Sunday, August 17, 2008

I was "That Woman"

We all discuss things that fertiles should NOT say to someone struggling with infertility, we discuss things that pregnant women should not say to the world at large, we discuss what not to say to a woman who is pregnant after infertility/losses. Last night, I was THAT WOMAN that spoke to a woman insensitively and I am embarrassed that I did what I did.

We had a birthday party invite, and it took DH 2 days to convince me that we should go for the party because it would be a change for us. (Of course the voice messages from the host announcing that they would move the venue of the party to our house if we didn't show up did its bit in the coercion process!)

One of the first few people we saw at the party was a 4-5 month pregnant woman, who we don't know. My first reaction was panic, and my eyes searched around the room, and met DH's eyes, and he completely understood my panic so he came stood with me for a bit. My second reaction was just to ignore the woman completely. 

It didn't help that while I was "ignoring" one pregnant woman, another woman with a little child walked up to me and asked me if I had children. I said no, and she said "Oh, not yet? Good for you! Enjoy your time without kids - once they come along life becomes very difficult". I smiled and walked away. 

Then I proceeded to have a couple of drinks, and felt like I should act "normal" and not ignore people. And that's when I became the insensitive person we all talk about and hate. I asked the pregnant woman her EDD. Then I asked her if she knows if she's having a boy or a girl. She told me she was going to find out this week. I asked her if she sensed or could guess what she was having, and she said she had no idea. 

About an hour later, I saw her sitting by herself, and she asked me to come sit with her. She asked me if I was married, and how long I was married. Then the "Do you have children" part started. I told her it was a sore point, and that no, we don't have kids yet, and we've lost 3 pregnancies. She told me she was married for 10 years, and she had a couple of miscarriages earlier, also had done IVF, which didn't work, and then they got pregnant naturally, and she really hopes things go well. Then she said "I don't remember who it was, but someone was asking me a short while ago if I knew whether I was having a boy or a girl, and whether I wanted a boy or a girl. It really made me mad, can't people understand that all I want is a healthy baby, and a pregnancy that sticks and things go fine"

I was so guilty of being that person. Of course I told her it was me, and told her I was really sorry. But I kept thinking that I had behaved like the person we all complain to each other about, and that makes me feel so so bad! I was just agitated that she was pregnant and I was not, and didn't once think that she could have had a long journey getting where she is!

I don't know if she really didn't remember who had asked her that question, or if she was being smart and putting her point across to me such that I'd get it. Whatever it was - I'm guilty! :-(


Jewels said...

I'm guilty, of many "that woman" things actually, I know what its like to have a preference of gender but to want a healthy baby, and I know what its like to have it turn into just wanting a healthy baby, however I do think it can be quite normal to ask that question when your just trying not to stick out like a sore IF thumb, I was at my family reunion this weekend in the only way I could feel like I was happy for my cousins daughter who I pregnant and due 1 mo before I was supposed to be due, was to ask her the typical question, Its to sensitive and kind of creepy for me to go around asking "so, how did you get pregnant?", I can just imagine the looks from the family, so I just asked her "Any feelings on what your having?" As I smiled through my gritted teeth trying not to cry for my self.

Darya said...

Well at least you recognized, came clean, and apologized. I know you didn't mean it just like those closest to us don't mean it when they say these things to us.

By posting this you made me realize that I owe a very dear friend an apology. She TTC for several years and has decided to adopt. She told me this several months ago and back then- I was kind of ignorant on the subject so I actually said 'maybe now you will get pregnant just like they say'. She just chuckled and changed the subject. I know now that it was a stupid comment and I must have hurt her. I will give her a call this week and say I'm thanks for sharing this.

Kymberli said...

Yeah - a few months back I posted of a somewhat similar experience. I inadvertently triggered a flood of tears from a coworker who I had no clue was struggling to live child-free. Yeah - it was bad and I felt like shit. I think that just because we're infertiles it doesn't make us unable to slip and make missteps. The difference is that we don't make as many, when we do it's on accident, and then we can make amends and try to rectify the situations instead of just letting it slide the way that so many have done with us.

Earl Gearl said...

I think we are all guilty of being insensitive to someone about more than just IF. You're not alone!

Jackie said...

You make a great point. I need to join the club! I've made my share of innocent offensive comments. We all have things that we are sensitive about. The truth is, when you are getting to know someone, you just don't know what those things are. Is this our lesson in tolerance for the day or what?? You did the right thing by circling back, and THAT'S what counts. More importantly, that's our lesson in humility for the day.

heavenlytini said...

you're not alone i just asked my co worker that the other day she said she was finding out at the end of the week. fortunately she didn't mind she was asking me what i thought she was having i thought it was a girl and of course it ended up being a boy. but she had no hard feelings.
i think i can be a little insensitive also mainly out of envy that someone has want i want so desperately. i've recently caught myself saying wow you're gonna have a big baby and i'm thinking she probably thinks i'm calling her fat!!!
and i think she was being smart with you she remembered u asked that lol