The Christmas catch ups have begun. We were more social the weekend past than we have been all year. I’m not good at small talk to begin with, my hubby is a master at it. When I’m not around my real friends everyone thinks I am shy and quiet. Any way the two get togethers on the weekend were the start of many to come.
I have been getting in a lot of practise talking about C and my experience, I have been putting myself out there, I have been volunteering at an organisation for pregnancy loss support, meeting other women and hearing their stories, I have been reading a lot of blogs and seeing the common things we all experience but also the differences between our own personal circumstances.
First party – Kids.Every.Where. I predicted the question that would come – “Do you have kids?”. My hubby said “Nnnn”, he was going to say no, but I interrupted with “yes, one girl, she was stillborn in July”. Everyone at this party I must say was really good, every time I got, “I’m so sorry” and honest responses. It was good for my hubby to see that you can talk about C without awkwardness.
Next party – family. Many I had not seen since C was born. Here I’m going to say congratulations to the men. Giving me a big long hug and looking me in the eye and asking me truly “how are you?” says more than the crud that others blather out.
But then there is the well meaning woman, who has no children, has never tried to actually get pregnant. I can predict the question I will get here “So are you trying again?”
and here it comes……….
my response “Well yes we are having lots of sex, but it is not always as simple as that’. As she collected herself in a wave of uncomfortable laughter, I thought I would push on before she came out with the cliches I knew were coming. “I’ve had two early losses since, so it has been hard, but found a good doctor………” And then I got interrupted, she had collected herself and began the verbal diarrhoea about all the women she knows who have been through this.
All of us who have experienced pregnancy loss know what I’m talking about. I can see it coming now. I think people start to feel uncomfortable about the topic so think they are making you feel better by telling you about all these other people’s stories? But really I am trying to tell you my story, because you asked me. What would make me feel better is not hearing about the woman who had 9 miscarriages before she had a baby, I’ve only had 3 and don’t want to think about having 6 more before I can expect a baby. I would rather you listen to me about me, because I know that unless you have experienced it, you have no idea what it is like and rehashing someone else’s tale does not increase your empathy or make my grief less it usually just leads to that awful cliche…………………and BAM there it is
“It’s just nature, isn’t it”
In my head I was thinking, you just dismissed my child, my losses and your apparent friends losses and struggles with infertility, who in your own words was devastated. You just dismissed that with what equates to “Shit happens”.
But to say this would be rude – ironic isn’t it? Their not rude for being so hurtful but I would be if I corrected them.
At this point I just blatantly changed the subject. I was actually having a lovely weekend and I didn’t want to get upset by someone who in all honesty will not understand anyway.
Thinking on it last night though, it just makes me mad, those cliches. I see them as a lazy person’s response.
“It’s just nature, isn’t it” actually means “I have no idea about what really goes on and don’t want to know, as it wont happen to me”
“Better to happen now than later” actually means “I don’t care……..at all”
“Everything happens for a reason” actually means “Everything happens to you for a reason, nothing like this will happen to me, these things happen to other people”
“Well you can just try again” actually means “Why can’t you just get over it and get another one, because I still work under the assumption that getting knocked up is easy and if you didn’t give birth to a live baby you can’t possibly have any connection to it”.
“Don’t worry I’m sure you will have lots of kids” actually means “I hope you get pregnant again soon so you will stop going on about something that doesn’t even mean anything”
“I know how you feel” actually means “I have no idea how you feel but it makes me feel uncomfortable thinking about it, so maybe if I show what I consider to be empathy you will stop talking about it and I can stop feeling uncomfortable”.
“It could have been worse” actually means “You’re making a big deal out of nothing, get over it”
“All you need is time to get over this” actually means “You will forget your child soon enough and I’d prefer it to be in a designated time frame that I assign to your grief”
“It wasn’t meant to be” actually means “I have no understanding of this and I wish you would move on”
I’m sure there are more, I will probably hear them over this Christmas time. I hope I find the strength to correct people in the kindest way I can, because to be honest I really have to bite my tongue not to come out with a sarcastic comment that most often will actually mean
“Are you seriously that stupid and insensitive?”