Advice is an interesting thing. Even when it comes with the best intentions, it can be hard to hear. In the past year, as I’ve written more and more about our struggles trying to conceive and then our diagnoses of MFI and diminished ovarian reserve, I’ve received a lot of great advice on how I might proceed, what steps we might take, what courses of action worked, or didn’t work, for others. 99.9% of that advice has been incredibly helpful: even if I knew it wasn’t the right plan of action for us, I appreciated hearing what others had done and learning of how successful (or unsuccessful) their endeavors were.
The truth is I believe all kinds of advice can be valuable, even if it’s assvice and it isn’t something you want to hear at all. Take Andy’s comment on my post. While I certainly don’t want to hear advice like that–written in such a hurtful, hateful, way–I do appreciate what that comment helped me to learn about myself: mostly that I am a much stronger person than I’ve ever been. What surprised me most about Andy’s comment was that it didn’t even leave a mark.
Truly, reading that comment this morning, I wasn’t fazed AT ALL. I didn’t experience that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, my heart didn’t start to race, my hands didn’t get clammy, there were none of my usual physical or emotional responses to upsetting, derisive comments. I felt very calm, very collected. I just didn’t care that this person could tear me apart with such vitriol, because I KNEW, in my heart of hearts, that everything (s)he was saying was wrong. Mostly I just felt sad that (s)he is having such a hard time in their own life, that (s)he felt the need to come to my space and tear me apart. I can’t imagine the pain one must be going through to project their negatively outwardly toward people they’ve never met and who have nothing to do with them.
I am actually quite grateful that Andy helped me realize how far I’ve come, how much stronger I am. There was a time, not long ago, when a comment like that would have ripped me to shreds. But now I know that today, I can rise above such hateful anger, even when it is aimed right at my heart.
I am also grateful that Andy reminded me how amazing my true friends are, here in this community. I’m thankful that (s)he created an opportunity for me to see how many amazing, thoughtful, articulate women are ready to stand up for me when they feel I’m being attacked. Women who care enough about me to possibly put themselves in the line of fire. Women who care enough to help, and are brave enough not to back down. Women who truly UNDERSTAND what I’m going through and why I would write something like that, who validate my feelings even when they aren’t so pretty to see. I am truly a lucky, lucky woman.
Assvice used to really piss me off. Sometimes even well meaning emails would send me in a tizzy. I would feel this intense need to explain myself, to defend my actions. I don’t feel that way anymore. I know who I am. I know that what I’m doing is right for me and my family. I can understand that sometimes what people glean of my choices from this blog is not an accurate representation of what I am going through after my diagnosis, or how I’m dealing with my depression or what attention I’m paying to my relationship, or how well I’m mothering my child. Now, when advice is well meaning I take it for what it’s worth, I judge its value to me and my situation and I either act on it or ignore it. But none of it bothers me. I am secure enough in my own choices that I’m not bothered by what other people have to say, whether they are inspired to share it because they care or because they don’t, whether they are well-informed or ignorant. Now I know, in my heart of heart, that I am the only one who can make these decisions for myself and I don’t let what anyone else thinks affect my belief in me.
But I must say, thank you Andy, for reminding me of that, and for helping me feel stronger today than I’ve felt in a long time.
And thank you to all the women who defended me, for reminding me of the how much love is in my life, and how important this community is to me.