Trigger Warning: A mean comment from a mean person. I was in a good place and her words knocked me down, causing quite a few tears. Please, do not read this post if you are feeling vulnerable today.
As I hopped onto my blogsite to grab the link for my social media posting, I noticed a comment in moderation. I gave it a read and tears immediately sprang to my eyes and then started rolling down my cheeks. My heart began to pound harder and my hands began to shake. I could not believe what this woman had said to me. Through blurred vision, I re-read her words.
I went to the blog she had commented on, “The Problem with Being a Childless Aunt,” wanting to re-read my own words to make sure that I didn’t say anything wrong or rude or that would incite such a vicious attack.
Why is she even here?! Why is she reading a childless blog?!
I had the difficult decision of trying to decide whether to approve this rude and extremely triggering comment. I mean, I don’t want to stifle the conversation by only approving remarks with which I agree. But I also don’t want to cause undue pain for my childless readers.
I didn’t know what to do…
What was I supposed to do?
I thought about asking a few fellow childless bloggers whom I trust what they thought. But honestly, I didn’t want to think about this all day. Plus, they may have varying opinions as to what I should do, and I was already confused. I knew my hubby would say to delete the comment and forget about it. (That is definitely easier said than done.) The woman asked to be notified of future comments, so if I approved and responded back, she’d get an email. That might open me (and the childless Not So Mommy… community) to even more cruel words spewed…
Through tears and with a shaking voice, I literally spoke aloud, “This is what you said you were going to do this year. I should not expect others to understand.”
Composing myself, I decided to write this blog, only moments after reading these words… These really mean, really triggering words…
The Mean, Triggering Comment…
Before I go on, let me say that, although I realize this comment is triggering, I decided to share it because I want those who are not childless to get a glimpse into the cruel and unnecessary pain others’ thoughtless words cause us. A deep, intense hurt that makes some (perhaps many) of we childless cautious of telling our story, our truth…
To my fellow childless warriors, please, do not read this if you are feeling vulnerable today. (Or if you don’t feel like crying. Because it very well might make you cry. It sure did me…)
Unedited comment written on 4 January 2019 in response to my blog, “The Problem with Being a Childless Aunt” (The comment is not highlighted nor italicized, but simply in quotes, as I don’t want it to stand out. Feel free to skip over it to the last section, “Childless and Misunderstood (Again).”)
“No, they are NOT your kids. Any mother reading this would bristle at this comment.
In addition, it is highly unlikely your niece does NOT love you as much as her mother. Your a favorite aunt, I’m sure, full of fun and such, but the actual parenting is done by a parent.”
Childless and Misunderstood (Again)
The initial thoughts I wrote down as I started processing these vile words…
This comment caused so many tears. It took A LOT of resolve to not melt into a huge wobble, full of uncertainty and doubt. How could someone be so mean?
When I first read that awful comment, I was blind-sighted. I felt as if a mom, someone like my sister-in-law, was saying these things to me. And it hurt me deeply and to my core. I was feeling childless and misunderstood. Again.
After beginning to write, however, I’m feeling less shaken (although in no way back to completely solid ground, yet). I do, however, have an even stronger resolve to fulfill 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
It had to be a troll…
And I’ve decided to believe that the person who wrote those horrendous words was a troll. I mean, no one would be that much of a . . .
No, a mom like my sis-in-love would never say such cruel things to me. This person, this troll, just wanted an emotional reaction in order to engage me in a battle.
So, rather than replying, the comment went in the trash. (This decision adheres to the Not So Mommy… Comments Policy, which I remembered I had after the shock had eased.) And I practiced cathartic writing instead.
Thank you for listening to my heart, fabulous ones. I really, really hope the trolls stay away…
Honestly, I’m kind-of scared to ask for comments today…
Well, at least I was. I wrote this blog on 7 January, soon after I read those cruel words from someone who obviously knows nothing about the struggles of being childless not by choice. I decided to hold off on publishing for a week to let my emotions settle a bit. I did, however, share on my Not So Mommy… Facebook and Instagram that someone had hurt me with a very triggering comment. And wow, fabulous ones! Did you all show up to give me encouragement, love, and validation!!! Words cannot express what your kindness meant to me… My supporters definitely far outweigh my critics! You gave me the courage to continue speaking my truth. THANK YOU!!!
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Featured Photo: Created by me, Brandi Lytle, using Canva.com
This just makes my blood boil! Not every relationship with an aunt is the same. I grew up only seeing my two aunt’s on holidays or large family gatherings. However, five years ago I moved six hundred miles away to watch my best friends boys grow up. She was not someone meant to be a mother to children so close together in age. She also had a medical issue that just fatigued her. I wasn’t having any luck finding a job and so I found myself helping to take care of the kids, what best friend wouldn’t? The baby wound up attaching himself to me and she wound up choosing to care for the older one. Then her husband got sick. Both of them had surgery within a few months of each other. My love and ability to be there to take care of the boys has pretty much destroyed our friendship. She wanted the best of both worlds: a husband who waits on her hand and foot, and someone else to take care of her kids, while claiming she is a great Mom. When she went back to work, she worked insane hours. Because of that, I wound up being the one to attend school events during the day. When the younger one turned four, she was supposed to pick me up at my house at nine, we’d pick up cupcakes and other snacks then head to the school. I brought all of the stuff for goodie bags home the night before and put those together. First, she was going to be a half hour late, then she asked if I could pick up all of the food and she’d pick me up on the way. It finally came to her meeting me at the school. I waited twenty minutes for her in the parking lot. Her work ethic is so good, she kept putting off her four y/old’s birthday.
I did all the work and she got all the credit. Thankfully, the boys were so young, they don’t have a recollection of any of this. Her husband has said to me on more than one occasion that the boys are practically mine. Others who knew how close to the boys would wish me a Happy Mother’s Day. But I could never go to their house on that day because I couldn’t watch her get all the glory and I would get no recognition as a mother figure. She couldn’t understand why I was upset when she told me she was pregnant again a couple years ago. I couldn’t do it again. I loved the boys and would love whatever other children she had, but I couldn’t get up in the middle of the night with an infant again. I wanted my own kids, and a husband. I spent most of my adult life taking care of others, who and when would someone take care of me? While I have set boundaries for myself and learned to say no, I’m still single with no children at 38. Yes, I have a wonderful career and many professional accolades, but nobody to share them with. Long story: an aunt may not play a role in her kids’ lives, but that is not the case for every aunt relationship. Often the statement, ” I love them as if they were my own” is said by aunts and other maternal figures in a child’s life. This may not be the case for this woman, but many do express this sentiment sincerely, including myself. I’m not even a blood relative and these boys have a room at my house!
I also wonder if this woman is someone who did not want to be a mother or had a ride awakening about parenting once she had children. A forum for women who cannot have children, whether circumstancially or due to infertility, was not the proper place for her to comment.
Chrissie, first, let me say THANK YOU for bravely sharing your heart here! I am grateful that you trust the Not So Mommy… community enough to be vulnerable, sharing your perspective & your truth. Second, I am so sorry that your friend did not appreciate everything you did for her and your nephews. (I believe that an aunt relationship is created through love, not blood or marriage.) It is extremely sad when others do not acknowledge the important role that aunts play in children’s lives. I agree whole-heartedly with you that it IS possible to love a child “like your own.” We childless aunts know that well… HUGS!
I’m sorry this person said this. I even think that she might be going through infertility and feel so so disappointed, like many of us. What she said was wrong and I’m not trying to excuse her. But she clearly has her own issues. I was told by my sister (a single mother) that I didn’t understand her ‘bad parenting’ because I wasn’t a mother. Yes, it was very low blow but she’s going through different problems, not bigger or more important than mine, but the thing is how we cope with them. I’m sorry I found your blog because of inferlitiy but I’m also happy I found it. Please keep sharing ?
Jaime, you have a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing your perspective with me. I had not considered that perhaps she was suffering through infertility, as well. (I know I said things I regretted when I was in the pit of despair.) I do hope whatever struggles she is facing that she finds the comfort and support she needs.
You are very gracious to understand your sister is struggling, not allowing her hurtful comment to come in between the two of you. I suppose that’s the lesson we must learn–to be kind and considerate to all because all are struggling in their own way…
Like you, I am so happy you found Not So Mommy…, despite the unfortunate circumstances that brought you here. Our infertile and childless not by choice tribe is pretty incredible!
So many hugs…
I honestly think it could have been written by a stressed out mum who feels trapped/not coping and at some level envies you for getting to be the fun loving aunt. What a viscious spin to put on her situation! She clearly needs therapy. My point is – thats her issue and nothing to do with you hon. Keep being a fabulous Auntie xxx
I think you are correct that there is something going on in her life that caused her to be so mean. It is sad, and I do hope she finds her own joy some day…
Thank you for your support and encouragement. It means so much! Hugs…
Why would someone write such an unnecessary comment on your blog? Clearly this person has never had to deal with infertility or childlessness. If they have, then shame on them for forgetting what it’s like. It takes a village to raise a child, and any parent would be extremely lucky if their child had an aunt or friend like you.
Thank you, Lisa! I truly appreciate your sweet compliment, encouragement, and support. I agree that it takes a village. And I am grateful that others feel that way, too!
I’m so sorry you went through this Brandi. You are far braver than you realize. I have not shared my story because of miserable people like that who have to bring others down to lift themselves up. One day the courage is coming, I feel it. It’s not fully here yet. Please don’t let that person drag you down. We need you. I feel sad for that person and their untransformed heart. I also feel sorry for their family and the vitriol they surely endure. May the Lord touch the heart and mind of the commenter with His transforming love in Jesus’ name.
Thank you for your kind words and support. And thank you for praying for the person who said those cruel words. Several have told me that the problem is with her, not me. I, too, have lifted her in prayer. She must be in a lot of pain to say such awful things. It really is sad.
As for me, I am blessed beyond measure to have such a wonderful community of people who get it and build me up when I am feeling weak. Hugs…
“Bristle?” Isn’t that something prickly animals do? Brandi – don’t waste any more tears on prickly chick. Your honesty and vulnerability are so needed by many.
Thank you for your kind words, support, and for making me grin…
I’m sorry that someone unkind ruined your day (week?) and equilibrium. Don’t you love it when our husbands say, “just forget about it” and think that we can actually do that?
I know what you meant about your nieces and nephews being your kids. They are your kids. You don’t have your own, so they are your kids. My nieces and nephews – and one or two in particular – are my kids. They’re not “my kids” in the sense that most people understand it, but they are the children in the world we care about most, they ones we know the best, and love them anyway. The person who commented against that clearly didn’t understand the joy of a childless aunt’s love.
My favourite part of your post (the one about being a childless aunt) was that you’ll keep saying “if you have children” and “if you get married” because it will, subliminally at least, give them the knowledge that none of these things are compulsory, or guaranteed. It leaves their future open. And, if these things don’t happen for them by choice or not-by-choice, then your words will, I hope, have minimised the feelings of failure and shame, the feelings that they are and will be okay.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments, Mali. Receiving validation that my nieces and nephews are indeed my kids means so much to me. Thank you for eloquently stating this truth–“they are the children in the world we care about most, the ones we know the best, and love them anyway.” That is true and so beautiful…
And thank you for reminding me that my influence, my words, my choice of telling them “if,” does have an impact on them. I think that is what we all want… To help, to nurture, to leave a positive impact on this world.
I am so grateful to be a part of this childless community. We are a group of empathetic, loving, optimistic, forgiving, amazing people!
HUGE HUGS sent your way!!!
I have an aunt whom I love and hold in high esteem as I do my mother, and she would also agree that aunt is another mother to me. I have another aunt whom I’m extremely close with, one who has supported us through our childless story, and my mom also is happy and supportive of this close relationship. I have another aunt who is childless herself, although I’m not as close to her as the other 2 (I do have other aunts who I’m not close to at all, so it’s only by comparison). I always make sure to send her a mother’s day card because she means so much to me and she says she looks forward to that each year.
Point is, I have aunts who are incredibly important to me and my mom has never once felt threatened by those relationships. Instead she is thankful to have so many people in her children’s lives who love and support us unconditionally like she does. I can only assume your sister in law feels the same way.
That person absolutely was a troll and it’s pretty sad they feel so threatened and insecure about their own lives that they had to attack you. You did the right thing, so high five on that!
High five back! Thanks for making me smile! 🙂
And thank you for sharing your heart, telling me about special relationships with your aunts. The validation makes me feel even stronger, knowing that the truth is my relationship, my feelings, my heart for my nieces and nephews. The sad person who commented with mean words does not define my truth!
Again, THANK YOU for commenting! And lots of hugs back!
Having gone back and read the blog, I have to say that the comment was totally unwarranted and utter nonsense! I have had similar comments about aunthood. It’s a very bittersweet thing but I would not change it for the world! I love your blog. Thank you for being so open and honest. X
Thank you for your validation and support, Allie! The love and encouragement I’ve received from the Not So Mommy… community has bee absolutely incredible! I am so grateful for this amazing group!
And yes, aunthood can be bittersweet. But more sweet! I wouldn’t change it either!