Monday, January 15, 2007

I have a right to my anger and so do you

This weekend all hell broke loose in the female blogosphere. Trainwrecks has apparently closed, (we'll see) supposedly through the efforts of various other people who were furious about the way that many bloggers had been treated. When I say bloggers, I use the term loosely, since most of the attacked were women who went online and spoke the truth about their lives.

Yes, some of them were mommybloggers and some were nice people whose comments had gotten out of control after an offhand remark by someone. A lot of them were grieving angry women who did not fit society's idea of how a woman should act when her child dies. One idea I remember, "Grief is messy. Not all of us are going to sob quietly & crumple gently at your feet. "
And then yesterday, Manuela at Thin Pink Line decided she couldn't take the hatred others were spewing at her for now, and she has gone password protect. I have it, and some others. The only way to get it, is to email her at or email me and I'll forward it to her. And no there are no guarantees she will give permission to anyone. I love Manuela and I am sickened by what has happened, not just because my friend has been hurt, but because she said many things out loud that women aren't supposed to say. She described her anger and her hurt and her bitterness over the loss of Shoelet and the people who never understood her feelings about being an adoptee.

The best blog in Canada is no longer open for the viewing public. On the best blogs in the female blogosphere can't be seen, because when women don't act the way they are "supposed to" God knows society has to put her in her place, and crush her underfoot. I know this all to well, since I've lost children and been crapped on IRL and out here in blogworld when I've tried to talk about it.

So, in solidarity with Manuela, here is how I reacted when Matthew died. I know that the preceding posts have sounded like I was calm and accepting, but really, I wasn't.

I was filled with rage, utterly incoherent. From the moment of our first ultrasound, I was crying and screaming, staying up until all hours of the night, unable to sleep and unable to figure out who to blame. The problem is there is NO ONE to blame or be truly angry with, but that didn't stop me from trying to find someone.

I'm short and tiny, delicate boned with no muscles at all and I took an entire wall down in our basement with a crowbar. A foundation wall. It wasn't pretty.

I blamed myself for popping out an old defective egg, I blamed my midwife, my doctors, my husband.

I blamed myself for my "choice" to terminate, I blamed the world for telling me to hide and be ashamed. I blamed my workplace for being shitty to me in a time of crisis.

I blamed God, the asshole motherfucker who decided to let THAT egg out of my ovary that month. He let it meet that sperm. Why couldn't the stupid sperm just swim by? It had every other time.

I was filled with rage, but there was no one to rage at, so I raged at myself and people passing by in my life. I raged at my "so-called" friends who were too busy to attend the funeral. I raged at the ones who came to the funeral because they didn't know what to say. I raged at Doctors who couldn't "fix" him. At government agencies who couldn't show me tiniest piece of compassion and let me be called a mother in a passing conversation. At bureaucrats who called my son's death minutiae, too small to matter.

And eight years later I like to pretend it's "all better", but it's not. I will never be over it. I will not fit society's straightjacket for grieving mothers, or good adoptees, or impersonal robotic political junkies. I will talk about my dead children and you will not get to dismiss me as a rare exception or crazy, or "depressed." (The label de jour whenever a woman expresses a socially unacceptable thought, both denigrating our legitimate emotions, and the real life sufferers of mental illness.)

All women get to be angry and show it. I don't have to be a good girl or a bad one, I don't have to smile, or shut up and sing the song you want me too.

And neither do you my friends.


  1. Whoa. I believe that women are one of the reasons that women are so suppressed. The hate, the judgment, the expectations. Why do we do that to each other?

    How anyone would be arrogant enough to decide how another should grieve over the loss of a child, is beyond my comprehension. There are places that one should know not to go.

    While I understand that some female bloggers feel the need to step back, I hope that they reconsider. Giving in to hate, makes the hater feel empowered. I don't think that is something that the withdrawn of password-protected bloggers intend to do.

    Just a thought.

  2. I share thrice's opinion on this one. No giving in to hate, ever. Honestly, I don't really understand why a person who loses a child wouldn't be angry. Rage is the emotion I readily comprehend. What is it that people expect one to feel. I just don't get it. Rage can be the only empowering emotion at times. Sadness makes me go fetal, and what's the use in that. So rage on my friend, and I hope others follow suit.

  3. No matter how a person decides to mourn the loss of a child, they shouldn't be made the target of ridicule or hate.

    There's a mature way to handle disagreement. Too bad the people of Trainwrecks prefer the sensationalism.

  4. Whoa, indeed. You are one feisty lady. One of the reasons I like you so much and also one of the reasons I'm glad we're on the SAME SIDE. Go powerful women!

    As for the comments above about letting the haters win. I hear what you are saying. But you know what, I began blogging for ME. Me alone. My needs. And right now I am giving myself permission to put my needs above anybody else's. Above the 'greater purpose'. Abaove right to free speech. Above feminist rights. I've done this in public for two years now, and taken a fair amount of shit for doing so. I just think it's time for me to step away and let somebody else pick up the reins of the cause.

    Aurelia, you can certainly leave this post up if you like, but I only ask that you remove my email address. The only people I want to hear from are those that I've already established communication with in the past, or those that come recommended by people I trust. The rest... well... sorry. I can't be held accountable for their shyness, you know?

    Could you also please remove my email if it pops up with my comment.


  5. Email removed Manuela, as you requested, although I did say people could email me. And don't worry your ID doesn't show up, so neither does your email.

    And of course, you need to take care of yourself, I've been there too, so you do what you need to do, and we'll be here for you. I just felt the need to rant at the blogworld about it, for my own sake and everyone else's.

  6. Thanks for taking a stand for all the bloggers who put themselves out there without makeup or a fancy 'do'. You're strong women, and I have lots of respect for you.

  7. Manuela if you see this, I lost track of your e-mail but would like to still read you blog, can you please let me have the password or give Aurelia permission to let me have it?

    I think whatever you feel about losing a child is what you feel. There is no right or wrong.

    I don't judge you or blame you or have any pointing the finger type response to what you write. If anything I feel a lot of compassion. My heart goes out to you and hopes with all it's very being that you will not have this happen to you again.

  8. The post is so well written and should be posted everywhere for people to see.

    Manuela, if you are reading this, just know whatever you decide to do I admire that, but I feel at a loss because I loved your writing so much. I hope you decide to come back to public blogging soon because those of us that love you are far more than those that don't. You are poetry girl and don't your forget it.

  9. I know all about anger, and anger is best let out then kept in, as long as you dont hurt anyone else on the way.

    Real shame about the Thin Pink Line!

  10. :(
    I hope you never go behind passwords.
    I read Thin Pink Line - could you please pass my email address on? I would still love to read it. I can't even find words, here.

    The world is seriously messed up sometimes.

  11. This is such a powerful post, Aurelia. And one that tells the world exactly what THIS woman felt when she suffered a terrible loss. We are each entitled to our own reactions. To deny them is to deny our individuality and what makes you, YOU. A woman needs to do what a woman needs to do to make it through all that pain and guilt and anger.

  12. I don't know the details of what happened in blogworld, but I'm sorry it's had such an impact on good bloggers. I never read Thin Pink Line and wish now that I had, because I too struggle with rage over the way I was treated when I lost my daughter and hell, over losing my daughter, period.

    Maybe I am naive, but I just don't get the point of attacking the way someone grieves.

    So how are women "supposed to" act when their children die? I never knew there was a standard of behavior.

    Those people can suck it.

  13. I think I went to that trainwrecks blog twice -- when people who I liked refered to it and linked to it. But I found it to be so catty in a high school teenage girl kind of way. What is the point of tearing other people up like that? I will never understand it.

    As for you... GOOD FOR YOU! Express that anger! And don't back down when people tell you it's not appropriate. When something like that happens, the world is so torn apart that all other things seem trivial. Those judgemental people and their petty opinions included.

  14. Going gently into the night is highly overated, I think, especially if said night threatens to devour you. I'll scream and kick and claw and it's no one's bloody business. Sod the rest.

  15. I'm hoping you get this. I looked for an email address, and couldn't find one, so I'm hoping this is appropriate. As I can't get into Manuela's site, I was hoping you'd pass on my info to her. I've been following along for about 2 years I think. I've only commented twice, so she probably won't remember me. But I can guarantee that I wasn't one of the bitchy people. Anyway - I went to read, as I've been too busy to blog-read for about a month, and couldn't due to the password protection. So if you'd be so kind as to pass me on to her - or give me her email address - to see if she'd be willing to put me on her list? The comment section doesn't ask for an email, but it's sparksfley at gmail dot com. Thank you in advance.

  16. Well, I know that Manuela is trying to be very, very private, but I would like very much to keep reading her blog. Could you please pass that on to her? I tried to e-mail her, but I'm not sure I got the address right. Tell her it's Liza from the "Fuck 'em and the horse they rode in on" conversation in her comments...sigh. I hope she is okay. Tell her that if I get an e-mail from her, I'll even give her my identity in exchange for her new password. "Liza."