I got my first less-than-supportive comment.
When I started blogging, I expected that I would get comments that would regularly require a tough skin and a stern self talking-to (“you CHOSE to blog”). But I found you lovely people, and I’ve been impressed with the kindness you extended to me, a virtual (see what I did there?) stranger, coming over to emote in your corner of the internet.
It’s not even that the comment was so bad, but it did make me wince a little. It was on my post about sharing pregnancy news on fac.ebook:
“Popping out of lurking to say I can see why oyu are in a tough position. But to think you don’t have the email, or phone number, of your ‘less close’ friends’? So why bother telling them? If FB crashed tomorrow…oh me, oh my…you wouldn’t have ANY way to communicate with said friends? That’s weird to me. FB is your ONLY means of communication. With a potential move coming up, you may want to I don’t know, try to form more meaningful relationships, than just ‘liking’ something here or there. Just my 2cents.”
Before anyone jumps all over me, please know that I would have emailed her directly if she had left an email address or blog site. But she didn’t.
And before anyone jumps all over her, she does partially have a point and I DID ask for comments.
Before I decided to update my status about the pregnancy, I did think about why I should bother telling people who I’m not that close to. Why does it matter if they know that I’m pregnant? Here’s what I came up with:
1) We’re a lesbian couple, and I’m working hard to spread the idea that gay people having kids is normal and blase. Studies show that when people know someone who is gay, they become more accepting and tolerant. It suddenly is less of an abstract concept and more about someone’s life. Same idea with gay people having kids. I’m trying to up the tally for ‘acceptance’ in the ‘parents who are gay’ category.
2) There’s been so much about this process that has been hard, and I’ve so often felt isolated and alone. It’s a large part of the reason I started this blog. I didn’t know anyone IRL that was struggling to get or stay pregnant. I was desperate to talk to someone (other than Tammy and my mom) about it. Since getting and staying pregnant, I’ve longed for a return to some kind of normalcy. The scars that I have from this process (both physical and emotional) continue to haunt me. I wanted (for once!) to not feel weird. I wanted to be a normal person announcing a normal pregnancy. I wanted to bask in the happiness of my friends, even my ‘less close’ friends. I wanted the community affirmation, that this was a GOOD thing, and it was OK to be HAPPY.
But then on to the ‘ouch’ part of Kate’s comment:
“With a potential move coming up, you may want to I don’t know, try to form more meaningful relationships, than just ‘liking’ something here or there.”
Like I said, ouch. That comment hit a little close to home. It’s something I struggle with, maintaining friendships. I’m an introvert, but I also struggle with anxiety, often manifesting in social anxiety. I also struggle with depression. The infertility process has made both my anxiety and depression much harder to deal with.
I have people who I enjoy spending time with; friends from college, friends from work. But it’s HARD for me to maintain those relationships. I work at it, and I try, and sometimes I do better and sometimes I do worse. Since getting pregnant, I’ve been working hard on getting out of the house more, half for my sake and half for Tammy’s. She’s much more social than I am, and she’s often home with me more than she would like. We’re working on trying to find a balance.
But that comment also stung because she hit on the context of a potential move. It’s one of the things that scares me about a move; having to meet new people. I wouldn’t have the natural environment of work to socialize, and I would have to force myself to push out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know (gasp!).
I have met with a psychologist off and on for years (since college). Sometimes I see her very frequently and sometimes a year or more goes by between sessions. But I’m aware that this is an issue for me to work on, and I’m aware it’s not something I will ever be “cured” of. It’s something I’ll have to fight against for the rest of my life. I know that.
Kate, if you’re still out there does this answer your question? Please don’t take this as an attack on you. Like I said, I asked for comments and you gave it to me. It’s highly probably that I’m extra sensitive about the topic given my history. It’s also likely that I over react to things. So no hard feelings?
I found you blog as I searched for “Comments”. Today I received my first nasty (hateful) comment to one of my blog posts, I have not posted this comment yet. I have only met wonderful people on blogging and this comment was shocking to me. Maybe I can just put this comment into the trash can. I guess that’s what it deserves. Thanks for listening, Annie
I hear what I assume is a sensitivity in Kate, perhaps because she is in the midst of her own struggles with infertility and may not be as lucky as you as this point. I understand her sensitivity about FB posts – I think we are all still sensitive about this. I also think you did a great job expressing your reasons. And I totally understand your intense need for some normalcy. You made the right decision for you and I think you should feel totally ok with that.
As for the latter part of her comment, again, I can only give her the benefit of the doubt that it is her internal struggles with infertility (or whatever else) that makes her say something like that. Because, really, it was just plain insensitive and totally unnecessary. She should not have put you in a position where you felt you needed to explain your struggles with anxiety and depression. I hope looking back on her comment, and reading this incredibly kind, open, and honest post from you that she realizes that that comment went too far.
My family keeps telling me that during this time (my pregnancy) I should feel ok with being selfish and making decisions in my and my husband’s interest only (assuming it does not hurt anyone, obviously). I think you should do the same and feel comfortable and confident in whatever decisions you are making, whether is be posting on FB, feeling anxiety about moving, or just plain wanting to do nothing but cuddle on the couch with Tammy.
Very nicely written Sarah. Honestly, I think if you don’t have anything nice to say, you should keep it to yourself. Her comment started out as just responding to your concerns and then turned nasty. You are going through enough shit and don’t need that kind of negativity coming your way. However, since I don’t know this woman, I will try to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that she didn’t mean it the way it came across. Sending you love and courage. You have every right to be happy and every right to announce it to the facebook world that you achieved something that you worked so hard at. You should have the opportunity of being the center of attention one last time before your sweet little pirate comes along.
From another anxious introvert, I can feel the sting. While I think the potential intent of the biting comment (a critique of social media culture and the real disservice it can do for genuine human interaction) was intended, it did come across as a judgement of your ability to make and form meaningful relationships. I think its important for all of us to assume that everyone is doing the best they can in a complicated and nuanced world. And I think the complexities of sharing things on facebook are open for debate. The tone I head “Maybe you should, I don’t know, form meaningful friendships” felt biting because it reads as sarcastic. In any case, I think you did a lovely job of articulating your reasons for sharing via facebook and were reflexive in the difficulty of that for you.
I am continuously grateful for means of connecting that don’t exhaust me or leave me feeling crazy. Utilizing those carefully isn’t always easy. In any case, this gave you a chance to reflect on your own experience. AND, I still think the original comment was a bit more heavy handed then necessary.
I understand your wonders about how to tell via facebook and feel the sting you got from Kate. I especially hear you about wanting to normalize your family to others – this is a normal step for people now and one you should be taking. There are people I am friends with on facebook who are not a huge part of my life now but have been in the past – I enjoy seeing what is going on with them and assume they like the same thing as we both continue the friendship. Don’t take Kate’s words to heart – it was a valid question and you were sweet to think so deeply about how your good news might be hard for others to hear.
I am feeling less generous towards Kate AND the horse she rode in on, so I guess it’s just as well the comment was on your blog 😉
Besides the other good points already made above, I’d like to note that *I* find it surprising that anyone has phone numbers and so on for all of her FB friends, assuming she uses FB in a way similar to me. Which I guess she doesn’t. I don’t think of FB as an alternative to other ways of keeping in touch with the level of friends I would otherwise keep in touch with, but as a really lovely way to be in casual touch with the level of friends I would not really keep up with. I have several hundred FB friends, all people I really know. It’s absurd to think I would call every one of them, but I am happy to hear life news and funny stories from former work colleagues, students, dorm mates, and that wordy girl from sixth grade. Likewise, many people seemed genuinely happy to hear about my first pregnancy, although we are not close. Other lesbian friends have contacted me for ttc advice. Someone I didn’t even know had kids sent me handmedowns. Another friend, catching a comment I made referring to difficulty conceiving, wrote to ask for details. It turns out she had a very similar story, something we would likely never have learned otherwise. Now we have kids of a similar age and a newly close friendship.
Meanwhile, we are ready to go public with news of our current pregnancy but are keeping mum on FB, because my wife is up for a promotion at work and does not want this news to be part of that conversation. My closest friends already know, but there is a whole circle whose emails I do have, who don’t know yet. And the thought of sending an email on the topic to that group or even each of those individuals (a daunting task) leaves me cold, not because I can’t do it but because such an email lacks the delightful casualness of FB and seems to beg for a lot more attention than I mean to demand. I love a good comment (or email), but a “like” is just fine with me. I do notice when those more distant friends click thusly, and it does make me happy. So there.
Yes, yes, yes. Perfectly described as usual Ms Bionic. FB is a brilliant way to keep in touch with all those people who you have connected with in some way, but are not so close that you would stay in regular contact. (It’s also good for friends that live on the opposite side of the world!) I totally agree that ‘announcing’ something on Facebook is a lot less intense than sending emails or calling people.
I do feel a little sorry for Kate’s horse being dragged into this though.
Ugh. This comment bothers me and I’m sorry for you that this stranger took away from your happy time. I think there are just some Facebook haters out there. They don’t understand the point of Facebook and how it has changed how we interact with people and how it connects us. It is called SOCIAL media for a reason. To be social. It’s 2013, and to think you’d be picking up the phone to call twenty people is absurd. We’ve come a lot further than that. By liking photos or comments your friends or acquaintances post on Facebook, you are letting them know that you are thinking of them and that’s the beauty of social media. By just one click, you are acknowledging your friends when you might be too busy for an hour long catch up with every friend you have.
Everyone has a different relationship with Facebook and it isn’t up to this other blogger to tell you how you should use it. So she doesn’t like it, that’s her choice and there was no need for her to be judgemental of your relationship with Facebook.
People utilize social media in a lot of different ways. I have over 650 FB friends, some of whom I wouldn’t recognize in the street let alone know how to reach by e-mail or phone. Sea, meanwhile, keeps her account much smaller and more personal. Neither use is wrong, they’re just different.
I think it’s great that you’re trying to celebrate your news while also taking potential feelings into account– there’s no right route for how to do that, but you’ll figure out what works for you and your family.
Jeez and you haven’t ever friend requested me! Hmmmmph.
I’m similar to you in that I’m a natural introvert, struggle with anxiety and depression at times, and have to put a lot of effort into maintaining most of my friendships. I think the last part of Kate’s comment was an unfair personal attack on someone she doesn’t know. Like others have said, Facebook isn’t typically used as a way to connect with ONLY your close friends. Sure, you could choose not to tell less-close friends about your pregnancy, but if you want to share it, why not? I certainly wouldn’t personally call or e-mail (or text) friends from high school or college that I don’t stay in touch with regularly, but I could see them being interested in knowing I’m pregnant. You never said you were ONLY telling people via Facebook. I’m sure there are family and friends you chose to share with in person.
A little judgy, if you ask me.
there is always going to be good and bad comments in any blog across the internet but it seems as though sometimes are even more hurtful if is LGBT related. When I was 16 I started to feel attraction for woman, and didn’t know who to talk to or where to go so I wrote an article about it on my blog. I got supportive comments as well as people that said I should go to the doctor..
I relate to so much of this post! As a fellow introvert, having a social life is exhausting! I mean, literally, exhausting. But there are people in my life, past and present, that I am facebook “friends” with because it’s so much easier than having frequent, awkward phone conversations or trying to mingle with them at social functions. In some ways, I think facebook is perfect for people like us for that very reason. And you know what? How you choose to announce your pregnancy, after all you’ve been through and all that it means, is totally up to you. And Tammy, of course.
Came across your blog from some others I just started following. I can agree with a lot of what you said. My partner and I just started up our blog (http://theroadtomarriageandmotherhood.wordpress.com/) to try and get some info out there for same-sex couples in Minnesota, and I have questioned if we’ll get any hurtful comments in the future as well. I’m hoping not! But I suppose the internet comes with both the good… and the bad.
Looking forward to reading along with your posts.
I liked what you had to say about feeling like you have to get your story out there so that people see it and become accustomed to it. I am 16 weeks pregnant with twins, and my wife and I are already madly searching for support groups in our area. I have questions about how I should answer questions that are bound to be asked. At my first ultrasound, I introduced Leah as my wife and the tech looked at us and said “well, how did you get pregnant then?” I just feel that theres an obvious answer and she just said it to be passive aggressive. She was terribly short with us and rushed the entire thing. Needless to say, I had my doctor schedule me at a different place for the following appt.
It’s great to read your posts and feel like we are not traveling through this new world all alone. This isn’t a time to be crippled with fear of rejection or judgment, it’s a time of celebration and showing off the small miracles we have inside of us.