After a bit of reflection, I decided not to make any grand resolutions this year. Instead, I decided to start this new decade striving to continue working towards my 2019 resolution…
Stop expecting others to understand my childless life. Just embrace my life and live who I am authentically and with joy! -Brandi Lytle
In my first post of 2019 (which you can read here), I wrote, “Here’s to 2019 and the next step on my journey… Committed to not feeling childless and misunderstood. Committed to not just accepting my childless life, but embracing it.”
Change 2019 to 2020, and it still sounds like a pretty great goal.
So, that settled, I stepped into 2020 feeling confident and empowered and ready to stand proud as my authentic, unique self. And then…
Childless and Misunderstood in 2020 . . .
I hopped on my website to check comments and there it was. An extremely rude comment that caught me by complete surprise. It was like a flashback to last year, as I received a very mean comment at the beginning of 2019, as well. (You can read about that here.) I put the comment in the trash folder, as I didn’t want it just sitting at the end of one of my blog posts, ready to trigger someone without any warning. But like last year, I decided to write about the words thrown my way…
The Rude Comment…
And what were these hateful words, you might be wondering? Well, first, let me say…
TRIGGER WARNING: A very rude comment that, though directed towards me, has the potential to cause quite a wobble for the childless, especially those who are infertile. Please, do not continue reading if you are feeling vulnerable today.
Unedited comment written in response to my blog, “Jesus was childless, too.” (The comment is not highlighted nor italicized, but simply in quotes, as I don’t want it to stand out.)
“Jesus was childfree because he never expressed any desire to have children. Childfree are not the evil monsters you’re making them out to be (they’re incapable of being gentle? Incapable of nurturing?), have you considered you’re incapable of empathy or that you’re bitter? Perhaps it’s for the best that such a person is infertile.”
As I initially read these words, it took a moment for me to realize that this person was talking about me! Taken aback, I wondered what I could possibly have written to make her believe that I think childfree are “evil monsters.” So, I re-read the blog post on which she commented and realized…
In the post, I wrote, “Jesus loved kids with his whole heart and had a gentle, nurturing spirit. He is the perfect example of a childless, but not childfree, person.” (You can read the entire post here.)
Childless, not childfree.
Now, those of you who are regulars here at Not So Mommy… know that I state, “I am childless, not childfree.” I wrote an entire blog explaining why I don’t embrace the term “childfree” for myself. (I actually linked to that blog near the end of “Jesus was childless, too.” I’m assuming the person who commented didn’t take the time to read that post, however. If you’d like to read “Childless, not childfree,” just click here.) This person misunderstood my statement. She took my “childless, not childfree” words and twisted them, making me out to be a hater of childfree, telling me that I am incapable of empathy, that I am bitter, and that it’s a good thing I wasn’t able to have children.
The Shocking Part…
And you know what is shocking?! (As if her words weren’t shocking enough!)
I didn’t cry. My heart didn’t pound. My hands didn’t tremble. Unlike the mean words from the beginning of 2019, this rude comment didn’t cause a wobble.
Did she hurt my feelings?
Yes, she did.
Did I want to explain myself?
Absolutely. (That’s probably why I’m writing this blog…) But she marked “no” to being notified about future comments. Plus, I really doubt she’ll ever come back to the blog. I made a horrible first impression! (A bit of an ornery grin here.)
Did I feel misunderstood?
Yes. I felt (and still feel) that she completely misunderstood my words and the true intention behind them. The difference between how I feel now and how I’ve felt in the past, though… I do not feel like her misunderstanding and anger and hatred is my fault. I wrote “Jesus was childless, too” with the purest of intentions. She read one blog post and commented on my moral character without really knowing who I truly am. Just because she thinks something does not make it true.
You can’t please everyone.
I came across this quote the other day…
“One day, she realized that she could never please everyone, so she gave up trying and decided to be herself. Whether other people liked it or not was not her business.”
So, this one lady doesn’t like me and thinks the world is a better place since I’m infertile.
Well, I certainly didn’t please her! (Another ornery grin.)
But pleasing her really isn’t my business.
I’m going to try to remember this when others toss cruel words my way. (I have no doubt that this isn’t the last time I’ll be childless and misunderstood in 2020 . . .)
I do think it’s a bit easier to disregard the comments of a stranger. Words from friends and family… Well, those can be a bit harder to ignore. I’ve been mulling over a conversation I had with an extended family member right after Christmas… Now, those words… They do cause my heart to pound and my hands to tremble. Maybe I’ll be able to ignore such remarks in the future… It’s hard, though, when this person is supposed to love you…
But that’s a post for another day. For now, I’ll focus on the fact that I was able to disregard the rude comment from someone who really doesn’t know me, realizing that those words are in no way truth.
What is my truth?
I am childless, not childfree. And I will continue to embrace this truth, living who I am authentically and with joy!
If anything I wrote resonates with you, please tell us about it in the comments.
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Featured Photo: Created by me, using Canva
Thank you for sharing and always keeping us lifted. Sending much love and strength through our sisterhood in this new year. My hope is that this person really misunderstood and is in a lot of pain. It’s just another reminder of the many ways we must show patience with the hurtful ways some people chose to express themselves.
My niece, during an emotional moment,, expressed that she thought my husband and i were A-holes. She is 23 and lives with my 95 year old mother in law. On behalf of my mother in law, we asked her to clean her room. She told us we were A-holes and that was the reason why we didn’t have children. We were deeply hurt that a disagreement over cleaning her room would cause her to lash out with such a hateful comment. I’ve had some time to consider why anyone would be so cruel, but I realize she is very unhappy, and that hurting someone must have brought her a nanosecond of pleasure; happy to provide this moment for her. I am childless but not without children in my life. Grateful to read about, empathize and share my own pain with other women who just really get it.
As always, you are doing wonderful work and helping many to have a voice in this beautiful and often unforgiving world!
Jai, thank you for taking the time to read, comment, and share a bit of your story. You have an absolutely beautiful heart! To be able to forgive your niece for such a hurtful comment… To be willing to allow here a “nanosecond of pleasure…” Well, you are a special lady indeed! I so appreciate your kind words, support, encouragement, and love. To be honest, I’ve had a rough morning, so your sweet words came at just the right moment! So many hugs…
Brandi, I’m so sorry for having to experience that negativity. For what it’s worth, that particular post helped me tremendously while I was in the midst of my grief. It gave me comfort to realize that Jesus was childless and yet had so much love to give to all the children around him. It helped me realize that parenthood comes in different forms. We can parent without biologically having children. I’m glad you didn’t let that woman’s ignorant comment affect you in a negative way. More often than not hateful comments are people projecting their own problems. I guess all we can do is pray for God to send love, compassion, and understanding into her heart while continuing to live our own lives with love, compassion, and understanding.
Sending hugs your way 🙂
Janelle, thank you so much for your sweet words and affirmations. Knowing that the post “Jesus was childless, too” helped you during your grief brought tears to my eyes. I know that post has power, which is probably why it received such harsh criticism. In Church yesterday, we talked about how Christians will be persecuted. And yet, as you say, we must continue to live with “love, compassion, and understanding.” By His strength, we can do that! So many hugs…
I am so sorry you had to cope with such an ignorant comment. Sometimes I am just blown away by the insensitive things people say. It’s difficult enough when the comments are unintentional but the intentional ones are simply cruel.
I may be older than you but your acceptance of being childless has far surpassed mine. I am a daily work in progress with unpredictable reactions to triggers. Thank you so much for helping me see it is possible to get to a place where I can cope with unexpected triggers with more grace than I typically feel.
I appreciate you and I am so thankful to have found your blog. I feel less alone on this journey.
Oh, Kelly! Your words brought tears to my eyes and a small smile to my lips. I am always humbled and honored when sharing my story helps others to not feel so alone. It makes receiving any negative comment worth it, as the love, support, and encouragement far outweigh the criticisms. I am glad that I have shown you that “it is possible to get to a place where [you] can cope with unexpected triggers with more grace than [you] typically feel.” It is a struggle… Thank goodness we have this amazing community to lean on! So many hugs…
This resonates with me so much. Going through infertility and struggling being comfortable with the life God, the Creator, the universe, WHOEVER gave me has been really difficult. I feel like I am in the exact same place. I’m finally living in the present and learning to be happy with what I DO have and not what I wish I could have but can’t but it’s still an uphill battle. Sending you so much love and light on your journey to inner peace. I would love to connect and talk even more. I am writing a book about my story currently and it’s good to know there are other women out there just like me because it’s been difficult to try and figure out what I really want out of my book. Subscribing to your blog now! Thank you so much for opening your heart!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, Gabby! I, too, love connecting with others who really “get it.” Please, feel free to email me so we can chat more. I’d love to hear more about your book and explain how you can share your story here at Not So Mommy… Hugs!
I totally agree it is easier to ignore the comments of strangers than of those close to us. I once had someone say (on a Huffington Post article of mine that brought out a few crazies) that they thanked God I hadn’t been able to have children. Why they said that, I’m not quite sure. I had to laugh at the person, because they don’t know me, and don’t know what kind of parent I might have been. But little digs from people I know hurt far more.
You’re right, she did completely misunderstand your words, and the intention behind them. But to be honest, I too questioned whether you meant that childfree people don’t love kids or have “a gentle, nurturing heart.” Because that’s how it read. However, I know you wouldn’t have written with that intended meaning, because that’s not the way you write (or live). But your commenter felt attacked and hurt too, I guess, and attacked back. Which is never a useful way to respond. So they hurt you in return, which I’m really sorry about.
What I am pleased to see is that a year on from the nasty comment last year, you are better able to let go hurtful comments, and see them as someone commenting through and about their own issues, rather than about you (as they don’t know you, and obviously don’t regularly read you). Being able to do that (though sometimes it’s hard!) brings a real freedom and joy. Embracing your reality, and embracing joy – that’s a great resolution for 2020, and I hope you have a fabulous year!
Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment, Mali. Though I now realize that the way I wrote this line can be misinterpreted, I’ve decided to leave my original words, as those (like you) who know me a bit better realize what this phrase, “childless, not childfree,” really means in terms of how I’m redefining my life. I suppose that’s the risk in writing your story and sharing it for the world to read… It is open to misinterpretation. Thank goodness, as you said, I am “better able to let go hurtful comments…”
Hope you have a fabulous year, too! 🙂
I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that after all the amazing words you share to build us all up.
Your response is mature and secure in your identity and such an encouragement and example to others that face words like this. Never forget your words…
“…pleasing her really isn’t my business.”
We love you! Thank you for all you do.
Thank you for your encouragement, love, and support! I am always amazed at how this community rallies around… You all help me to continue to boldly share my truth, despite some criticisms. It is appreciated more than I can express in words… HUGS!