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Dear Anonymous…

I never would have imagined that my little post about a poopy diaper could have caused so much commotion…

Or stirred up so much emotion within me…

{read this post and the comments section to get up to speed}

Ohhhh, the infamous Anonymous comments–the ones that make your stomach feel like you just went down the biggest drop of a roller coaster (but not in a good way). I know I am not the only one who has received such a comment.

Anonymous comments and I have a funny relationship. They never fail to hurt my feelings; and yet, I still haven’t switched my blogger settings to block them…

Perhaps I’m still pining for the day that an anonymous comment will read something like, “hey LMM, you are super sweet and super rad and a super duper momma and I am too shy to say it to your face so I am posting anonymously”.

But that’s not how anonymous comments go, is it…
Nope, it goes a bit more like this…

It all began shortly after I started my blog in March. I remember it like it was yesterday…it was the day I received my very first ill-spirited anonymous comment.

I was away from the computer at the time, so I received a text of the comment on my phone and I was unable to give the immediate defensive response I was feeling {looking back, it was a blessing that I was so far away from a computer and unable to lash out irrationally}.

After taking the day to think about it, I ultimately decided NOT to respond to the comment, and I went so far as to delete it. A few days later I still felt good about my decision to bite my tongue, but I’ll tell you what–I didn’t feel as good about my decision to delete the comment.

I can’t expect everyone to agree with me and my blog content–or even like me, for that matter. Creating this blog was not so that I could win a popularity contest–it was a way to connect–to find other Mommas-in-training {or Momma veterans, or future Mommas for that matter} who could relate to my experiences, to my stories, to my so-called life lessons.

And on the day that I deleted my first Anonymous comment, I was deleting her point of view from this open forum of Momma experiences.

Since then I have received a handful of other less-than-nice comments without a name attached to them. With each comment, I can feel the frustration mount inside of me. I’m not sure if it’s the comment itself that upsets me so much, or if I’m more upset that I allow these comments to get under my skin in the first place.

I wish I was strong enough to brush off such comments.
To not let them ruin my day.
To be the bigger person.
But I’m NOT.
Which is why today’s anonymous comment pushed me over the edge.

When I opened my computer this morning and read my latest comment, I felt as if I had been punched in the gut. All the air left my stomach and my eyes filled with tears.

You see, today’s comment was different from past comments. Past comments have attacked my tutorials, my giveaways and my crafting skills–but, I felt today’s comment attacked my choices {or lack thereof} as a Momma.

I spent the morning re-living a heartache I was forced to endure nearly a year ago when I made the choice to stop nursing Baby W. And I did what I always do when I become overwhelmed with emotion–I wrote…and wrote…and wrote.

As I typed I vented, I apologized, I agonized, I antagonized…then I put my venting session into a new post in blogger. And just before I clicked POST, my conscious {aka the Spirit} told me otherwise…”save as a draft” and then take a few hours to think it over, the voice in my head said.

In those few hours that I held off on posting I was overwhelmed with the number of you who came to my defense, with the number of you who had shared my experience, with the number of you who were filled with emotion as I was.

But even more overwhelmingmore overwhelming than I can put into words…

Ms. Anonymous came forward!

Despite the harsh criticism she knew she would receive, Ms. Anonymous told us her name–and then she shared the true intent of her comment–and her true reason for posting anonymously.

And I was touched.

Where my heart had been bruised earlier in the day, my heart now swelled at the courage of Ms. Anonymous to throw herself under the bus in the name of “un-hurting” my feelings.

While different life experiences will probably never allow Ms. Anonymous and I to see eye to eye on the issue of “breast feeding”, that’s okay–because honesty and courage have allowed us to move forward.

Dear Anonymous Alyx {love the way you spell your name, btw},

I want to thank you for coming forward, for opening up, for standing up for yourself and for ultimately standing up for me. I respect you for your bravery and dignity.

I want you to know that the letter below is not designed to hurt your feelings or be an attack on you. Rather, your comment forced me to reflect on some personal matters that I am ready to share with everyone, as well as give me the courage to address the issue of comment etiquette–and for this I thank you.

You see, it’s an unfortunate reality that nearly EVERY other anonymous commenter does NOT have your courage in coming forward.

So the below letter is written to the real Anonymous commenter’s out there, on behalf of all of us bloggers who wear our hearts on our sleeve, while they carelessly take no regard for our feelings when they check the Anonymous box.

This letter is for them–not you.

……………………………………………………………………………………….


Dear Anonymous,

You know who you are.

The one hiding behind the comment you posted for the world to see–the comment that has hurt the feelings of the author of the blog you chose to read.

To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have given the comment a second thought had you not have posted it anonymously–indicating to me that you did not have the courage to stand behind your potentially hurtful words.

And because I am human {and more sensitive than I like to let on}, I will let you know that your words did hurt–as would any comment suggesting I am not being the best momma my baby deserves.

When I read your comment about my apparent lack of regard for the well being of my child by not nursing him, my first reaction was to delete it.

I have purposefully worked hard to ensure that this blog is a safe and welcome retreat from the craziness of everyday life for both myself, and my readers–and your comment did not reflect such an environment.

And then, just before I clicked delete, I thought about the most important reason I joined the blogging world. I created this blog in hopes of finding other Mommas out there who have shared my milestones and meltdowns in motherhood.

And the reality is Ms. Anonymous, your comment hit the nail on the head with one of my most difficult mothering meltdowns–so your words will remain because my readers deserve to see your thoughts.

In response to your “concern”: I did nurse Baby W–for FOUR months, before complications I am not yet ready to share with the blogging world stood in the way of me nursing him any longer. And you want to know what–it was one of the most difficult days of my life.

I cried for days.

I felt like a failure.

And let me tell you, it’s one thing to feel like you have failed yourself–but it’s another thing entirely to feel like you failed you child. It wasn’t until I received the reassuring advice from some very dear friends, that I realized my guilt was stemming from the voiced opinions of those such as yourself.

My baby is healthy. My baby is happy. My baby and hubby are the most important things in my world. And my baby will always know that I did the absolute BEST I could for him–whether that meant breast milk or formula.

So thank you for your concern. And next time, I encourage you to stand behind your words with a name…

Yours Truly,

ashley
Little Miss Momma

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too
    August 19, 2010 at 3:50 am

    You handled this so well. I hope he feels better very soon!

  • Reply
    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too
    August 19, 2010 at 3:50 am

    You handled this so well. I hope he feels better very soon!

  • Reply
    Lexie Loo & Dylan Too
    August 19, 2010 at 3:50 am

    You handled this so well. I hope he feels better very soon!

  • Reply
    t & e
    August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    i'm glad to see you get all this support. i'm grateful that anonymous came forward and expressed her true meaning and didn't mean to hurt you. the lesson that should be learned here is you can't judge someone because you don't know the whole story. love you ash!

    baby w gets his cutie chicken legs from his daddy, not from not being breastfeed, hehe!

  • Reply
    t & e
    August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    i'm glad to see you get all this support. i'm grateful that anonymous came forward and expressed her true meaning and didn't mean to hurt you. the lesson that should be learned here is you can't judge someone because you don't know the whole story. love you ash!

    baby w gets his cutie chicken legs from his daddy, not from not being breastfeed, hehe!

  • Reply
    t & e
    August 19, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    i'm glad to see you get all this support. i'm grateful that anonymous came forward and expressed her true meaning and didn't mean to hurt you. the lesson that should be learned here is you can't judge someone because you don't know the whole story. love you ash!

    baby w gets his cutie chicken legs from his daddy, not from not being breastfeed, hehe!

  • Reply
    Tahnie
    January 14, 2011 at 8:55 am

    Oh sweet Ashley, I know this post is old but I'm going through your blog and had to respond to it. I wanted to breast feed Sookie more than anything. I even went against all of my doctors wishes to try for a few months. They all wanted me back on the only medication I have for slowing down my disease, but there is nothing known about what it would do to Miss S, and I couldn't take it during pregnancy because, once again, no idea what effect it would have on her. So I made the decision to continue to stay off of it so I could give her the BEST start possible.

    After all this, after 18 pills of herbs a day for weeks, pumping with a painful industrial sized pump, my body wasn't producing milk. I was devastated. I still am actually. I put my life on the line throughout my pregnancy, then I put my health on hold to breast feed…and it STILL wasn't enough for her. I felt like a failure. I know our situations are so different but I completely empathize with you girl. It is a heartbreaking thing to deal with.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    January 16, 2011 at 7:18 am

    I'm addicted to your blog now! I love the way you write. I hope you get stronger but I undestand that those comments affect you, is normal! but remember all the people that admire you and cares about you ๐Ÿ™‚
    Excuse my english please, I'm latinoamerican ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    xx B
    February 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

    This is one of the reasons i've stayed in the shadows of blogland because i have seen comments such as these and wasn't willing to put myself out there. I have never and probably will never understand what it is that makes people feel they have the "right to comment"? by that i mean the "negatives", you are putting yourself out there and inviting people to come into your space, therefor if you have nothing nice to say "simply leave" my space and go elsewhere! By the same token i am a strong believer that "Those that mind don't matter and those that matter don't mind"! This can be applied to everything from diapers to daydreams!

  • Reply
    Mindie Hilton
    February 13, 2011 at 1:55 am

    I have two boys, 8 and almost 2. I struggled with nursing both. My oldest was a month early and he never seemed to like nursing. I had specialist come in to my home to help. One of which told me if I had had a natural birth with out any pain medication he would have nursed better. I see no fact in this, nor her place to put blame. I did continue nursing until he refused to nurse at 4 months. Just would not take the breast anymore. My youngest nursed better and was full term. I however had horrible infections and cysts in both breast that kept me in contsant pain and always returned even after antibiotics. My own docter finally suggested I stop nursing, this was at 9 mos. I am telling you all this because I know how much I felt like a failure too when I stopped. Like I was not being the best mommy I could be. You certainly are not alone. No one should tell anyone when to stop or start nursing. It is a decision that can only be made by you. Something my husbnd had to remind me often, since I would always ask his advice. My children know I love them more then my own life. I am sure your little boy feels just as loved.

  • Reply
    ~Sharleanna~
    March 6, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    I just stumbled on your blog and wow! This is amazing!! My milk wouldn't really come in so my little one lost so much weight that I was forced to go to the bottle. I tried my hardest to do both but she didn't want my breast after about 2 months. It was heart breaking I cried and still get choked up when I hear of other women succeeding. I'm happy for them but I'm sad for my daughter and for myself. Clearly you love your child and you do your absolute best for him… I will be a follower of this blog from now on and I look forward to reading!! Thanks for posting!!

  • Reply
    Paola
    May 19, 2011 at 6:23 pm

    Wow! I just found your Blog and I absolutely LOVE it! I admire you for opening up and standing up for yourself. It takes a very courage person to do what you did and express your feeling to everyone.
    Love the tutorials and I think your style is very unique and I can wait to see more of. I hope your days are filled of lots of laugh, love and health. Do not let others who are unhappy with their life bother you in any way. You are your own person and no one should judge your decisions (they are certainly not God). my best to you and your precious family.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    First off, great blog! I have two little (actually they're gigantic) babies, and tried to breastfeed both, but failed both times for different reasons. People don't know your situation or how things work for you, but it is easy to look from the outside and point out what is wrong, simply because they haven't had to deal with it. You have a happy baby who loves you, and whether you feed him meat or tofu or carrots or breastmilk or whatever works is YOUR decision and he's obviously healthy!! p.s. from an encouraging anonymous post because the other ways of posting aren't common in my country! ttfn

  • Reply
    Tara
    July 22, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I've just posted an anonimous comment with regards to your Victorian Lace bracelet. Overwhelmed with exitement at seeing such wonderful crafting and being terrible at anything to do with computers, I found it easy and quick to post anonimously. Only to find your post on "anonimous" senders! Well, just for the record, this is my first post EVER on any blog, and all I wanted to do on impulse is let you know how much I enjoy your crafts and pictures and your bubbly personality that shines through your writing. I will be visiting your web again for sure. Greetings from Spain

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    July 25, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    I have never ever commented on a blog before, yours touched me. I just recently found your website and think it is amazing, I am going to use anonymous for this reason only re: your earlier comment how nice it would be to recieve an anonymous comment like this "hey LMM, you are super sweet and super rad and a super duper momma and I am too shy to say it to your face so I am posting anonymously". You wrote I mean it.
    Anyways this particular post got me, I have a 16 yr old daughter who is one of the best people I know, she is honest, open, funny and snarky and is my best friend, we could not be any closer if she was attached to me and she has never (thankfully) been "sick". Due to circumstances I couldnt breastfeed her, I was young, single and wanted to prove to everyone that I was the best momma in the world and at that I failed, and felt horrible but she turned out fabulous. A year ago I got a second chance and had another beautiful baby girl and I thought "here's my chance to try again, to actually experience it, to feel what others do, to do what everyone says is best for my baby" and then I tried and she SCREAMED and screamed and screamed, I tried again and again I asked the nurses for help, they called in "the specialist" they gropped and grabbed and manhandled me and my baby grabbing her little face and forcing her onto my breast for 3 days, by the end I begged for formula, she was starving, they said "no and to keep trying (I had bruises on my breasts from them trying). This didnt feel right my baby hated me, didnt want me (or so my sleep deprived exhausted self thought), but I knew she was starving! I was overwhelmed and exhausted and felt like a failure and I just wanted to go home with my baby, and the nurses told me that they were not going to release me until she learned, I knew in my heart she was miserable that it wasnt going to work that it wasnt what she needed, it wasnt meant to be, what she needed was food and now! and if I couldnt give it to her by breast milk then fine but I was damn well going to make sure she got fed she was hungry. So, I lied, "yes nurse it's all good by golly we got it now" and we left and I cried and cried and felt like a failure and my husband tried so hard to soothe me with a there, there and a pat on the knee(blessed his silly little heart but lets face it they are clueless)so we bought formula on the way home, I put her up against my chest and I fed her and she ate and ate and ate, sighed and fell asleep. And she is the (in my opinion) the brightest, smartest, most beautiful, healthy baby girl in the world along with my first. I apologize for this being such a long comment (story/novel), but it seemed that while I couldnt breast feed my baby every nurse/mother/commercial/website was against me I was a horrible momma and didnt deserve my girls and that hurt deeply and so I finally got my bitch on; MY girls are PERFECT and I am a GREAT momma as are YOU because we recognized and gave our babies what they actually needed not what someone else "deemed" suitable for our children.

    Thank you lmm, for your website, for letting me know I am not alone amongst the craziness.

  • Reply
    Kate
    August 2, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Ashley, thank you for this post.

    I am struggling with this very thing today (the formula, not comments)

    I had to supplement my 4 month old for the first time today. And it broke my heart. I cried and cried. I feel like a failure even though I know I'm not.

    What did you do to overcome these feelings?

    LOVE your blog!

    -Kate

    mommakatepala.blogspot.com

  • Reply
    Amii x
    August 2, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    I'm in tears reading this whole post and these comments. May I say first of all, your courage Ashley in confronting anonymous commenters, and secondly (but by no means less worthy) the comments expressing the opinions, thoughts, emotions and the experiences of the people above has literally moved me to tears. Really, I'm in work and crying – busted for being on blogger I guess!

    I went through a similar situation… I went through my whole pregnancy, and I was determined I was going to breastfeed my little booger monster until he had it coming out his ears. Until he was born that is – he was an incredibly lazy feeder, and no amount of midwives, health visitors and BFing coaches would coax him into it and I eventually had to give up on the idea and move him fully to the bottle. There is nothing more that makes you FEEL (emphasis on that word, feel) like a failure than not being able to do what surely must be the most natural thing in the world…but the thing that makes you KNOW you are a good mother is still being there to provide and do the best for your child no matter what.

    Take care everyone. x

  • Reply
    Mulberry bags
    August 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Beautiful bag and fast postage

  • Reply
    Nicki
    September 2, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Ashley, I havent blogged for a while because alot of personal stuff that has been going on and when I logged on today for the first time in nearly two weeks; “anonymous” had been to my blog. On my sweet baby’s special first birthday post (only one of those in a lifetime right?) he had written “bloody shame his mother is a pig” I cried, threw up, called my husband and told him that I see what everyone sees when they look at me and that I know he is just saying that Im beautiful because hes married to me and that he and Charlie would be better off without me because neither of them can be proud of the disgusting blob I am. and.then.i.stopped I took away his power and responded. I remembered reading how you had stood up to your anonymous commenter and I wrote. Its amazing visiting here now and reading how many similar points you made in your “dear anonymous”. Its amazing to know that as bloggers we put ourself in the line of fire and remembering that we are the brave ones and they are the cowards and just like being bullied at school bullies only have power when you give it to them. Thanks love as always xxxxxx

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    October 31, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Late at night I am always drawn to your blog. First blog I have ever followed. I just love how open you are. I am scared to one day be a mother and I learn a lot from your openness. I too take comments from others so internally. Our greatest strengths are our greatest weaknesses. You put your heart on your sleeve and people can take advantage of it.

  • Reply
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