Baby Blues brought up the issue of what to do with that hurt that was unacknowledged or unintended or unknown by the person who inflicted it – when do you confront, when do you make yourself vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt even more, but also to the possibility of potential healing of self and relationship, by bringing it up?
What it made me think of immediately was a brief conversation at a Memorial Day BBQ last year; we were 5 months into diagnosis for IF, trying to schedule an HSG, and of course there were lots of little kids at the picnic. I was feeling particularly unsociable that day, so when the kids wanted to play in the house I went in with them to be the “grownup” supervisor. The parents were quite grateful. I’d been around these kids regularly since before ttc so it didn’t really bother me; it was the newborns outside that I wanted to avoid.
So one of the dads comes in to change his daughter’s diaper and looks at me knitting while I arbitrate disputes over toys. “You should get yourself one of these,” he says, indicating his child.
Slightly stunned, I say “Uh, looks like a lot of work,” which OF COURSE doesn’t reflect AT ALL my actual feeling about the prospect, but it was the first thing I could think of to just deflect the comment. Pretend I don’t want one.
“Oh, but it’s totally worth it,” he continues. “You don’t mind the work at all.”
I grunt noncommitally and that’s the end of the conversation.
I fumed over this for MONTHS. I thought about calling him up, e-mailing, something, just to say, “Look, you just need to think before you say something like that to someone. You have no idea whether they may be trying or not. You have no business making blanket recommendations about whether and when someone should have children. Besides, it’s NONE OF YOUR F****ING BUSINESS!!!” But I never did. I just avoided that particular social group for about five or six months.
Funny thing, after I started interacting with them again, I found out that 2 other women in the group are struggling with IF, one primary and the other secondary. We have a little IF support group now among the 3 of us. Neither is the wife of the guy who made that inappropriately personal comment (she went on to have another baby last fall). It’s just frustrating. I do wish I were more like Mands and others who are out of the IF closet. It takes a lot of courage, but perhaps it would help make people think before they speak.
On the other hand, I’ve read so many posts about That Friend who just never, ever, seems to catch on, no matter how much one tries.