Monday, May 12, 2014

The Monday Rant: Sharing Horror Stories

A few months ago, I had my wisdom teeth removed.  Prior to having the actual surgery, I heard every opinion from "Oh, it's nothing, just a routine thing everyone gets done," to "It is the worst thing you will ever experience in your entire life."  Funnily enough, no one had a sort of middle-of-the-road opinion of the procedure.

My opinion? Well, for the record, I had two wisdom teeth: one partially erupted and one impacted.  I chose local anesthesia only, with no IV sedation (because I'm cheap and have a high pain tolerance).  The partially erupted tooth came out so quickly and easily, I could hardly believe they could be done.  The impacted tooth was more painful because they had to use a drill to break it into multiple pieces.  Did I cry?  Sure I did; it hurt a lot.  But you know what?  I'm pretty sure that when I experience childbirth someday, that will be more painful.  And I've never had a broken bone, but that sounds pretty painful.  So wisdom teeth removal?  Middle of the road.

And you know what else?  Hearing everyone else's horror stories didn't help me.  At all.  Not even yours, Mom.  (Sorry.)

So I would like to question why we do this.  Why do we feel the need to freak everyone out with our stories?  I heard from one person who said she needed 26 shots of local anesthesia in her mouth.  Someone else got infected for a week and was in terrible pain.  I believe that it was horrible for you, but how is sharing that with me going to assist me in my preparation at all?  Every single person is different, so every single experience is going to be different, too.  I may or not get infected; I may or may not need extra anesthesia.  There's no way to know until I'm there.

You know where I experience this idea the most?  Bridal shower and baby showers.  This is actually the main reason I hate these showers so much (with the ridiculous amount of estrogen and perfume in one room being the second reason).

Bridal shower: every married woman feels superior to the bride-to-be because the Mrs. has so much more experience.  The married women at the shower smile patronizingly on the bride-to-be because of her sweet innocent beliefs on marriage.  "Just you wait, honey," they say.  "You'll see..."  "Hah, someday you'll be singing a different song."  And then they exchange knowing glances with each other.  And if any woman who has been married, oh, let's say, only two to three years tries to defend the bride and the general institution of marriage, then that woman is also looked down upon and patronized as a childish newlywed with absolutely no experience whose opinion is entirely invalid.  If these women hate marriage that much, why did they get married in the first place?

Baby shower: every woman with a child feels the need to relate her entire childbirth story to the expectant mother.  The expectant mother, despite being pregnant and having every excuse to be *ahem* 'emotional', is instead expected to sit politely and listen to these horrendous accounts of centimeters and hours in exchange for a gift.  Again, all the mothers exchange knowing glances when the expectant mother says anything about how she plans to raise this child.  "You'll see...." "Hah, someday you'll be singing a different song."  "Just you wait, honey."  And heaven forbid anyone who has never had a child tries to participate in a conversation about child-rearing!  Never mind how many younger siblings this person has or her experience in child-care!  If you have not birthed a child, you have no right to speak on such things!

And guess what?  They're right, in a way.  They do have experience on their side.  But just like every person who has their wisdom teeth out has a different experience, so does every person who is married or expecting a child.  Did you know that only 50% of pregnant women experience morning sickness?  Yet the way people go on at baby showers, you would think you couldn't be pregnant without throwing up at least once a day for 9 months.

All this to say: shut up.  If you legitimately sense a real and/or dangerous lack of judgment, by all means, speak up.  But if you only want to share your horror story to fill up space, just stop.  Think about when you were getting your wisdom teeth out, or engaged to be married, or expecting your first child.  Would the story you are trying to share have blessed you then?  If not, then shut your pie hole.  And eat some pie, because you clearly need some.

This is perhaps a partially unfair rant.  There are plenty of women who attend bridal and baby showers who have positive stories to tell and encouragement to share.  These women are usually the quiet, polite ones.  If you are one of these women, first of all, God bless you - and I'm so glad you came to this shower!  And now, I beg you to share your positive stories and encouragement.  Be assertive and use up that air space that otherwise would be filled with horror stories.

And finally, this is NOT an announcement.

Love and Pie,
Leah Joy


  1. Here's my Tuesday Rant: I wrote a nice, well thought out response to your post. I went to publish, and it disappeared! Rant, rant, rant!

    1. Oh no! That's annoying!

      (And I hope I didn't offend you too much with my rant!)