else. And it ended with me crying in the salad section of Asda.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I shall begin.
People use Facebook for a lot of things. Politics. Current affairs. Gossip. Ego-massaging. Boasting. Sharing what they had for their dinner that day. Or getting on their soap box. I like Facebook for being nosey, my K-Squad group, my blog Facebook page, and tagging my husband in idiotic/cute/funny/offensive memes or videos.
I don’t go on keyboard crusades or start arguments.
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t get pissed off by certain things I see and read. Sometimes I have to literally sit on my hand to stop myself from typing something arsey or offensive in response to someone. But do you know what I do instead? I scroll on by.
Yup. There are too many fuckwits in this world to deal with. I haven’t got the time nor the inclination to get my big fuckwit catching net out and go catch them all and take them away. I just respectfully (and passive aggressively) leave them to their corner of the cyber world, and I go on my merry way.
Now I am not an easily offended person. I have played Cards Against Humanity with my parents and laughed so hard at the controversial scenarios that I’m sure I’ll go to hell. Except I don’t believe in hell. But I am easily wound up. And I get riled up when I try to be balanced in a viewpoint but the opposition just ain’t listening. It is as infuriating as the arguments you have with your siblings as a kid and you say something and they stick their fingers in their ears and go “la la la I’m not listening!” and stick their tongue out at you.
I am a reasonable person. I can hold my own in an argument. I can be rational. But do not fire me up with an argument, post it, and immediately block me so that I can’t respond in a civilised way. It is childish. I don’t think I have blocked anyone in my 8 years of being on Facebook. Unfriended and culled every now and then, yes. Block? La-la-la I’m not listening comes to mind again here.
So the trigger for my rant?
Last night, my friend across the pond who is in the same TTC situation as me posted a new blog entry. She is a relatively new blogger, I love her writing and she’s supported me with my blog, so I wanted to extend that back to her. I shared her post. I loved what she wrote. If I could figure out how to hyperlink here I would but search for her on WordPress – Canada, cats and craving a baby.
Her post was about how ladies who are going through the infertility struggle don’t want people’s sympathy, but just want respect. Respect for their strength, bravery and patience. I shared it and put “Hit the nail on the head.” Job done. Went to bed.
I woke up to a shit storm.
An old school friend clicked the link and read the post and focused on one line – ONE LINE – in the whole post’s 500+ words.
“Imagine an adult, a parent, who is suffering from cancer and give them the choice: to go back in time and never have children and be cancer free, or stay as you are: children and cancer.”
The blogger preluded that statement with the warning “I have a very controversial explanation.” She follows the statement with “I don’t believe any would take option 1.” Her personal opinion of what SHE BELIEVES.
If I’m honest, I see where she’s coming on but I didn’t focus on that part of her blog, but the whole context of how infertility is fucking awful and those going through it deserve respect.
This OSF (old school friend) took MASSIVE offence to the cancer remark. Note: not cancer COMPARISON, which she interpreted it as. She went on a rant because her family has been personally affected by cancer (join the queue) and thought it was so insensitive to suggest people would wish cancer on others in order to have children.
I was pleasant. I read. I respected. I saw her side, and I saw the other side, and I defended the blogger as I felt she had been minsinterpreted. I even put a X at the end. All was cool from my point of view.
OSF rejected this. Turned it into a game of would you rather. Big long rant. Then immediately blocked me.
Bit of background info here. When George Michael died on Christmas Day, one of the Facebook news sites like Lad Bible or something posted about his death. I saw that OSF had commented on the thread. She posted that she didn’t agree with other people saying they were heartbroken about his death as only his family would be heartbroken. It was offensive and insensitive to those that knew him personally for strangers to feel the same heartbreaking loss. Yes, I had my WTF face on too. It pissed a lot of people off worldwide, she got accused of being a troll and I scrolled on.
I thought nothing more about that George Michael thing until tonight when suddenly I found myself embroiled in this ridiculous competition of whose situation is worse.
So now I am going to have my rant.
Would you rather have 4 nipples, or only 1 eye?
Would you rather have no teeth, or 100 teeth?
Would you rather chop your arm off with a chainsaw or have your leg pulled off by a a racing car?
Would you rather kill your mum or your dad?
Would you rather have infertility or cancer?
I think we are all in agreement here that THESE ARE HYPOTHETICAL SITUATIONS AND YOU WOULD NEVER BE FACED WITH SUCH CHOICES.
We don’t need to get carried away with chalk and cheese scenarios. But the dilemmas are thought provoking. And my point – MY PERSONAL OPINION – is this:
I cannot face the prospect of living until I am 80+ and not having children – either my own or adopted. The meaning of life for me, is to procreate. Have a family. Be happy.
I would be happy without children, but I would certainly be happier with them. I would find ways to enrich my life – travel, culture, friends – but that yearning, that hole, that ache would NEVER EVER go away. My life would be unfulfilled. Incomplete. The sadness would kill my spirit. My heart would be weak.
Imagine wanting children at age 25 and living at least 50 further years with that biological need unfulfilled. But every single day, every single fucking day, there are reminders around you everywhere of what you can’t or are unable to have. There is no escaping it. No hiding from it. You can’t escape your mind, your feelings, your emotions. They will always be there.
Imagine 300+ periods. Imagine 300+ months of failing. Imagine thousands of dollars or pounds spent for nothing. Imagine dozens of babies born to family and friends around you over the years, but not yours. Imagine a marriage nearly broken from the stress. Imagine millions of tears shed.
Then imagine you got to 80+ and you’re alone. Imagine your husband died long ago. Imagine being in a nursing home with no visitors. Imagine no birthday presents or Christmas cards. Imagine no children or grandchildren to love you. Imagine the loneliness. Imagine only having a representative from your nursing home to attend your funeral.
Now imagine a magic man visits you on your deathbed. He says, I will grant you to go back in time to live your life exactly the same again, but with a child. However, you will only live til 60. You may die of cancer. Or a heart attack. Or hit by a bus. But you will have had a family. A family that love you and enrich your life.
What do you choose?
I choose an early death and children hands down.
I’m NOT choosing to have cancer. Of course I don’t fucking WANT cancer. I don’t want to be fucking hit by a bus either. Death is horrific however which way it comes to you. But it comes to all of us eventually. If I could do a deal with Death then I would. Why wouldn’t I? It’s inevitable anyway.
But let’s not forget, this is a hypothetical situation. And we’re going to have an argument, on the internet, about a hypothetical situation, that isn’t going to even happen, and it wasn’t even said by me in the first place? REALLY?!
I’m not going to get drawn into the horrific nature of cancer. I’m not going to get drawn into a stupid and petty comparison of whose situation is worse. And I won’t dignify it by even attempting to play that game. I’m not an idiot.
But saying to me “don’t make flippant remarks about cancer when you’ve not experienced it yourself” reaallllly pisses me off.
It pisses me off because I’m not an isnensitve, uncompassionate cow of a human being.
It pisses me off because when I was 19 and suffering from depression I was told by a friend at the time “What do you have to be depressed about? If anyone should be depressed it’s Emma because her nan has cancer.” That hurt. And has stayed with me for 12 years since.
It pisses me off because I lost my nan to dementia over a long period of time and witnessing this wonderful woman become a child, and see my grandad lose his wife and my mum lose her mum, broke my heart.
It pisses me off because I lost my grandad to one stroke too many and eventually died of a broken heart.
It pisses me off because I nearly lost my mum to a heart attack 2 years ago, which shocked me into awareness of my own mortality, the need to be a mum, and the need to be a mum whilst my own mum was still alive.
IT PISSES ME OFF because grief is not a fucking competition. One person’s situation is not worse than another.
This is not fucking Top Trumps or rock, paper, scissors FFS. Rock is cancer. Scissors is infertility. Rock beats scissors. Oh FUCK OFF.
What happened to sisterhood solidarity? What happened to empathy? To understanding? To compassion?
What happened to ‘Jeez, you’re going through a tough time, and so am I, so I’m here if you need me?’
What happened to respect for all survivors of all individual personal challenges and strife?
Just because I may never personally experience cancer, does that mean my family experience of heart problems, strokes and brain tumours is any less? What do you want – a medal for being the bravest? Have one if it makes you feel better.
The battle of infertility, is my battle. Your battle is yours. We are side by side. Not one above another. If you’re looking down on me, then it should only be to reach your hand down to mine to help me up.
And this is what went through my mind in the salad aisle at Asda tonight. It’s what stung behind my eyes. It’s what brought the lump to my throat in the bread section. It’s what let the tears start trickling down my face as I handed the cashier her money when I hoped she didn’t notice. It’s what made me scream my head off in the car on the way home. It’s what made me weep into Dave’s shoulder when I got back. It’s what made me send expletive ridden texts and messages to my friends. It’s what made me punch the shit out of thin air when I did my kickboxing DVD. It’s what me lose my appetite and throw my dinner away. It’s what made me sob silently, mouth agape, in the shower tonight. It’s what is making me sit here in bed, typing this, at 11:30pm when I should be asleep. But I can’t, because I’m emotionally drained and I know I will wake up to my period in the morning. My 14th failed cycle.
But thank you, OSF. The anger, the frustration, the emotion you brought to the surface made me burn double the calories working out tonight.
And I know you’ll read this, because you were aware of my blog. And coincidentally tonight my ‘likes’ total for my blog’s Facebook page went down by 1 tonight since you blocked me.
So to you, I’m sorry for your situation. Truly I am. I’m sorry it’s affected you to the point of being blinkered to others’ opinions. I’m sorry you misunderstood and thought we were comparing situations, when I certainly wasn’t. And I’m sorry you felt the need to block me when we’ve known each other since we were 11 and I didn’t have a problem with you in spite of our disagreement.
But no matter. I’ve found my tribe.
Be kind. Always.