Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"Children are fascinated by the ordinary and can spend timeless moments watching sunlight play with dust. Their restlessness they learn from you. It is you who are thinking of there when you are here. It is you who thinks of then instead of now. Stop. Let your children become the teachers and you the student" - William Martin

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Talk about abrasive

I received a comment today, which I feel compelled to share (it was left on one of my posts from a couple of months ago). First, the comment in its entirety. Then the comment in bold and my responses in normal font.

"SLG--as someone who struggled to get pregnant and would do anything to have a baby, your comments are abrasive. You seem to take pregnancy for granted. And, I guess, since you have not had the pain of infertility you can't know what a blessing it is and how there are those of us that would do anything to have a baby and would give up anything to have that baby. To me, you seem like a very selfish person who puts vanity above the potential health of a child. It seems staying "skinny" and running high mileage is more important to you than taking care of your child. I think it is fine to run through your pregnancy and be active; I ran through my first pregnancy. But, running 13 miles a day plus biking, swimming, and dieting is not healthy. Do a search on pregorexia and you may find a description of your tendencies. I can't believe you and your husband are both physicians and so blatantly suffering from confirmation bias in your thoughts on exercise during pregnancy. Perhaps your recent miscarriage will make you think twice about the value of life and appreciate that some things are more important than your vanity. And, make your husband consider whether a woman that is willing to take risks with the health of her child to maintain a workout regimen and limited weight gain is worthy enough to be a mother. You may have gotten lucky once, but I believe your luck has run out."

-anonymous

SLG--as someone who struggled to get pregnant and would do anything to have a baby, your comments are abrasive. You seem to take pregnancy for granted.

I would never take pregnancy for granted. If it is desired by a woman or parents, it is a miracle, and is often a miracle when it is not desired (some might say it is always a miracle but that we humans don't always understand the nature of the miracle - another discussion entirely). I grew up thinking I would not be able to get pregnant as I had very infrequent periods and went 6 years without a period. I was very open to the idea of adoption. Though when I became pregnant, it was absolutely a dream come true. I would love to have a healthy pregnancy again and will do what is within my powers to make it happen. (I'm actually late for my period again - did I just announce that on my blog?)

And, I guess, since you have not had the pain of infertility you can't know what a blessing it is and how there are those of us that would do anything to have a baby and would give up anything to have that baby.

Again, it was a shock to get pregnant after two months and it is true that I have not experienced trying for a long time without success. Every woman's reaction to it must be different and I would never want to underestimate how heartbreaking it is. I have had people very close to me who have not been able to get pregnant and I know how devastating it can be.

To me, you seem like a very selfish person who puts vanity above the potential health of a child.

I am sorry I come off this way. I love my son and my two step kids and believe the health of all of us is very important. I am so vain, though. I probably think this blog is about me. Oh, it is. I love me. And why shouldn't I? There is plenty of room for me to love me, my husband, my kids, family and friends.

It seems staying "skinny" and running high mileage is more important to you than taking care of your child. I think it is fine to run through your pregnancy and be active; I ran through my first pregnancy. But, running 13 miles a day plus biking, swimming, and dieting is not healthy.

You think exactly what you're used to and comfortable wit his "fine", as does every woman. Well, I exercised as much as I did because I had done it before getting pregnant and thus it wasn't outside of any guidelines. I wasn't taking any risks. In fact, I believe my pregnancy was exceptionally healthy as I gained enough weight, stayed fit and ate well. I was in great shape before, better shape after and had a wonderful, healthy pregnancy. I can understand why women who simply listen to what others say would be jealous.

Do a search on pregorexia and you may find a description of your tendencies.

Pregorexia sounds like a word from popular media; it does not require much brain power to figure out what it is. I will refrain from doing that search, thanks. There is a wide range of healthy weight a woman can gain in pregnancy. I gained a sufficient amount of weight in my pregnancy. I was not a pregnant anorexic.

I can't believe you and your husband are both physicians and so blatantly suffering from confirmation bias in your thoughts on exercise during pregnancy. Perhaps your recent miscarriage will make you think twice about the value of life and appreciate that some things are more important than your vanity. And, make your husband consider whether a woman that is willing to take risks with the health of her child to maintain a workout regimen and limited weight gain is worthy enough to be a mother. You may have gotten lucky once, but I believe your luck has run out.



Come on now. Are you suggesting you are happy I had a miscarriage? I actually have tears in my eyes right now as I consider the "abrasive" (if I may borrow the word you used to describe me) nature of your comment. Every woman who has a miscarriage deals with guilt, wondering if she could have done something differently. I highly doubt that you have done more research on this subject that I have. Women who run actually nearly cut their risk of miscarriage in half. I actually had a miscarriage (or fetal demise) before I knew I was pregnant, so, happily, I don't feel guilty about it, since I didn't know about it in time to have done anything wrong.

Oh, and the confirmation bias. I have a boatload of studies compiled by the Danish Ministry of Health showing how healthy all kinds of exercise in pregnancy is (with the possible exception of horseback riding and high-impact ball sports). I also have an entire book written on the subject I could translate for you. YOU come forward with YOUR studies that prove that exercise is harmful and then we can begin a productive discussion. There is a lack of studies on endurance/high level athletes who continue to train during pregnancy and thus decisions must be based on extrapolation, case studies and good clinical judgement. Weight gain studies, as I have previously discussed ad nauseum, are extremely difficult to analyze because women who are pregnant with unhealthy babies also tend to gain less, so it makes research in that area very challenging and the results very difficult to interpret.

I guess it is convenient for you to be able to write this comment and run away without a name or blog attached to you. It would be nice to have a discussion where both parties are held equally accountable for their comments ...

18 comments:

Sandhya said...

Hello, SLG. I am confident you will receive a flood of messages from people truly appalled at the hostile tone of the comment you received. As an attorney, I believe any argument that descends into name-calling and that doesn't marshal evidence to support its logic should simply be ignored. If anything, the commenter deserves pity because she is clearly writing much more about herself than about you. While I don't always agree with everything you write on your blog -- and I know you don't expect people to be in constant agreement with you -- I think your willingness to have a productive discussion and to present your perspective on your fitness routine and your life is truly helpful. I'm continually amazed that people interpret any statement about personal preferences as a veiled attack on others who don't choose to adopt the same practices. In sum: kudos to you for writing about such personal and often hurtful topics and fostering a virtual community.

SteveQ said...

I think part of the problem here is that people tend to read into a blogpost things that aren't really there, based upon their own experiences. One gets a very limited view of someone from their blog; if they stumble upon just one post, they don't get any context, either.

I have someone who reads my blog regularly who seems to absolutely loathe me and everything I do - why that person reads it is inexplicable, yet I sometimes take his/her (anonymous) comments more deeply than I should.

It isn't easy to shrug off negative comments, as there's always some grain of truth in them. You've addressed this admirably.

Meghan said...

Sealegs,

While there is no excuse for something like your anonymous commenter's words to you, you can perhaps sympathize with why she made them. Her emotional anger and hurt over her own situation run strongly through her comment. She is abraded, and, thus, as you said, abrasive in reaction.

What I just don't get is how people think that you're killing/maiming/injuring your un-born children and your reproductive system through your exercise and eating habits. Yep, you might very well exercise a lot and have a delicate relationship with food (You say things like this freely here.), but do these women not consider how many healthy babies are being born every day in truly desperate conditions in our developing countries? Pregnancy is a robust condition and probably has been for millions of years, since the predecessors of our human species were giving birth as undernourished, highly mobile hunters and gatherers on the African plain.

I hope you're able to shrug off your commenter's abrasiveness and turn it into, if nothing else, a deep sympathy for a hurt woman. In turn, I hope your commenter reads your blog post and realizes that the effects of her comments are only to turn her own pain outwards towards others in an unproductive manner.

Hugs to you, Sealegs!

Erin said...

Here's the bottom line.
It's your blog.
And it's your body.

If someone doesn't agree with you, or like what they're reading.......
they don't have to look at your blog!

You keep making the choices that you feel are right for YOU; and thank you for being brave enough to talk about it with all of us.

Danni said...

This is an emotionally charged issue for women, so it's no wonder that people get pretty worked up. There seems to be no other area of life where people feel more justified in passing judgment than child rearing/pregnancy etc. I can understand being put off by your "vanity," (I will reserve arm-chair psycho-analysis on this for the time being) but that was a mean comment. But, hey, that's the internet fer ya.

Helen said...

Well, it wouldn't be your blog if it wasn't without a bit of controversy!

Haven't had much time to read blogs recently so was quite pleased to return to yours and find something entirely worth reading. Keep being you girl. That's why we read...

JKL said...

I wish that people like that had the balls to attach their names to their comments. That is just so spineless. They hide behind "anonymous." How horrible to suggest that you caused your own miscarriage. How insensitive.

mmmonyka said...

I kinda understand the first part of the comment, where she expresses her opinion about running in pregnancy and stuff, but the last part... "You lost a child and that will teach you!"(because that's what she is saying!)...what kind of a person says something like that?!?
Dear anonymous writer, no matter how hurt, upset, disappointed you are, nobody has right to say things like these to the others. Things by which you only try to really hurt the other person. Please think twice before writing something similar, because it certainly does not help you to feel better, it just really hurts the other person. You should apologize (although I do not expect you would judging you have written something that low and disgusting).

Dale Nesbitt said...

Here's an article that might put you at ease somewhat.

Times UK

Diana said...

Oh, wow, those are horrible comments for someone to make. It does sound like her comments have more to do with her own struggles surrounding fertility than they do with the choices you make for yourself and your body, although even then, it doesn't give her the right to say things like that. I'm still sorry to see that she chose to vent in an unproductive and incredibly hurtful way. SLG, I hope you don't take her spiteful commentary personally.

Anonymous said...

Rather nice blog you've got here. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more soon.

Bella Kuree

Anonymous said...

That poster is obviously hurting from her own tragedy, and I am sorry for her. I really feel for women who want so badly to have children but can't.

But I also feel very badly that she was so cruel to you. I went through a miscarriage nearly three years ago and thought your posts were thoughtful and interesting. Maybe I didn't agree with everything you said, but hey, it's your body and life, not mine. I'm sorry she was so mean to you.

P.S. never posted here before. I just lurk sometimes. :)

lisa said...

Well, of course the last paragraph that she wrote was just horrible. However, I somewhat agree with her on the fact that you might have some sort of exercise bulemia, and that sometimes it seems your love of running as an experience is far, far less than your desire to lose weight from running. Sometimes I think you're not always being healthy- especially a feww comments you mighta made about your step-daughter (sorry!) have worried me.

However, it does not make you a bad person and it's relateable. It's your blog. I feel bad for the commenter because she is going through some shit and taking it out on you. That sucks man.

Your miscarriage was unrelated to your exercise so just ignore it. But, I will echo another comment I've written before as an anon - see a nutritionist who works with distance runners. I just think it would be healthy to get proper nutrition and maybe worry about your weight less. You've posted about your eating disorder in the past, I've struggled with one too, and though I think you did just fine nutritionally with your first adorable kiddo, I do know those thoughts that make EDs so all-consuming never entirely disappear. So take care of yourself lady!

Karen said...

I'm a firm believer of "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." My jaw dropped when I saw this comment.

Besides....Nature always has a way of making things turn out. Isn't infertility one of the first things to happen if you exercise too much or don't eat enough (to the point of unhealthy)? So if you're healthy enough to conceive, and keep up the same regimen, doesn't that mean your eating and exercising habits are well enough to grow a healthy baby? People are always afraid of things with which they have little experience.

Sorry you got such a rude comment. I'm supporting you...even if it is from 5,000 miles away. :)

Lisa said...

Boy do I get steamed when people tell fit, exercising, healthy pregnant women that they are selfish and vain.

Sea Legs' blog was a lifeline to me in my pregnancy. It was great to see someone exercising - even racing - during pregnancy, not gaining tons of weight, and hacing a perfectly healthy baby. And you know what? I did the same thing. I subscribed to the SLG School of healthy pregnancy, kept my weekly exercise schedule, which included running 25 miles a week and weight training, gained 18 lbs, and delivered a robust healthy baby.

I don't think wanting your body back, or wanting to maintain hard-won fitness goals is anything to get your panties in a bunch about, anonymous.

cherelli said...

Hi SLG, I am simply stunned someone would go to so much effort to write that as a comment on another persons blog. She obviously reads your blog a lot though, maybe to fire herself up for her own sad reasons in life, as some do (as Steve alluded to with a reader of his blog). Anyway, her comment gave excellent fodder for another great blog post for you :) Um, of course it seems so far I am the only one to jump on the "(I'm actually late for my period again - did I just announce that on my blog?)", hee hee hee, that would be wonderful so soon after a m/c (when cycles get screwy anyway) so I shall keep my fingers crossed :)

SteveQ said...

More running songs to consider: "King of the Beach" by Wavves and "11th Dimension" by Julian Casablancas.

DANIELLE said...

Pregnancy, the last save haven for bullying. Why is it that in every other lifecycle event, bullying is frowned upon, but during pregnancy it's acceptable to browbeat someone? Hm.

Anyhow, this month's runners world has a great double interview with WORLD CLASS MARATHON RUNNERS Kara Goucher and Paula Radcliffe. Both encountered similar nastiness. It's a shame that some people let their own personal tragedies make them incapable of being compassionate and empathetic to others. In contrast to your cowardly, bitter, anonymous poster, some people become much much more humane and sensitive after personal tragedy and try to unite people instead of playing blame games and trying to isolate them.