Monday, 12 September 2016

When silence is the best policy



I’m still recovering from this virus, and though I thought I might be feeling better, the fact that I fell asleep on the couch when I was keen to watch the final of the US Open today, being woken only be the cheers announcing the winner, means I’m still not right. So I don’t have any great ideas about writing, or life without kids, right now.

Rather, I’ve been thinking about when not to write something. I was taught that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say it at all, so there are times on this blog (or in my virtual or real life) that I choose to keep quiet, even if I think that I have a wider knowledge and experience than someone who may disagree with me.

I remember clearly how I felt back when it was all new and raw (and I’d documented this at the time in case I might forget), and my writing today calls on how I felt at the time - my intense emotions and rationalisations, the overwhelming desire that coloured my thoughts and decisions and life, my need to protect myself and my husband, and my anger that someone might suggest I wasn’t thinking clearly. But today I also have the advantage of time, of hindsight, of understanding what was hurting me or many others across the world, of understanding what would help, of recognising what was and is logic and what was and is emotion, of sensitivity and hurt and sadness.

Sometimes, people aren’t ready to hear what they don’t know, and knowing better doesn’t mean pointing that out, but holding off. After all, I remind myself,  I’m not in this to win arguments or be proven right, but hopefully to help someone who needs it on a day when they feel that the world is against them.

11 comments:

  1. I'm assuming this is in response to Sarah's post. I've seen a lot of mixed reactions. Some to advocate for speaking up and saying something while others are in your camp. It's a hard thing because I can see both sides. There's truly a need for public education surrounding infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption and even choosing to end treatments (or whether to pursue them at all). But at the same time, there's interjecting conversations to share this information that can be completely counterproductive. If people aren't in a place where they are open to this information or where they've invited it, it will be like talking to a brick wall. So I see both sides.

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    1. Actually, it's not. It's something else entirely. I have to go read Sarah's post!

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    2. To clarify - this is more about talking to those who are newly entering the No Kidding life, or those who are trying to conceive and fearing the No Kidding life.

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  2. I can relate to staying quiet to protect myself – especially when it comes to IF/family building stuff. There is just so much misinformation out there, sometimes I'd just rather not deal with it.

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  3. This is a skill I'm slowly developing, too. A sense that even if I'm ready to speak, the listener might not be ready to hear, so hush up for now, Lori.

    Man, sometimes that's hard to do.

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  4. I agree that if you have nothing new to say, don't say anything. But then with close ones, we share all. don't we? even the urge to not say a word.

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  5. Such a struggle. I feel like when I was just starting out at IVF, I wasn't open to hearing other options because I was SO SURE it was going to work for me, and somehow that would be admitting that maybe it wouldn't. I would hear other people's stories and be like, "Oh my god, that can HAPPEN?" And then I became the story that people shied away from, the person it didn't work for. I had a situation recently where I didn't know whether to throw my two cents in as an experienced (although unsuccessful) IVF'er, but I ended up staying silent. And the situation resolved itself without my voice which probably wouldn't have been appreciated. I loved how you ended the post: "Sometimes, people aren’t ready to hear what they don’t know, and knowing better doesn’t mean pointing that out, but holding off." So hard, but so often the best thing.

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  6. Dear Mali, I hope you feel better today!

    It probably depends on the kind of relationship one has. To people I don't know that well, I would probably say nothing. The same applies to the online community, except if they ask for my opinion. I think in that case it is okay to disagree.

    If it concerns someone close to me (family or a close friend), I would try to say something because otherwise it would feel like betrayal. But I would stop immediately if I realized that the person is not open to my truth. I don't want to provoke arguments or make the other person feel bad.

    When in doubt, I would choose silence, as it is the safer option.

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  7. My son and I had similar conversations today (different base subject) but, "what to say, what not to say, and the all important...when".

    Your last sentence resonates with me as well. Thank you.

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  8. My son and I had similar conversations today (different base subject) but, "what to say, what not to say, and the all important...when".

    Your last sentence resonates with me as well. Thank you.

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  9. You are absolutely right, and I have often found myself biting my tongue (and not just on IF-related matters) for this reason.

    And I hope you are feeling better now!!

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