Yesterday, it was pointed out that getting all gushy on Valentine’s Day could be hurtful to others who aren’t in relationships or, perhaps even more, to those who were in rocky relationships.
Just because I delight in the holiday and feel lucky to be spoiled and adored by my guy does not mean I have to share all that info with everyone in the world. There’s no reason I can’t quietly enjoy my happy day without broadcasting it. I could definitely be better about that.
At the same time, as I thought about this more and more, it reminded me of an article I’d recently read about a woman struggling with infertility who was hurt by some pregnancy joke that was apparently circulating on Facebook sometime around Christmas. (I did not personally ever see this joke– thank you, friends of mine, for apparently being mature enough to skip that one!)
Anyway, I totally understand why she had felt hurt and I was angry for her– until she went on to say that she had been so angry that her friend would be pregnant again when she already had a seven-month-old. Further, she was beyond hurt that said friend would even consider announcing it on Facebook!
And that’s where she lost me.
Because, you see, we all have stories. We all have wounds that aren’t quite healed. Some of us bear wounds that are still open and hurting. No one is immune from having a history marred with pain.
Those who have lived through infertility and/or miscarriage may very well feel a stab of pain when they hear another’s pregnancy announcement– that is legitimate and understood.
It does NOT, however, mean that women who are flushed with excitement about their pregnancies shouldn’t be able to share that joy with their friends and family. It does NOT mean that they shouldn’t be able to announce it however they darn well please. And it does NOT take away from the fact that this is her story and she has as much right to express her delight as those who are struggling have the right to express their hurt.
You all know I lost a baby. In fact, it was almost exactly a year ago now that I was told the heartbeat was slowing and our child would likely die. Have all the (gazillions of) pregnancy announcements this past year been hard? Sometimes. Have I shed a few tears? Of course. Some of the most difficult for me, to be honest, were probably Mary Jo‘s pregnancy updates simply because she was due just a couple weeks after I would have been.
But, beyond the pain, I felt such joy for her. They were SEPARATE things. I could be sad for me and happy for her at the same time.
While I am absolutely cognizant of the need to be sensitive and to not deliberately make people feel bad, at what point does the eggshell tiptoeing end? At what point do we acknowledge that people who are happy are not really the cause of others being sad?
I don’t know. I suppose it is always good to err on the side of caution and do your best not to pour salt in any potential wounds.
As usual around here, I don’t have any good answers to this. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about.
What do you think? Should those who are joyful hold back so as not to upset others? How far should we go to ensure others don’t feel hurt?