Tuesday, August 21, 2012

People are Like Icebergs

i was chatting with my friend the other day, when we got to talking about mack and the special way he came into the world. it's an experience that is so precious to me that i don't actually talk about it that often.

anyway, we got on the subject of how people feel about our use of a surrogate. we knew it was a controversial thing, which is why we waited so long to tell people about it, and expected there to be some opposition. actually, we've been surprised that, aside from lots of prying questions that implied disapproving stances, we've never experienced flat-out disapproval.

then my friend told me about a mutual friend of ours who had come to her to vent her feelings about how wrong our choice to use a surrogate was. this is a person who had been one of my biggest supporters in my fight against infertility, so, needless to say, i was flabbergasted (because "shocked" isn't a strong enough word). i knew something was up with this person, but had attributed it to something else. she had seemed more distant, stopped reading (or maybe commenting, at least) my blog, even left my baby shower early (almost didn't come at all), but i never thought it was because she morally opposed our choice.

i feel judged. i've never felt judged to this degree before and it's a terrible feeling.

after letting this information sink in, i got to thinking about how she really doesn't know me. she doesn't know what i've been through. she doesn't understand the pain i've felt over the years, yearning for a child. she sees the front that i've put up, the protective wall that i've erected. if she could see behind the curtain, if she walked a mile in my shoes, she might more fully understand my choice.

this goes beyond me, though. how many times have i judged other people? (it's more often than i'd like to admit, i'm afraid.) how many times have i turned my nose up at someone? how many times have i avoided someone, because i didn't approve of them for one reason or another? i don't know these people. well, i may know some of them, but i can only see a fraction of them.

i've come to the conclusion that people are like icebergs. you can only see about 10% of them, the rest hiding beneath the surface. you may feel like you know them, either from personal experience with them, or because you're a really good book cover judge, but the truth is, you don't.

you don't know what inner conflicts they're dealing with. you don't know what personal struggles they're enduring. you don't know that he just lost his job and his family is starving. you don't know that they're child was just diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. you don't know that she is battling an eating disorder. you don't know that he is plagued by a mental illness. you don't know that they're world is falling apart and it's all they can do to put on a brave face.

maybe, instead of turning away or mentally bashing them, when we see people we could smile at them. maybe we could allow someone with only a few items to cut in front of us at the grocery store. maybe we could buy a meal at the corner mcdonald's to give to the person with the sign on the corner. maybe we could donate a couple of extra blankets to the local shelter. maybe we could open the door for the person who has trouble walking. maybe we could be genuinely happy for someone else's happiness, even if we don't agree with the way they got there.

maybe we could judge less and love more.

22 comments:

J o s e y said...

My parents drilled it into us at every turn...LOVE AND RESPECT...the two most important concepts to live by.

I think it's cool that Mac had such a special way of coming into your life. :)

Ashley at flats to flip flops said...

Oh Carlia! I love this! It's soooo true! Thanks for the reminder! And I am sorry that you felt judged....Mack is special and it doesn't matter how he got here!
Ashley:)

SLESE1014 said...

I love LOVE this post....it couldn't be more true. There is only that little bit people can see and the rest is burried. My husband is a perfect example as the tip of his iceberg is visible, but the gynormous remainder of the iceberg is sooo complex. People on the outside have no clue.

We should definitely offer more love in the world. You raise some pretty amazing points...we should all take a look at our actions every day...one smile could change someone's day...

Thank you for posting...

BTW I love how you refer to the way Mack came into the world as special....he is a miracle and so is his birth story...Special, amazing, and miraculous!

Nathan said...

This is such a great post. And so true!! And when people haven't been through any form of aching for a baby let alone battling infertility for as many years as you have, they wont understand that the way the baby comes is not what is important. There is nothing at all wrong with using a surrogate just because it isn't the "normal" way to have a baby. When the normal way doesn't work, you go for the next best option, which in your case was to use a surrogate. I kind of have a guess about who you are talking about (and would love to know!) but just hope you know what we support you 100 percent. You were made to be a mom and Mack is lucky to have you!

Nathan said...

That was from Lori...although Nate would feel the same, just probably wouldn't use so many words and maybe be more crude. :)

Shannon said...

Such a great post. I'm so sorry people judge you on such a sensitive topic as becoming a parent.

I'm a new follower, so I don't know the story of how Mack came into this world. I'd love to read about it if you have an older post on it.

He's a special, gorgeous, healthy boy with great parents. That's really all that matters. :)

Regina of Live Delightfully said...

Yes, whole-heartedly agree with you!! Great post!

Andrea said...

Definitely a great post that we can all learn from. How Mack came into this world is not important (although pretty wonderful!)...what IS important is that he is being raised by 2 parents who so desperately wanted him, adore him, and will teach and guide him to be a man of great integrity! Keep up the good work!

Quietly Southern said...

What an amazing post. People are always going through something, good or bad and it never hurts to remember that when we interact with them.

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Sorry she made you feel this way.

Stupid Stork said...

Hey there from ICLW!

Beautifully said, Chiquita Banana.

I just wish everybody would stop with the opinions on what other people are doing to get kids.

I'm as snarky and judgmental as the best (or worst) of them, but when it comes to someone's reproductive life, I truly, truly don't get how people can feel 'wronged' by the decisions you make on behalf of your own damn eggs.

Kim Matheson said...

Beautiful post, carlia.

I am also very sorry that you were made to feel the way you were, but the wisdom you've come out with is stunning. Thank you for sharing this. :)

Jacque Dapper Lass said...

She should have been honest with you, at least. And a lot less judgmental. I'm sorry that people have been so rude.

Kyla @ Three Quarters Full said...

The world is full of enough problems and angst, I wish people in general could be less concerned about what others are doing.

I'm sorry that someone you thought was on your side really wasn't and I'm even more sorry that you had to find out from someone else.

Heather said...

I'm sorry you faced some judgement that you weren't even aware of. :(
So true what you wrote about everyone having their own issues beneath the surface. It can only help us be more aware.

Fiona aka DRMama said...

So sorry that some people you thought were friends would judge you over this, even after they new of your struggles.

Thank you for this post to remind us all to be less judgemental. I try my best but I know there are days that I do it too.

Bridget said...

I honestly can't believe someone would have an issue with your choice, I don't see anything at all wrong with it. I'm so sorry you are feeling this way :(

The Indecisive Infertile said...

I am so sorry you had to deal with this judgement. I am willing to bet she's super fertile...

allthesunforyou said...

I am always stunned by the things that upset people. Surrogacy is one of them - why does anyone else care how your son came into your lives? I am beside myself and flabbergasted for you.

We all judge - you are so right. I try to think about the things you listed - and that maybe, just maybe, the person who cut me off in traffic is just having a bad day. We all do.

I like your iceberg annalogy. It's perfect!

Cocalores said...

What a beautiful post on a topic that must have upset you so much. Sometimes it would be just easier if we wore our heart on our sleeves and let people see a little bit more than those 10%, but I guess we're all too timid for that. xo Anja

Maria said...

this has me crying for many reasons. Carlia, you are so real and true to yourself. I admire you so much and your knowledge of life and what it's really made of. I am so sorry you had to hear "negative" thoughts through a friend of yours. You are so so right...people don't know. They haven't a clue unless they've walked your exact path. I have written in the past about someone who was beyond hurtful to steve and I. To the point where it takes your breath away in a horrible, disgusting kind of way.
Know you are beautiful. In and out. And that SO many of us find inspiration through you and your story. You have way more supporters than not and to the one(s) who don't...it is their loss.
Sending love and hugs
Maria

Sheryl said...

Sorry I am so behind reading your blog. You know that it just doesn't matter what people think. It was your choice and you felt right about it and really know one else's opinion matters rather or not they agree or disagree. I know that Mack is a miracle and that he is one lucky boy to be in your home and to me it just doesn't matter how he got here.

You wrote your feelings beautifully and I love that you are able to turn something so hurtful into a lesson about loving and not judging. Not judging is a battle...and one a lot of us lose on a daily basis. Thanks for the beautiful reminder. I'm so glad to have you as a friend!

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