Friday, March 25, 2011

I need a better response

I have a friend at work who is one of the nicest people ever. We hang out quite a bit, even outside of work, but we’re not incredibly close. But we talk. We’re part of a trivia group, so we’ve been meeting every week at a bar for about three years, playing trivia and drinking beer. There have been times over the last three years that I wouldn’t drink, and she has been suspicious. So I told her awhile ago that we were trying to get pregnant. And I told her last June that I was pregnant. And I told her last June that I lost my baby. And I told her again sometime that we were doing treatments. She’s always been nice, and supportive, but I could tell she didn’t quite understand.

She asked me earlier this week why I haven’t been coming to trivia, but the hubs has still been going. I told her because it was in a bar that allowed smoking, and I’m too tired – I’m not interested in going right now. She asked if I was pregnant, and I said yes – I’m certainly not going to lie to a direct question. She said congratulations, and I told her it was early, and too early to get excited about it yet, but thank you.

I just ran into her at the coffee bar, as we were both getting smoothies. (With strawberries and bananas – just about my only source of fruit right now…) As the smoothie machine was loudly processing, she asked me how I was feeling, I told her not very good, but that’s ok, thanks for asking. And then she started talking about how much my life was going to change, and how I had no idea how much work kids are, blah blah blah. Before I knew it, things were coming out of my mouth like she had no idea how long I’ve been trying to have a baby, or how many babies I’ve lost, so I really hope my life is going to change. And I started tearing up. She looked at me with horror on her face. I mumbled sorry, I’m just a little nervous as it’s early and I don’t want to lose the baby. We both tried to recover, and went on our way.

I know she was meaning well, she’s really such a sweet woman, but I didn’t want to hear how difficult it was to have a child. I haven’t told many people yet, and most of the people I’ve told understand my fear because they’ve been by my side throughout the process, but what about when I tell the rest of the people? I have to come up with something better to say than “you have no idea about the babies I’ve lost and how long we’ve been trying to have a baby!”

37 comments:

  1. Oh I am sorry about that, but on the other hand, I think she probably needs to think before she goes on a rant about kids. And I bet she will think before she does that again . . . to anyone!

    And an update on the hematoma, my doctor said, as long as the baby is still growing and moving and the fluid is still measuring well, they aren't that worried about it. They said that they will have to evaluate the plan if it is still there at 20 weeks, but between now and then, the only thing they want me to do differently is be very inactive, not lift anything heavy, no straining, and no sex.
    She said 90% go away within the first trimester, so maybe you will be one of those 90%!!!!

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  2. I know she probably meant well, but it is hard to know how to respond any other way when someone says something about how, shockingly, kids are hard!! I don't think what you said was too bad. It is definitely an understandable response.

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  3. Well, even though having to give that answer was probably REALLY hard, I agree with kkasun up there - I bet she'll never do that again. Maybe you've done another infertile a favor by saying it. :)

    My fingers are crossed for you girlie!

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  4. Oh how awful. First, please don't feel badly for your reaction and response. As if hearing from someone who has kids just how tough it is makes someone say, "oh really? Well, damn then, I'm glad I lost my baby!" Seriously, what did she expect?

    I'm also sorry that you tried to open up (as difficult as that is), only to hear this.

    I completely get it about the smoke. Some people think I'm nuts but I agree 100%!

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  5. Your response was fine. If people are going to give stupid unasked for advice, then they should be prepared for a response. Don't feel bad. =)

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  6. I don't know, do you really have to come up with something else to say? What you said is so true and straight from your heart and, I think, a very effective counter to what she threw at you. And again (again in my head), I wonder: WHY DO PEOPLE SAY THAT SHIT??? I mean, I know why. There's stuff going on for them. It's about what they're going through, not what we're going to go through. But I effing hate that "I know better, learn from my wisdom" attitude. Because here's the thing: it's all probably true. But who cares? They had kids anyway, we want kids anyway--what's the point? People do it with marriage, too. When they've been married longer than you, they love to do the "oh, you're still newlyweds--just wait--you're still in the honeymoon phase." Has always bugged the hell out of me. Now that we've hit five years, I don't hear that so much. But when we did, I always wanted to tell the person who had said (who was often considerably older than we were and just trying to be cute/funny, and so it wouldn't have been remotely appropriate) that, look, buddy, I'm sorry if you're not happy with the way your marriage turned out, but I'm actually very happy in mine. So suck it.

    Sorry, I'm kind of ranting. Maybe a useful thing to say to people would be: "So, did people say that to you when you were expecting?" And then either "How did it make you feel?" or "Did you find it helpful?" or "Did it change anything for you?" or "Do you wish they had?" Maybe it's just the day I'm having, but I think people should look in the mirror when they think they're being adorable and "helpful." Thank you, that is all. ;) xoxo

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  7. I also think your response was fine-- but you probably just don't want to go through that kind of emotional upheaval every time someone starts prattling on about how 'your life is going to change'. It IS super annoying. My response was to just smile and nod and say something vacuous like, "well, I'm sure I'll find out...". Luckily they shut up about it once you've been pregnant a little while, so you don't have to put up with it for long.

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  8. I can totally relate to ur post. Just the other day I told a friend (not a super close) about my recent m/c and upcoming FET. She pretty much just said good luck. Wish I could take it all back....I was raging with myself. She's a lovely person but just didn't understand.

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  9. I'm pregs right now, and I HATE when people tell me stuff. I completely agree with Pumpkin Lady.

    that said, I have a good friend who has been trying to conceive for years. I never know if its okay to ask her questions or if I should just disappear from her life to avoid making her sad. I started reading blogs to try to get some advice on how to proceed. is it better to stay quiet than to say something and risk sounding like your trivia friend?

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  10. womp. she totally ruined it. But i guess people tend to go into auto pilot on their baby small talk. I'm sure she had no idea she was being insensitive. But i cant say i wouldnt have reacted the same way you did.

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  11. I was just having a similar conversation with a friend last night about IF and the insensitive things well meaning people say or don't say. IF and pregnancy loss is so difficult for everyone to deal with (especially the person it happens to)and I believe that all of the clueless people in my life love me and do want what is best, but it is REALLY easy to say the wrong thing. As obnoxious as it was to hear, at least she is treating you as she would every other fertile woman.

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  12. Sometimes it's so hard to know how to respond to things...but know that whatever you say will be great AND appropriate.

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  13. I think your response was just fine. Another could be "I don't see how it could be any harder than getting/staying pregnant has been for me". Or "I know it will be hard and a lot of work. I can't wait."

    Most people don't get it. They either say dumb things or nothing. At least she cared enough to ask why you haven't been out, etc. Good luck in dealing with the rest of the fertile world!

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  14. It annoys the shit out of me how people think that we infertiles have NO IDEA that children require work. Like we live under a fuckin' rock or something. Thanks, Einstein, but I know that babies are a lot of work, now shut the fuck up. RPL and IVF are a lot of work too. I think your response is perfect. It's so true. Of course we are hoping our lives will change.

    Next time she gets a new haircut you should tell her how much work it is to keep up a new cut and style it well. Or if she buys a house you should just tell her she'll be up to her eyeballs in yardwork. Or if she gets a new job you should remind her that commuting sucks. Or if she gets a pedicure tell her it'll chip. Etc.

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  15. Well, on behalf of all the future pregnant women she will encounter, I want to say thank you. She won't be making that mistake again. I'm sorry that happened. People need to think before opening their mouths.

    I was talking to a friend this evening and she said something to me that I will try to do myself. It was "just be firm and direct with people when you tell them. Break the news and say clearly we've been trying for a long time and this has not been an easy journey for us so we'd appreciate if you didn't (and then insert whatever you don't want them to do or say)."

    OK, so you can't do that for every person on the street but you can be firm and let people know from word one that you're not interested in hearing their crap. Like you did with that coworker.

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  16. I've done that before. It happens when people catch you off guard. I always try to come up with a better response for future similar encounters too. Being prepared for those kinds of situations is what makes them easier to handle in the moment. I bet she feels pretty bad about saying anything to you too. But you know what? I say I hope she does, because then at least you have stopped one person (albeit ignorant) from speaking before they think. It just sucks it happened the way it did.

    This comment is coming from someone who had bad verbal diarrhea earlier this week too. lol

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  17. It seems like your friend's intentions were in the right place. She probably felt really bad..and maybe still does. I am so sorry you had that happen to you. Hugs:(

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  18. I don't know. This is a tough one. You could always say something like "I feel
    incredibly blessed to be pregnant after all the struggles I have been through and once I have the baby i'm sure I'll still be grateful, even in the tough times." I know this is hard and the further along you get there'll be more times like this one. I delayed telling as long as I could for that reason. Take care :)

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  19. I do think your response was ok. People just vomit up whatever words come to their minds first with no consideration to our feelings, so if she feels bad for a second because she realizes that was rude to say what she did so be it.

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  20. I'm so sorry, Alex. It really sucks when people don't understand and just start spouting off. I actually had someone tell me that pregnancy is overrated so adoption would be a good path for me. Ugh. I don't think you are the one that needs a different response. You have been through so much and are understandably scared right now. I'm just sorry that you have to worry. I can't wait for the day when you can breath a big sigh of relief and enjoy your pregnancy. (((hugs))).

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  21. Man, it's a tough spot to be in all around! I think your response was perfectly fine. I wish more people were aware and understanding. Hugs

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  22. I think your response was fine even if it did make her uncomfortable. Seems like I see many IF blogs where they are upset that someone is saying how hard kids are. SO if one woman is more sensitive that seems like a good thing to me.

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  23. I'm surprised women especially don't say something supportive right off the bat. Don't they realize we know our lives are about to change, and maybe just maybe we are welcoming that change? Like others said, she probably meant well, but sheesh...have some compassion!

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  24. Sweetie, you did the absolute right thing in telling her how you felt and all the rest. People need to realise it's not a straight forward thing getting pregnant, at least not for every one!! Thinking of you loads and now that I'm back I'll be better at commenting too!! Love, Fran

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  25. I like to think that the challenge of infertility is prepping me for the difficulties of parenthood. But that's my read on the situation, I won't know until I've been there, just like it's impossible for your friend to know exactly how difficult this journey has been up for you to this point, having probably not been through it herself. And it's hard to let people in to things that you have so many fears and anxieties about privately; for me, that's mainly because of the pain of people catching me off guard, or expressing their opinions or perspectives...at any rate, I'm sorry that you went through that and hope you are doing well.

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  26. I think she's an example of the mouth-on-autopilot-disengage-brain maneuver that people tend to do when talking about kids. And I agree with the commenters above - ain't nothing wrong with what you said. It was what you needed to say, and probably what she needed to hear. I certainly can see that you don't want to go through the whole emotional explanation every time someone says something stupid about your pregnancy. Would you be able to pull off something like "After several miscarriages, we're really hoping our lives are about to change this time!"?

    Anyway - good luck working out how to discuss things with people!

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  27. Is there a better response? Is there even a right one? I find that if I use "because infertility is a dirty whore" people tend to stop asking questions. Suppose in retrospect a boss isn't the one to say that too either.

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  28. I also don't think you should feel badly for your response. It's a very different thing to be pregnant after a loss, and while people mean well, they should also think a little bit before they speak.

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  29. I'm with everyone else on this -- you didn't say anything wrong. If you want to smooth things over anyway, you could share some of the thinking from your post and the comments here.

    I like TeamBabyCEO's comment that the challenge of infertility is prepping her for the difficulties of parenthood.

    *hugs*

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  30. I think your response was fine. When friends complain about babies keeping them up at night, how much work they are, etc I just say it all sounds great to me!

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  31. Well, she did ask you how you were feeling, and she did start talking about kids, and like it's a given you're going to end up with a child every time you get a BFP. To top it off, it sounded to me like she was trying to tell you that having kids is not so grand, and that even if you don't make it, you shouldn't be in pain, because after all: "kids are hard work".

    I think your response was valid under that circumstance. I'm not sure exactly what's troubling you here. My opinion is that you shouldn't have to hide the fact that you're too scared to even think about being happy, based on your prior experiences.

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  32. Oh, I'm sorry situations like this happen, when people say insensitive things. I think she needed to hear what you said, and what you said was a perfectly fine option for responding to the stupid things friends sometimes say. I hope you never have to field those statements or questions again, but it sounds like you have some ideas for how to be prepared for them if they come up again.

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  33. I think your response was absolutely valid! I have totally broken down in tears unexpectedly when the topic of pregnancy/miscarriage comes up. But I hear you that you want to have something planned to say when you don't want to make yourself vulnerable. Also, anyone who tells you that kids are hard work deserves a punch in throat.

    Wishing you all the best with this pregnancy!

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  34. Hang in there Alex!
    I know what you mean - well I think I do anyway - sometimes you don't want to tell people all of the details, but you don't want to listen to them not understanding you. It's awkward. I wish I had a solution - for all of us.
    I'm really hoping this baby sticks around!

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  35. So glad to hear everything is going so well!
    I'm sorry but she should have known better. She deserved to hear whatever you had to say to her!

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  36. conceptionally challengedMarch 29, 2011 at 1:13 PM

    Yes, being told how tough it is to have a child is great, when you're struggling so hard with getting there in the first place... I'm afraid of those conversations too. No advice though... Hang in there. I'm hoping so very much that this will work out for you, and that you get to discover next year how hard it is to have an actual life baby at home :)

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  37. People really need to think about what they are saying before they say it. I understand your want for a "better" response, but I think your response was just fine. It was honest and real. I have inadvertently given a few people some "wake up call" responses myself in the past few months.

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