Monday, September 1, 2014

Living without peanut butter

This a general call for advice and sage thoughts from anyone who has/ lives with someone who has a peanut allergy. My questions will be below, but first let me share with you our fun Saturday.

Being 11 months old age adjusted, the Beats are still in the middle of exploring new foods. To date, we have been surprisingly lucky with how this process has gone. Not only have both Beats been willing to try everything that is put in front of them (something I really credit their daycare for as the kids eat all there meals at a common table in community dinner fashion), but we've also been lucky that they've had zero allergic reactions. Reading stories in the blogosphere about kids being intolerant of diary, eggs, wheat and various types of fruits and vegetables as well as hearing stories about Lucas's kids (they believe his youngest has a corn allergy, which is a nightmare as corn syrup is in so many foods and meant resulted in the whole family having to modify their diet to prevent reactions), I've been cautious with what is introduced and how. Somehow we've been lucky. And with luck comes complacency.

So on Saturday, after doing some reading about when it is appropriate to introduce peanut better, Grey and I decided it was time to introduce the Beats to a childhood staple of ours: a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At this point, the Beats had been eating soynut butter at school and both really enjoyed the jam we had been feeding them. In addition, though we had heard stories, neither of us knew anyone who had a peanut allergy. So though I knew that I needed to watch the babies, I didn't know what signs or symptoms to be on the lookout for.

He-Beat had zero issues. He happily eat his bites of sandwich, washing it down with the milk in his sippy cup. She-Beat was another story. After a few bites, she started to fussy, rubbing her face and eyes which blowing raspberries, a sign that she was irritated or not feeling well. After a couple of minutes, I noticed her left eye was turning red. I removed her from her high chair and took her upstairs to have Grey take a look at her. Initially he didn't think much of it, and then he noticed the rash on her neck. And a minute later that the whole left side of her face was swelling.

I've made calls to after hours nurse in the past. Usually for high fevers and babies who have suspected ear infections. Most times, the person answering the call will take your information and triage you, calling you back when the next nurse is available. This time, the mere mention of a peanut allergy immediately brought a nurse to the phone. And when they learned we did not have any infant Benadryl in the house, despite the fact that She-Beat was able to breathe without problem, they immediately put us through to 911, which resulted in 3 firemen and 2 paramedics in my condo in less than 5 minutes. And with that, She-Beat got her first ride in an ambulance to the local children's hospital.

I won't bore you with the details of the 2 hours that followed, only to say that He-Beat was a total awesome brother, being so patient in the ER when it was clear the poor kid was beyond bored. But we did learn a few things. First, She-Beat luckily only had an allergic reaction, which was readily controlled and reversed thanks to Benadryl (which we now stock). If she had anaphylaxis, which would have resulted in her throat swelling, potentially inhibiting her ability to breathe, as well as potential heart failure, nausea and a severe rash, they were prepared to inject her with steroids. Because she didn't display any of these symptoms and because she responded so well to the Benadryl, they sent us home after a couple of hours of observation without an EpiPen. That said, they did warn us about what to watch for and told us we need to follow up with her pediatrician this week for further preventative care.

As of yesterday, we are now a peanut-free household. Grey had been stocking peanut butter for our food stores, but returned most of it yesterday. In addition, we are now scrutinizing food labels, inspecting everything that is packaged for any trace of peanut products.

The question is, though, how careful do we need to be? To our knowledge, this is She-Beat's first exposure, but we know that peanut products are in other foods. In addition, we've had peanut butter in the house since she was born, with me consuming it without thinking during my pregnancy. Do we need to treat any peanut product like biohazardous material for the time being or is it just a matter of not allowing her to come into contact with it? The final thing is we've been told that it is likely she will outgrow this. When (if ever) do we try again? One year; 5 years, after I'm dead?

On the way home, Grey and I talked and talked (and talked) about all of this. And we've been reading. All of this is new to us and we're learning as we go. But we also talked about the fact that the doctors in the ER actually made a point to talk with us about the fact that how we had been introducing new foods was completely correct and they encouraged us to continue as the likelihood of food allergies is LESS in kids that have allergic foods introduced as younger ages. So as scary as all of this was, they wanted us to continue with these introductions. Looking at She-Beat in her hospital gown, which clearly showed how far her rash had spread, I wasn't (and still remain) not so sure. Hence my final question: for those with kids who have food allergies, what have you been told?

In the meantime, Grey wants to introduce shrimp in a few months (they've already had fish and did fine). My head hurts just thinking about it.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

Infertiles in Babeland

The past few weeks have been strange ones for Grey and me. Between another viral upper-respiratory disease that hit the whole family and landed both Beats in the ER for ear infections (thankfully not pneumonia, though), a cold virus that caused me to lose my voice and finally a round of rotovirus that solely hit the parents at our daycare (Beats were completely unaffected due to their vaccinations . . . thank the universe), we've been home a lot more lately trying to recover and not pass any of this on to our coworkers. Because of this, there's been more run-ins with Fleur and having to watch her mental health deteriorate due to the impending "lockout" that is coming in the next couple of weeks. All of it so depressing to watch.

One evening, while speaking with a neighbor about all of this, the conversation turned quickly to what results in these types of situations: stories of elderly abandoned in nursing homes with no one ever visiting them to those who live in severely impoverished situations. Sighing, this neighbor looked at me sadly and made a concluding statement that immediately caused to me to audibly protest: "she wouldn't be in this situation if she had children." It didn't take long to correct her, pointing out so many examples for why this assumption was completely false. Yet, even after that, just knowing that myth exists still plagued me.

The idea of having children as a way of securing caregivers for aging parents isn't a new one. In many cultures, multigenerational families exist under one roof in order to ensure that this practice occurs and even in cultures where families don't reside together, the topics of aging parents is a common one. Hence the myth flourishes that to guarantee that you will be cared for as you age, who need to have children. At all costs.

In June 2013, a month before the Beats made their dramatic entrance into the world, Grey and I made a point of touring labor & delivery at the university. I remember wandering through the L&D rooms, being greatly amazed at their size, marveling at the options available for the patients and even impressed with the postpartum support. During the tour, one of the topics that came up was security. Our tour guide explained that each parent would be given a bracelet linking them to their baby and that security was of the utmost priority. She then went on to explain that the reason for all of this was because there are sadly some people who will go to great lengths to get a baby. That they feel such a need that they will even resort to stealing someone else's child. Never mind the fact that most kidnappings of this nature are done by a family member or someone close to the family (i.e. a baby daddy left out of the loop or a disgruntled family member). No, what was implied instead was that crazy infertile would sneak in and, if you weren't careful, make off with your child.

The thing is, most people don't openly talk about dealing with aging abusive parents and the long term negative affects this decision can have for generations. When we hear about elderly abandoned in nursing homes, the judgement is always that the children are selfish and uncaring. Never mind the fact that there very likely is a reason these people are alone.

The flip is this assumption that those who are childless have no interest in children or building/fostering family. That somehow because they are not parenting, they don't have the same interest in building community and seeing the next generation flourish. During my time in the ALI community, I've had the opportunity to meet women who are not parenting after infertility who actively counter this taboo daily. As they write about their families, their communities and the children in their lives, it be plainly clear how the love the share and foster is better the world around them.

After the Beats arrived, I found even more examples of this in my daily life. There were the NICU nurses who were living with infertility who I watched love and care for my fragile Beats, helping them grow and thrive. In the moments I found myself breaking in the NICU, they wrapped me in love and helped shoulder some of the burden so I could be with my babies. There was the neonatologist who we met who was undergoing her final round of IVF. I remember the day she learned all her embryos had died and that her only chance for pregnancy would involve donor egg. She came into the NICU that day and specifically to work with a family whose newborn daughter was struggling to eat and was very dehydrated. I watched that doctor who was grieving the loss of her biological children pour love and support into a family who clearly would never understand.

Even now, I see those examples. I see them at our daycare, with the teachers and directors who do not have children who pour themselves into each child that pass through their doorway. I see them in the older couple who offers to babysit for their neighbors who are new parents. I see it in my community when an older gentleman helps a child reach for a book at the library or when a younger couple offers their seats on the bus to a single mom and her kids. And I see it with my mentors and advisors, women who are not mothers, who still support me during this period as my career has taken a backseat. They remind me that they still believe in me.

The honest, hard truth so many in this world struggle with is that having a child will not ensure your happiness or well-being. Placing that burden on the next generation is not only unfair, it's just plain selfish. Yes, having a child will change your outlook on life and for many will open their hearts in ways it wasn't open before. But having a child does not lift one to a higher calling. There are terrible people who procreate without issue. Similarly, there are amazingly loving people who will never parent. Yet, in the end, those who are awful and abusive will be alone while those who chose to love and build will always have family by their side.

Watching Fleur lurk the grounds like a zombie has been hard to witness. A younger and more naive version of me would have been sucked in long ago, allowing her to drain what energy I have due to pity. Watching neighbors avoid her, it's clear how she's chosen to live. As sad is it is, there's a lesson to be learned through her. A lesson similar to the one learned during infertility: happiness and wholeness needs to come from within.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The dangers of milestones

Life is a changing in these parts, with lots and lots of drama to keep Grey and me occupied. The whole family has been sick for the past 2 weeks, resulting in two separate visits to the ER for ear infections and a diagnosis of bronchitis for me (and a prescription of codeine to help me sleep). In addition, with Fleur's pending eviction, the police have been coming to our property more and more. It's a stressful and sad situation. Not to mention something that is completely preventable. But mental illness is a complex issue and one that is draining even with people who are actively seeking help. I need to write more on this, as Fleur's deterioration has truly been terrible to witness, but that post needs some more time to craft.

In the meantime, there's another concern.

I wrote before about milestone anxiety and how stress-inducing it can be to listen to all the milestones other children the same age are achieving. With He-Beat, even though he is completely on track, I've sensed this one-upmanship that can happen in passing conversation. It's never meant to be malicious as parents are simply expressing pride in what their children are doing. But I've seen first-hand the moment where one parent in going on about all the amazing things their baby/toddler is doing, failing to notice the down-casted eyes of the other parent (usually a mom). The look of worry that falls over that parent's face that their baby hasn't achieved "X."

And with that worry can come shame; a concern that they aren't doing the right thing.

In a lot of ways, milestone anxiety and TTC anxiety are the same. During my first year of TTC, just prior to diagnosis, I spent a lot of time on TTC forums where women stressed endlessly about achieving pregnancy. It amuses me now to think about on all the "helpful advice" from those who easily achieved pregnancy about how to knock yourself up. Everything from relaxing to various combinations of royal jelly and vitamin B to even suggestions of prescribed headstands. Never mind the fact that biology is a complex and reproduction is still a poorly understood phenomenon. Nope, these women knew the answers. What they failed to understand, though, was how shaming that advice could be. I remember stressing so much about the fact that I wasn't doing things right. That somehow I was screwing everything up. As I put myself through the ringer for regiments and supplement cocktails, it wasn't long before I was becoming frustrated with how hard I was working for nothing.

It wasn't until later that I learned that infertility wasn't due to something I was doing wrong. It was a biological problem that required help. Somehow we got lucky to figure out what the problem was and pursuing a treatment that allowed me to bring my Beats home. But it took years to get to a point where I could look at those women who supposedly had the answers and not feel immense anxiety or shame. To know that though they thought they were helping, they were actually the last thing people I needed to be listening to.

The recent round of anxiety is due to She-Beat not moving. After months of tummy time, working with her on positioning herself to crawl and working on standing, she seems to have zero interest. In all other aspects, my sweet girl is excelling. She drinks solely from a sippy cup (bottles only in the morning and at night), feeds herself, has excelled at fine motors skills, babbles up a storm and is very social. But she's not crawling. And she's scheduled to be transitioned to the toddler room on Monday, joining her brother and all the other babies she has grown with.

All of us are worried that she'll be mowed over.

On one hand, this transition could be a very good thing. Both her doctors and her teachers believe it may be a motivation issue. Yes, all babies develop differently with some babies not even crawling until 12 months. And yes, where some excel, others take longer. It could simply be that She-Beat has been focusing her time on other milestones and that gross motor is something that she'll develop when she's ready.

But my time in the trenches also taught me a valuable lesson: some things shouldn't be hard. That if your gut is telling you something is off, it's worth pushing for help.

Yesterday this article in Slate brought me to tears. As the author talked about how her daughter's delay was causing her to see her child in a negative light, I sobbed over the realization that those feelings of frustration were starting to surface with She-Beat. I don't want to feel that way about my daughter. She is such a light in my life and amazingly beautiful soul. I don't want to be at a point where all of that deteriorates because she's not reaching this milestone. The stress and anxiety are just not worth it.

Over the past few days, I took some steps. I unsubscribed from BabyCenter and their stress-inducing milestone emails. I also contacted her pediatrician and after a longish conversation with the nurse got a referral for her to be seen again by the physical therapist she saw in April. We have an appointment in a couple of weeks, which Grey is insisting he be included in. I also have been talking with her teachers and we are formulating a game plan for moving forward.

And, finally, I made a decision to embrace the positive that is there with my daughter. To make sure that in the evenings when we play together and read together before bed to focus on how hard she is working and focus on the amazing things she is doing. Part of this means that I will also be taking a break from blogs that post milestone updates. It's not that those authors are doing anything wrong, but just as bump-updates were a trigger during my darkest moments in the trenches, so too are these posts likely to be difficult.

Two weeks until the PT appointment. Two weeks to begin making all these changes. The new motto: no shame.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Redefining "kind"

Recently, I've been occupying the time during my final pump session by watching a TV series on A&E called "Longmire." In one episode, there's a story about a man who's trailer is being reposed by the bank for failure to make payments. The man pleads with the young deputy, asking for him to be a friend and show him a bit of kindness as this is his home. The deputy, in a moment of empathy, cut the man a check to cover his mortgage payment. A few scenes later it is revealed that this man took that money and used it for gambling. When the deputy confronts this man, the man pulls a gun, threatening him. It is only when the deputy's partner threatens to shoot the man that he lowers his weapon.

No good deeds goes unpunished.

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Mel's post this morning struck a nerve with me. She talks about kindness and how important small acts of kindness are. Inherently and in an ideal world, I completely agree. Hatred and bitterness sow the seeds of discontent and many times it's the small things that recharge our sense of hope.

The problem is, I've been on the receiving end of a lot of pain and trouble because of what people deem as kindness.

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In 2006, Grey and I purchased our first home. A condo on the north end of the city in a neighborhood that was "transitioning." Like many, we believed that homeownership was the logical next step (marriage, home, kids, etc) and intended on using the experience both as a means of saving money (rents were rapidly rising) as well as to prepare for our future house. Shortly after, the mortgage bubble popped. And like many Americans, we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn't sell. 8 yrs later, we've managed to hang on, making payments and meeting expenses. This in and of itself has been stressful.

The added stress is that we unknowingly bought into a building with criminals and people who are mentally ill. Until recently, we shared walls with a man who raped his 16 yr old daughter. On the other side we have a paranoid narcissist who uses email for harassing anyone he disagrees with and freely expresses his bigoted views about the world. The building has a meeting room that only board members have access too because someone once ran a prostitution ring out of it. There's been drug trafficking, with the previous owner of our unit actively trying to off himself by consuming massive amounts of cocaine. The nicest unit in the whole building was once condemned by the health department after the discovered it filled with heroine needles. And this is just the beginning of the stories.

Both Grey and I have been told we should write a book. Multiple times.

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The current issue that is on the forefront of my mind regards a tenant who has a dog. When you first meet Fleur, one would assume that she is a harmless little old lady who is going deaf and who loves her poodle. But if you hang around long enough, talking with the neighbors, the interesting stories start to emerge. You find out that even though she's a self-proclaimed hippie, believing in love and peace, that she has a history of bullying other tenants. That she has taken to trespassing on neighboring properties and yelling at the owners when they ask her not to do so. That she allows her dog to run lose in the building, scaring other tenant and terrorizing other dogs. That she has built an agility course in her 500 sq ft unit to run this dog from 4 am to 12 am daily in order to exercise him because she can't be bothered to walk him. That we doesn't have a bathroom sink and her toilet has been leaking, which she refuses to fix. That she has zero sound-proofing under the hardwood floors that she installed and insists on wearing wooden clogs when she walks over them (despite repeat complaints and request to stop). That she refuses to put down area rugs because her dog will pee on them. That this animal whines constantly because she doesn't take him out enough to let him urinate. That she steals mail from other tenants. That she threatens to sue anyone who confronts her about her behavior.

That this is her third dog (the first disappeared and the other she rehomed after it was clear she was neglecting it).

That she has been foreclosed on. And has no housing options because she turned down the spot for senior housing.

That it is very likely she will be homeless by the end of summer, living under a bridge.

For 8 yrs, I've been told to look the other way with Fleur's behavior. When asked about getting a support system or working with her to train her dogs (which she has claimed to be "service dogs"), I've been told to stop harassing her. When asked about the floors, I've been told she has no money, so why try. All the while her bringing in contractors to remodel her bathroom (why there is no sink is beyond me). All in the name of kindness.

Needless to say, I'm beyond pissed about the situation. Early this summer I took it upon myself to try to find a solution that would get her a spot again in senior housing, hoping to give her an out from this situation. Ever single agency made it clear that either she needed to do this or she needed to be declared mentally unfit. When asked about relatives or support system, it dawned on me that it's been 3 yrs since anyone has visited. Likely due to her burning them out. Animal control won't help without extensive documentation and the police consider this a civil matter.

All of it has made me realize that we need to redefine "kindness." There's this assumption that enforcing rules, asking people to follow social norms and requiring compliance is not kindness. That by inhibiting someone from exercising something they view as a freedom, we are being mean.

The truth is, human beings require boundaries to function. Traffic laws exist to help create order. Rules need to be followed in order to help establish a sense of fairness and peace. Without these things, chaos ensues. It's not enough to tell people not to text and drive because every single person believes they are far better at multi-tasking then they actually are. And waiting for the "too late" always leads to the regrettable incident that could have easily been prevented.
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Today is the deadline for Fleur to remove the dog from her unit. I don't know what is going to happen going forward because I've never been in this position of having to enforce rules like this. Fleur's response has been to threaten the HOA lawyer with a lawsuit (which he was amused by) and to stick a cross and garlic cloves outside her door in order to ward off evil spirits. In the meantime, the dog is getting more aggressive. Without someone to properly train him, he's taken to nipping at her and others as well as humping her. All bad signs. In the process of listening to others about kindness, a monster of a situation has been created. With people scheming about how to remove the dog, going so far to wish him an early death.

It sickens me. It angers me. It makes me hate my home.

If anyone wants to adopt a standard poodle that is about 9 months old, please let me know.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The beginning of the end

It started earlier this month. Following HFMD, the Beats weaned themselves from breastfeeding and my milk production took a hit after I became sick too. Originally the plan was to continue pumping, expressing breastmilk until they were 12 months age-adjusted. But then reality caught up with me and those middle of the night pump sessions became harder and harder as I was no longer riding them out on the blissful moments from the nursing sessions. Ad in the fact that the pediatrician okayed transitioning to cow's milk (which they've been rocking), the fact that they are drinking less milk in general, a change in work coming in September and that He-Beat has decided that the pump station is FILLED with previously undiscovered toys otherwise known as pump parts, and the decision was pretty much made for me.

It's time to wean from the pump.

I'll be honest, I'm having mixed feelings about this transition. On the one hand, there's some major benefits that are just around the corner: regaining time during the day, no more pain and discomfort associated with pumping, less dishes and (the BIG one) having extra time to spend with my family instead of secluded in a room with the pump. At this point, just the idea of regularly sleeping through the night seems so delicious.

But there's also a sense of loss. After a crazy delivery and month spent in the NICU, breastfeeding became the one thing I could trust my body to do right. As the Beats were hooked up to feeding tubes and monitors, knowing that I was lucky enough to be able supply them with the nourishment they required to grow helped give me a sense control in an otherwise powerless situation. Later on, after they had mastered drinking from bottles, training them to breastfeed helped me bond with them and overcome some of the pending depression that was hovering. The fact that we've made it one full year of them consuming breastmilk truly is something I'm in awe of. After all, my supply, though good, has never been excellent and constant pumping as well as supplementation with formula has been required just to meet the daily demands for feeding two babies. Still, there's pride there that we have been fortunate enough to be able to have all the tools needed to make this happen. Knowing we're at the end is bittersweet.

Yesterday I started doing research on how to reduce milk supply and have worked out a schedule for reducing pump sessions. Grey practically cartwheeled when I outlined the plan, offering to buy every material needed to help move this transition along. Currently I pump 7 times a day (I know, it's a crazy schedule). The plan is to drop the midnight pump session and then the one at lunch. Based on how I'm feeling, we'll figure out the order of the next two, but I'm hoping by the end of August we are completely done. The big problem I'm worried about it the pain I experience when I don't pump. With Raynaud's syndrome, I get shooting breast pain if I don't drain regularly, so I'm hoping this transition will work.

So many emotions come with just thinking about this. So much trepidation that I know Grey and the Beats aren't experiencing. I know it's time; the beginning of the end of this phase. And that it is the right thing for my family. But it doesn't make this any easier.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

One

Dear H and E,

Today is your 365th day of life. One year ago, amid the fog of magnesium, the wires, the tubes, the IVs and the plastic, is you both entered the world. Though that time is still a blur and you both certainly had a rougher start than most children, I do remember very well the moment I first held each of you. The surreal, dream-like moment that will forever be etched into my heart.

So much has happened and you've both changed so much since that first day. You have both grown so much in so many ways. I marvel now at how easily you both finish full bottles as I remember clearly you both learning how to even feed from one. At how strong you each are when I remember clearly how small and fragile you seemed. Watching you interact with the world around you, you both inspire me daily.

H, my little man, I still smile as I remember you taking your first steps using the push toy this week. You are a gutsy little boy, fearless about trying new things. Through you, I'm learning how to more brave during moments of uncertainty and be less afraid of failing. Your curiosity about the world around you has turned you into quite an explorer and your bombastic nature draws so many to you. Not a day goes by were I don't hear a story about your shenanigans and I know you have already touched so many during your short time on this planet.

E, my sweet and thoughtful little girl, you remind me how important patience is in this life. Just a few days ago, you stood up on your own and I still smile when I remember how proud you were in that moment. During moments where I've worried so much about whether you were okay, you always showed me that it was needless and wasteful. Through you, I am learning that the prescribed milestones we all face can don't need to be met in one way and that patience is truly a virtue. I am in awe of your attention to details and your patience with seemingly small things. And my heart lights up when I see you smile, especially in moments when you reach those milestones, are snuggling with your daddy and even when Jaxson and Daisy walk into the room. Your love for those two furry ones is unbridled and without boundaries and I hope that all of you have many more years to grow more in love with one another.

Today, as I reflect back on this first year with you in our lives I reflect also on all that has happened to bring you here. I know that though our stories are intertwined, my journey through infertility and loss is not yours. You will each have your own challenges in life; traumas that you will face. All I can do is do my best to teach you about the world around you, hoping that these lessons will provide the foundation for you to thrive in this world. But I can promise you this: no matter what those traumas and hurts may be, your father and I will be there for you. To support you and love you unconditionally, especially in the moments where you feel like this world is against you.

Happy first birthday, my sweet miracle rainbow babies. Looking forward to so many more.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Silenced

I remember the first troll that left me a comment. It was about 3 years ago, when I had just started blogging and there was someone trolling the ALI blogosphere leaving anonymous nasty comments that were meant to tear down the authors. As I had set my comments to moderation and remove Captcha, this author wrote three different versions, each more angry than the last as they were assuming that Blogger was eating them. But the goal was laughably clear: to hit with hatred in order to silence. To spread bitterness to a group of women who were pouring their hearts out online as this individual wanted to make others feel the way they felt about themselves.

Thought policing isn’t a new concept. The idea that people need to be monitored and corrected for expressing ideas or feelings that are undesirable has been around since before the written word. There’s something desirable about this concept, with establishing rules and guidelines for a community in order to serve the greater whole. Be sensitive, support those in kind, don’t complain needlessly or compare pain, etc, etc. After all, there are narcissists and incredibly selfish people who would otherwise suck a community dry with the black hole that is their self-centeredness and inability to empathize. But thought policing can also be dangerous, with a minority quickly shutting down anyone who shares thoughts or emotions that they deem unacceptable. In a way, it is a form of fascism, with a blood-lust that can develop for attacking anyone who deviates even in reasonable ways.

Recently Josey wrote this post where she talked about this vocal minority and how damaging they can be.

In the Infertility community in particular, it becomes an issue when the vocal minority shuts down long awaited joys, tough conversations and legitimate feelings with cliché statements and judgmental tirades.
Just be grateful…
I’d never complain if *I* had a kid…
Can you believe she posted a picture of her [pee stick, belly picture, ultrasound pic, etc]?
The problem comes when the quiet majority ends up sitting by on the sidelines feeling afraid to share everything from jubilant thoughts to frustrated feelings, simply out of a fear of facing loud criticisms and hurt feelings from the vocal minority.”
Reading this post brought up some mixed feelings and emotions. On the one hand, I have encountered blogs where the author seems to be so incredibly unhappy with life, even after finding themselves pregnant or parenting. In these cases, I’ve found myself so annoyed that continuing to read, let alone comment, was a form of self-punishment thus unfollowing was a far better option. But the flip is that there have been and continue to be bloggers I follow who have the posts that ALWAYS start with them apologizing, then writing carefully about difficulties they are facing either with their pregnancy or while parenting. All the while peppering their posts with the required statements that they are grateful for their children and their current situation and ending their posts with some self-deprecating statement. Even then, there are moments where the thought police descend, ripping into the author for being so insensitive and thoughtless as it’s clear she just can’t appreciate what she has or that somehow she is defective as a human being for daring to think or feel that way.
The reality is, every person in this community will find themselves at the end of their TTC journey one day. Biologically, it’s impossible not to. In addition, most here will resolve (though there will be the few that never will). Because of this fact and because of the fact that we live in a diverse world, there needs to be a general understanding that the next steps aren’t always filled with moments of sunshine. There will be moments of fear and uncertainty, pain and despair. Reality, as it usually does, will find fun new ways to smack you in the face. That’s part of life and is true in all aspects.
During my pregnancy with the Beats, I found myself growing more and more silent as time went on. There’s no doubt that I was over the moon to final find myself carrying two rainbow babies after all our losses and uncertainty how to even resolve. But the truth was that pregnancy was very high-risk and scary. While my babies were growing and doing well, my body was crashing with the Beats being delivered early due to me going into both liver and kidney failure. After that, there were 4 weeks of NICU, were I went to bed nightly praying that they would be alive in the morning. I cried daily for a month. Though I know we were lucky and that there were others who were in a far worse situation, with me having to watch parents lose their children as a reminder. But a year later, all of this still haunts me.
Yet I felt like I couldn’t talk about any of this. That by doing so, I believed others would see me as ungrateful. I even had people tell me that I was lucky to have my babies come when they did because I actually got to hold them and no longer worry about having to be pregnant. Never mind the fact that it was general knowledge that they needed more time in the womb and that without the technology we have today they probably wouldn’t have survived. Instead it felt like I needed to be unilaterally grateful because I knew others who weren’t holding their children or would never have the chance to experience half the joy I did.
There’s a problem that emerges when one is silenced. For most humans, voicing worries and frustrations is a way to process what is happening. A form of problem-solving. By being heard one feels less isolated. By putting it out there, we give the experience/trauma recognition and allow for it to be addressed, which, in turn, allows for processing and healing. In some cases, simple acknowledgement is enough, bringing peace to even the most vocal complainer. Silencing takes all of that away, leaving the person instead involved with a growing shapeless form that tortures and torments. It also instills a sense of shame and guilt, all the while destroying.
I struggle with in all of this because there is a need for sensitivity in this community. My experience with individuals like Angie taught me that boundaries need to be established as otherwise there will be a free-for-all will otherwise allow for the leeches to take over and suck everything dry. In addition, we all need our safe havens. We need those places where we won’t be blindsided when we are our most fragile. Hence the need for general understandings and rules to ensure that community stays in tack.

But on the other end is that silencing someone when we feel they’ve overstepped when they really haven’t. Making it so that once someone goes past point X, they are no longer allowed to speak freely because a random person might take offense. There will always be people who eavesdrop, but that doesn’t this mean that we need to apologize every step of the way.
The thing is, how does one address this? For me, I find that in the cases where I have said something, it's usually because I've developed a relationship with the person. But even then, I do so privately and try to express concern gently. I find calling people out in a public way to be far more telling about the person bringing the issue to light, especially since we are usually only getting one person's version. Sure, there are times for debate and conversation, but when it devolves into a screaming match I rarely find it useful. There are also times where I've defaulted with silence when I see someone venting in a way I don't agree with. I respect their right to speak and use their space, but I also know that I can exercise my right not to read.  All that said, I also know that many don't agree with me as blogging is seen as an ongoing conversation. So the question is, how would you handle it? Is there ever a right time to silence someone?
 
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