I have a friend in my computer named Karen.
She has a great life -- loving husband, nice home, OK job. She knows this and embraces the joy she finds in all her friends and family and the things she has.
She is also very, very sad because she has no children. She's been through every physical maneuver known, and has come to the sad realization that she will bear no children. She's accepted that, though she has lingering jealousy about seeing other women who are pregnant, and gets terribly stricken when people ask her why she has no children yet or when she's going to get pregnant. She literally oozes pain around this subject.
And in oozing that pain, she makes herself vulnerable. This week, that vulnerability proved unbearable when a self-righteous person wrote, anonymously, to tell Karen that her identity in Real Life had been uncovered by this person, presumably someone from work. The sharpness of the pain or perhaps the power of the blunt blow knocked her down like I've never seen before, and when I clicked over to check in on her today, her blog is gone. Gone! Not even a note, just a 404 error. I found out the scoop from some other fans of the blog.
Karen and her husband decided long ago they would very much like to adopt a little girl from China. In that country, boys are valued more in society than girls, leaving many more girls without homes than boys. Karen and her husband (mostly Karen) researched the whole thing, read every book and probably ever word on the Internet. I Google china adoption and up come nearly 35 million results. In her intense need to know everything, she's probably cruised through the most relevant, or maybe even all of them.
And as a form of catharsis, or maybe self indulgence, or maybe just sharing her emotions with others who may be in the same place or may be considering being there or who could never comprehend being there, Karen has a blog. It's called The Naked Ovary, and her tag line is "Getting Naked About International Adoption, Infertility, and Ignorant Assvice."
And she does.
Rarely have I felt such visceral pain from another just by reading her words. Maybe it's because the struggle has been so long, maybe because it just seems so ridiculously bureaucratic (on both the U.S. and China sides). Maybe because it's like a soap opera or a great novel that I can't put down because I want to KNOW THE ENDING.
Several times, Karen has floundered over an especially vicious attack by someone who feels a need to point out that she's not the only one in the world going through this (duh!) or that other women feel the pain of not having a child (duh!) or that she should stop whining (why?) or crying about it (because?) and move on with her life (i.e. give up the idea of bringing immeasurable joy to both her own family and the little girl who will be theirs?). People say she just doesn't understand (she never said she does understand it all), or that her child may want to find her "real" parents some day (as if Karen won't be her real mother?) (or as if that will be a bad thing?).
Karen doesn't just write about her pain around being a mother. She is incredibly funny, she can slap down an ignorant opinion with a turn of phrase that just sends the sound "thwap" right across the web. Sometimes she just admits being flummoxed by the whole thing.
There are myriad reasons she does this in public, and none of them are any of our business except that we get to experience the emotions vicariously and click our tongues and feel caring and love for her across the miles. If you don't like what she says (or feels), click away and cruise EBay or Google an old school chum or something. It's not your business why anyone blogs about anything. It's just something we do.
Karen has carefully not given out details about where she lives or who she is in Real Life. She shares intimate details about her shredded feelings, but not about where she lives or where she works. Of course this guarantees nothing, but recently the anonymous jerk decided it is time that cloak of anonymity ends.
Super. Anyone with an ounce of personal dignity would allow Karen to have the same. Anyone with ethics about private lives should leave a blogger who is obviously not interested in casting about the names of real people to abuse them, or someone who is defaming a work environment or co-worker.
Anyone with one crumb of common courtesy would know that a dump and run anonymous comment is the most cowardly action of all.
Karen has been circumspect in all ways, and even if it becomes widely known that she is the woman who secretly aches inside about her current parenthood status, it's no one's business in real life any more than it is our business online. This person who was so cruel to Karen should click, err, walk over to get a drink of water or go out for lunch. Get off your computer, especially if you're surfing during work time, OK?
And though I believe being cruel is never OK, there's one other piece.
Karen, hold your head high. Your dream of a sweet daughter is no less because someone knows how important this dream is to you. You need us -- your blog readers -- to support you virtually every step of the way. You need this validation, and we're here to give it to you. It may not dissipate the physical and emotional pain you've got right now, but hopefully it can keep money in your emotional bank, gas in your dream tank, friendship -- real, genuine, heartfelt friendship -- continually pouring in to supplement all the friends you have in Real Life.
I'm only in the computer, Karen, but I love your writing, your ability to express pain, your refusal to give up this dream that has proven so difficult, your ability to put asses in their place, your innate common sense, your willingness to see other opinions and, most of all, the Pottery Barn table in your little girl's nursery. Please come back.