Barren Advice is posted each Tuesday-ish. If you have your own question for Barren Advice, click here to learn how to submit. Please weigh in with your own thoughts in the comment section and indicate which question you're addressing if there are multiple questions in the post.
What do you do when someone leaves a comment on your blog that just makes you want to throttle them, even though you know they are trying to be supportive? I had someone leave a comment telling me that my baby angel was in heaven and that it breaks her heart to see how I am carrying on back here on earth. She said I should release my anger with my doctors, body, infertility, etc and stop carrying around this burden because my baby would never want me to live this way.
I...almost came unglued. I know they were trying to be helpful and leave the general platitudes, but how dare they? My initial thought process was "How dare you presume to know what my baby would and would not want? I believe she in heaven too, but how DARE you come in here and tell me what I should and shouldn't do?!"
I know - they were trying to comfort me. Instead, I was unreasonably angered. I have not responded, and probably won't because I don't want to hurt anyone or put them off of commenting or offering support, but still...what do you do with stuff like this?!
Here is the problem with giving comfort to someone you don't intimately know--you never know if your way of giving comfort is actually helpful to them. I know how to comfort Josh; know what he does or does not want to hear. I can't say the same thing about most people on the Internet with the exception of the people that I've connected with off-blog.
Comfort is sticky when it comes from a religious space and religion is sticky because even those who practice the same religion may feel uncomfortable with some religious sentiments. As you state in your question, even if you also believe that your baby is in Heaven, you don't necessarily sound like your Heaven matches the commenter's vision of Heaven (where your baby is watching your angry reaction back here on earth).
And yet we've set up blogs as a conversation--unless you turn off comments on a post, you are tacitly giving a welcome to other people's words. Therefore, when you're happy, they are going to echo your happiness with congratulations and when you are sad, they are going to say what they believe will help you process your grief. Perhaps in her world and within her losses (whether they were pregnancy losses or other forms of loss she has experienced), it is helpful to think that the people lost would be angry with her if they saw her grieving. Perhaps that is what gets her through the grieving process and makes her put one foot in front of the other.
It wouldn't work for me.
It doesn't sound like it works for you.
So what is a way to comfort someone that is a little more neutral? If people only have words to give comfort and cannot give you a hug, what should they say? A simple "I'm sorry" works. A "I'm thinking of you" or "hug" is fine too.
I believe the conversation began on I Won't Fear Love about the term abide, as in "I abide with you" which is a way of saying that you are sitting beside them, waiting for the person to come through their grief. You're not nudging them along or trying to talk them out of it. You're simply sitting with them. It's a term that lacks judgment nor tells the other person what to do. It is a really perfect way to comfort another person that you don't know.
That said, what do you do with the people who choose instead to bring their own way of comforting to the table? Who choose to bring in their religious views, even if they end up causing more pain than comfort because their views differ so greatly from your own? There are only three possibilities here: ignore (easier said than done), remove (though, as you said, the words were never meant to hurt), or close the comment section on a post where you fear the response. Some will take the extra step when the comment section is closed to reach you via email. And while I can't promise that you won't get emails that are unhelpful, you have a greater chance of getting helpful comfort from someone who knows you somewhat well.
No really, the beauty of a blog advice column is that you get to weigh in with your two cents too. Let the questioner know if you support the advice, add to the response, or dispute it completely.
Leave a comment in the reaction box below--only keep in mind that conflicting advice is embraced and rudeness is not. Want to ask your own question? Click here to see what you need to send in order to be included in a future Tuesday's installment of Barren Advice.
Bonus Barren Advice coming later today!