As you all know by now, April is a crappy month. We have the anniversary of Madeline’s death at the beginning, and the March of Dimes’ March for Babies at the end. And while the March for Babies is a beautiful thing, it’s also emotionally debilitating. I hate asking people to join my team, and I ESPECIALLY hate asking people to donate their hard-earned money. It’s not something I’m particularly good at or enjoy, and I don’t ever see that changing. But I participate in the walk every year to not only honor my beautiful Maddie, but to hopefully prevent other families from losing a child to prematurity.
This year, it’s been particularly hard for me to motivate myself to organize my team. You’d think that since it’s the tenth year we’ve marched I’d have the whole thing down by now, but I think it’s actually BECAUSE it’s the tenth year that I’m feeling very…uninspired. Every time I’m reminded that Maddie was born prematurely ten years ago, I think about everything she’s missed in the last decade. It’s hard. I should have an almost-ten-year-old in my house, and I don’t.
The March for Babies website has a database that keeps track of everyone who has ever donated or walked with my team, which is so handy. In the past, I’ve been able to narrow down who is in the database for what reason. So when I wanted to send an email only to the people who’ve walked in the past, I could check a box and pull only those email addresses. This year, however, they changed the system, and everyone (those who have walked and those who have donated) is just in a big ol’ list.
To say I fretted about this is an understatement. There are thousands of people in my March for Babies database, and to go through them to discern who everyone is would take hours of work (not to mention the emotional toll). After stressing about my mashed-up list for a month (I have issues), I finally decided to send my “please join my team” email to everyone in the database. After I hit send, I laughed at myself for being such a weirdo.
Then I got several emails from people asking me to remove them from my list.
As someone with an overloaded inbox (I’m not going to tell you that I have 150,000 emails in my inbox because I don’t want to make some of you apoplectic) (it’s actually only 145,000), I get it. No one wants extra email. My brain is like, “Heather, this is not something to get upset about,” but my heart is like, “couldn’t they have just deleted it?”
I know this is a complicated issue. I know getting an unexpected email asking you to support the team that honors my dead child can be jarring. But it was also jarring to get the emails asking to be removed from the list, especially since they knew who Maddie was and what happened to her. I’ve spent the last week in knots, trying to get my heart and head on the same page. And while my head is winning over my heart in the long run, I can’t help but think how much I wish I could “unsubscribe” from losing Maddie. Unsubscribing from that is impossible for me, though, so I will keep on keeping on, and try to stay positive.
This really sucks. I’m so sorry that this month is such a hard one, and that these emails have weighed heavy on your heart. Please keep asking for support for Maddie’s team. We’re here for you.
I know I can be kind of a Pollyanna, but maybe they subscribed under multiple email addresses or get updates another way? I know I’ve unsubscribed for both reasons and made a point to tell the person why I requested to be delete because I felt guilty…
Never unsubscribe me. Purple always reminds me of your eldest. Please always know and hold in your heart that she is not forgotten, and you and Mike have inspired me to live in the moment, and not be overly sad or nostalgic as my girls (5 and 3.5 yo) get bigger. It is a continual gift that I am grateful for daily. xoxoxo
I for one was glad to see the email. It reminded me to donate. I’m sorry that this is such a bad time for you.
I’m so sorry Heather. I’d be likely to be one of those people for the simple reason that I’m so anal about keeping my inbox cleaned out (!45000 kind of makes me freak out…..) that I log in to my work email on weekends and on vacation because it makes me tense to think about the email collecting! So I unsubscribe to uh, pretty much everything. In fact, unroll.me is like my best friend email service. Yes, I have issues….if only my life were as neat as my inbox.
Heath – I will speak on behalf of your heart and say that those people are beyond lame! Just delete the email. How hard is that? I am not a fan of the insensitivity. You know we will be there on Saturday in all of our purple. Love you sweetie! XOXO
I’m with you Heather – I can see exactly why this would completely suck even if it was ONE unsubscribe. Let’s hope for the sake of everyone that they were apps like unroll.me ??. I think about you, your family and Maddie often, and send my best to you all through the year. In fact, my teenager thinks I’m completely strange because of it ? – strike that, she’s a teenager, of course she thinks I’m strange!!
Please add me! I didn’t get an email. Thank you hugs to you and the family.
That is shitty. I would never think to do such a thing.
Yesterday, I dithered and worried about a similar type of situation as your initial email problem, and now I feel heartsick for doing so…what a trivial issue I had vs. your sweet Maddie.
All my love to you at this time of year especially.
I’ve never commented and I’ve read forever – but that is so shitty of them to do that. You have every right to feel like those people suck. Those of us who don’t suck wouldn’t mind getting emails like that. I’d much rather get an email asking for a donation for a fundraiser than to get an email asking me to buy rodan and fields, or whatever.
Love and hugs
Heather- I have also read forever and never commented (at least, I don’t think I have? but I felt like it’s important you know -and everyone else know – that’s insensitive, plain and simple. No need for me to give you the other side in this. You get it. You’re not saying you don’t. You’re saying it was hurtful at an especially difficult time. It’s the unfortunate world we live in that some don’t recognize the “personality” behind the blog is an actual human and deserves to be treated as such. Technology allows for this disconnect when we get lazy and forget there’s a person on the other side. Just want you to know, I love your courage and send you comfort during the rough patches. Thank you for always honestly sharing.
I have donated several times and didn’t get an email. Can you make sure I am on the list?
Girrrrl, I got you. On the 20th it was 3 years since I lost my brother and it’s aggravating to ask people to join my Fundraising team. It’s also weird to NOT have people send me a hi or see that no one visited him at the cemetery. Hugs, Heather. I’m so sorry not only for your loss but the gentle reminders that ugh, people moved on and don’t really care.
I would like to think that maybe they did not realize it was from you and just thought it was spam or a general email from mod asking for money??
This year we will walk for our daughter born last year at 34 weeks. Had it not been for me stumbling upon your blog years ago, I truly feel I would have felt so much more lost when she was born because I wouldn’t have known about March of Dimes and the resources available. We know we are lucky that she is healthy despite her early arrival, and on Sunday we will march in Chicago for Ellie, as well as Maddie, Ben, and countless other babies born too soon. ??
I’m just going to co-sign all of the above on the insensitivity of asking you to unsubscribe them. I will try to pollyanna it and assume it is an automated system, but now that makes me realize I can never use a system like that. I’ve been trying to reach out more directly (even if just via text) than relying simply on social media to update my family and friends. I’m so sorry about Maddie and I’m so sorry that I can’t make it better, but I will do what I can: please add me to your list.
I didn’t get the email either and would love the reminder to donate. I want to send money and have done off and on and I need to just make it ON. So add me and realize we still remember Maddie and I’m sorry for your heart hurt.
So sorry for this, Heather. I HOPE the person assumed it was an email automation and that you personally wouldn’t receive the response. Love and hugs. Remembering Madeline always. xox
Kim R says:
Hi Heather. You don’t know me, but I have been reading here for years. Your strength and dedication to sweet Maddie are an inspiration. I would love to donate to your walk, if you don’t mind sharing the link again.
Or, feel free to add me to your email list so that I can donate every year. Love to you and your family.
That must have felt like a punch to the gut. I’m so sorry. Hoping your heart can feel all the support and love sent your way, especially at this time of the year. You and Mike honor your beautiful Maddie so wonderfully. You truly are an inspiration.
Thinking of you guys. This sounds really difficult, would definitely feel like a punch in the gut.
On another note, if you want me to go through your inbox and get rid of your 145,000 unread messages, I’ll happily do it. I love inbox clean-up. Mine has….36 messages in it, TOTAL. #iknowi’mweird
I’m so sorry about these insensitive e-mails! I just wanted to let you know that I really appreciated getting the e-mail; I had been meaning to donate and just needed the reminder!
if it makes you feel better, i bet all those people also voted for trump, so you don’t need them anyways. xoxox
Hi Heather, I’m also a long-time reader, but have never commented. I swear I’m a decent human and I try to be good to most people, but it never would’ve crossed my mind that you would personally see those “unsubscribe” requests. I appreciate the reminder email because I need reminders for everything, but I’ve never once thought about where my “unsubscribe” requests go. I’ll be much more aware going forward, though! I’m so sorry this was so hurtful to you! xx
I was happy to get your email Heather, as I’m sure hundreds of others were. I’m so sorry – I can’t even imagine how badly that hurts.
Never unsubscribe me. Know that so many people got your email and were motivated to give again!! Remembering Maddie and wishing I had heard about you through a funny post or a great idea online. Maddie is still loved and remembered by so many because you were brave enough to tell us about her and brace enough to ask for support toward an incredible cause. Thank you for being brave!
As someone who struggles with these exact same issues every year, I just wanted to say thank you for writing about it. I always think that I must be the only one who feels this way and then I’m reminded that it’s not just overwhelming and difficult for me.
I’m sorry, I can’t even imagine how much it must hurt. They may not have realized you would personally see the request.
Those people are straight-up douchebags.
P.S. I donated in the past and the email probably went to my spam folder. Can you give a link to where people can donate? Thank you.
Confession: I feel incredibly guilty that I’ve never organized a group to attend a fundraising event for bereaved parent support or research to prevent stillbirth. I’m certainly capable. I think it’s important! It’s like I fear I just couldn’t do Eliza justice… I’m afraid people will say no. Putting your heart out there each year is brave and honorable. I wish people could understand that it’s not about the donation as much as it is the recognition. This organization matters. This research matters. These children’s lives matter. If only we could unsubscribe from the heartache.
I was actually really happy to get your email and just made a small donation. I only donated once, several years ago, and your email made me feel like my gift was still remembered and appreciated, even though I knew it was an automated system. Thank you for all you do for the March of Dimes. I know this will be a hard weekend for you and Mike, and you guys and Maddie and Annie and James are always in my thoughts.
I am horribly behind in my emails & had been saving the one from you titled “Unsubcribe” because I knew it was important…because I knew the time of year and how overwhelming that is. I would totally understand you wanting to unsubscribe from life for a while.
It never crossed my mind that it would be someone else saying that to you about the March for Maddie.
I know our heads can come up with a million and one excuses for such a rude and hurtful response, but my heart says, why should we? That’s just icky.
I wish I lived nearby and could help you with things like a new database for March for Maddie. I doubt you want all those names floating around in cyber space. What you need is an assistant who can help with this as well as a special email just for March for Maddie so someone else can help, read, and file away those hurtful “unsubscribe” responses.
(I’m great with coming up with ideas for other people’s lives! LOL)
I love you and wish life weren’t so damn painful, over and over again. XOXO
Months after the fact, I’m chiming in to say that I’m sure unsubscribe requests hurt. I’m sure it felt like a punch to the gut. That sucks.
I also don’t think it’s unreasonable that among the *thousands* of people who have walked or donated in the previous ten years, some think they’re on an automated mailing list and want to be disenrolled. It doesn’t make them heartless or douchebags. It makes them people whose inboxes are too full, people who have finite attention, people who were closer to you ten years ago than they are today, people who are subscribed under multiple email addresses, people who are focusing their advocacy/donations/action/attention on other causes at this stage of their lives. None of that is unreasonable, insensitive, or jerk-y as so many commenters call them.
I didn’t unsubscribe. But the judgment rolling in (from some of the community of commenters, not from Heather) is exactly the kind of thing that keeps people from giving their time/money/contact information. Changing priorities isn’t something someone should be berated over. Unsubscribing from an email list is not insensitive.
And I’m the mom of an extreme preemie, so I’m not saying this because I don’t care about the March of Dimes. I just don’t think those people owed anyone unending attention. They gave or walked at some point and are focused somewhere else right now. That’s okay. There’s plenty of causes out there that need time and attention and money and effort. I’m glad someone else has prioritized all kinds of things that I don’t have time or money to follow up on myself, despite know that they’re important.