Fighting The Lowest Common Denominator

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fightDon’t you hate it when you’re drawn into a fight you didn’t want to have in the first place?

I’m not talking about a fist fight. No. This was a war of words. While I’m far from an aggressive person I did fantasize for a moment about slapping some sense into my “opponent.” How could I not? She embodies the ugliness and ignorance that lurks among the worst of the fertile community.  (Let me add that I have high hopes she doesn’t represent the majority of the fertile community. I believe, given additional knowledge and greater insight into our world, there are those who would cut their fertility-challenged sisters some slack. There’s compassion out there. I know because I’ve seen and read about it.)

Where did this verbal sparring take place? The comments section of Bea’s blog post about pregnant women who rub their bellies in public. I was among those who wished that belly rubbers would save that intimate act for when they are out of the public’s view. Frankly, what pregnant women do with their bellies or any other body part on their own time, well that’s their business. Have at it I say. Go ahead. In fact, bring on the cocoa butter. (I wouldn’t know firsthand, of course, but I’ve heard it helps with stretch marks.)

So the first volley came when a fertile woman called infertile women like myself “selfish.” Yeah, fighting words, wouldn’t you agree? You can see the tussle unfold here. “Allie” caught me in a weak moment. I’m more than a little embarrassed to say I took the bait. I fired back. I admit, I wasn’t at my best. I should have been the bigger person.

She unloaded on me with vitriol the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while and she kind of seemed to enjoy it. Apparently not only am I selfish. I’m also childish, disgraceful, I lack compassion and it goes downhill from there. The absurdity became too much. I decided it wasn’t worth rolling around any further with her in the gutter. I’m not about to get into name calling, but she seems pretty comfortable with it, wouldn’t you say? As for her accusations, well, my children-to-be never made it beyond two weeks. So uh, yeah, I resent the unfairness of it all.  I’m guessing if she lost her children she’d be kind of bummed out, too.

If left to go at it we’d soon be at: I’m rubber, you’re glue. Whatever you say bounces off of me and sticks to you. Yeah. That’s productive. NOT. I came back to my blog.  Okay, Allie. You win. I lose. There now, does that make you feel any better? (Somehow in her case, I think it will.)

Then I started to wonder why a belly rubber was hanging around on infertility blogs in the first place. Does she derive some joy from tormenting women who either can’t (or won’t easily) ever be in a position to rub a pregnant belly? If that’s the case, well that’s just mean spirited behavior. She is like the kid who dives into a large slice of pie and seemingly delights in watching those without press their nose against the pastry shop glass window. Rather sad, actually. I hope this behavior doesn’t carry over into her parenting.

Why did this goofy exchange bother me so? Because she wasn’t listening to me or the others who felt pain — rational or not — in the public belly rubbing. To listen is “to make an effort to hear something.” So I leave you with another set of thoughts because I really do want to be the bigger person. The book I have on healing and grief tells me that “without a listener, the healing process is aborted.” The author goes on to say that “listening well to another’s pain is a primary form of nurturing…that when we listen closely to what hurts, we learn what life is asking of us…”

I’m not interested in fighting the lowest common denominator in the fertile community. Fighting gets us no where. What ‘infertiles’ crave is to be heard, not judged.