It’s been a long day at work. All I want is to do is watch a lighthearted YouTube video and eat a cookie instead of dinner. As I scroll through my feed, I see a new video by Laura Clery, the make you pee your pants comedian I first discovered in 2020 with her Pamela Pumpkin Quarantine Workout video.
The new video title reads: “Responding To Hate.” I click on it, eagerly anticipating Laura’s comical take on ridiculous troll comments. What I get is vastly different.
The day before, Laura had made a candid video in the parking lot of Whole Foods while describing her postpartum struggles.
Disheveled and crying into the closest clean disposable object—a diaper—Laura seems to embody the frequently unseen side of early motherhood.
Following the publishing of Laura’s Whole Food parking lot video, a TikTok video responding to her video went viral.
Laura starts her response video out by thanking those who met her with compassion, then she rolls the viral Tik Tok clip.
“Why don’t you volunteer your time to the DV (Domestic Violence) Clinic and see what real women struggle with,” the blurred-out woman cries into the camera. Now yelling, she says, “How dare you ask your followers, regular women, how they cure their baby blues? […] You’re not bringing awareness to this issue! You shouldn’t be on here crying about it so your subscribers . . . How hard is your life!?”
Laura pops back on screen and calmly responds, “So what I want to say to you and anyone else that may feel this way is that I am sorry you are struggling. I am sorry that you feel angry and sad, and I am sorry if I inadvertently made it worse. It is not lost on me that I am extraordinarily blessed in my life but let’s be clear, gratitude is being thankful for my blessings, not pretending that my struggles don’t exist; and unfortunately, money and fame have not yet cured my alcoholism, ADHD, depression, and postpartum struggles.”
Stunned and full of memories, I continue watching. Not pulling any punches while still exhibiting empathy, Laura says the following and more:
“I think comparative suffering is unhelpful to everyone involved.”
“I am on your team. This is not a competition.”
“Please don’t withhold compassion because you believe you have it worse.”
Watch the video and Laura’s response below:
Watching the blurred-out woman cry and rant, I am filled with compassion for her. And I realize that I could have made a very similar video eight years ago.
In 2013, following the stillbirth of my second child, my only son, I started attending a grief support group for parents. One of the few rules in the group was “do not compare.”
Although I learned quickly to not compare myself to other members of the group, I found it a much harder rule to follow in my daily life. Watching healthy women my age rant about how horrible parenting appears and how they never want to have any kids made my blood boil. Sitting in the pediatrician’s waiting room while a man screamed at his son nearly sent me out of my seat. Watching friends and family post newborn photos of their second, third, or even fourth children brought me to tears and I wondered why I was so cursed.
At times, I catch myself thinking how much better I am than they are—the women who do not want children and the man in the pediatrician’s office. Other times, I find myself deeply despairing because this must have happened because something is wrong with me. I wish grief and mental health issues were pretty; they are not.
After considering how I could have been the one to voice a rant like the one on TikTok, I think about Laura’s words. The truth of what she says rings true in observation of others and my own life as well.
Our hearts grow when we find empathy and compassion for another person.
One of the most healing things I have found in my grief is that moment when someone opens up enough to let me know a smidge of their pain, and when I, in turn, am able to say or show that I see them, that I have been there or am there, too. It connects us—in some ways, forever. It gives back to me as much or more than I have given.
It may sound crazy, but hear me out. Helping to give a little healing to someone else’s heart can be one of the many things to helps us heal our own hearts.
If you are struggling with depression, grief, or any other mental illness or anguish please reach out to a counselor, support group, or doctor.
In the words of Laura, “I am on your team.” Let’s be on each other’s team.