Someone Listened

The other day I found myself in a group conversation about someone else’s fertility.  Not that it makes it any better, but the person who was being discussed wasn’t in the room.  (Yes, everyone was gossiping behind their back, as people seem to do all too often).

Needless to say, after five losses of my own, these are the types of conversations I try to avoid because I know just how hurtful it is to have people continually ask about your childbearing plans while actively going through losses and visiting infertility specialists.  I now what it’s like to run to the bathroom and hide as tears stream down my cheeks.  I know what it’s like to schedule my entire life around medical appointments.  I know what it’s like to go through multiple invasive medical procedures and return to work and “normal” social activities sometimes that same day. I know the hidden loss of dreams and hopes that comes along with the loss of a baby and the loss of your presumed parenthood.  I know what it’s like to be the one people talk about because she really should have had kids by now.   I know just how hard infertility and pregnancy loss are, and so I never engage in conversations about other peoples family planning.

Anyways, while the conversation was unfolding, someone in the conversation simply stated, while looking at me,

After knowing what Mrs. MPB went through, I’ll never again ask someone or pressure someone to talk about their plans for children.  I realize now just how hard those conversations can be when things aren’t going according to plan.  

I can honestly say I was shocked when she said this because I realized that she learned from our experience.  The person who made this statement will never understand what it’s like to loose multiple pregnancies as she is the mother to a couple healthy children, but as she spoke I appreciated realizing that she did learn something from our experience.  And she’s actively trying to be more compassionate.

I was rather quite prior to her statement, but felt I should probably speak up as I was clearly drawn into the conversation.  I responded simply,

Yes, it can be incredibly invasive and insensitive to ask such personal questions about someone’s fertility.  It’s the reason that I never ask about anyone’s future plans to have children or not.  I figure it’s a personal decision that people will talk about when and if they want to. 

Needless to say that conversation ended as everyone moved onto something much less awkward.

As for me, all I was left think is that plain and simply, infertility sucks.  I desperately wish more people could be more compassionate and supportive of those going through infertility.  I also desperately wish that more people would realize that even if you one day someone going through infertility finds their way to a child (as we did via open adoption) the hurt of the losses, both figurative and literal, never goes away.  The insensitive things people say, are never forgotten.  And so today I’m thankful that if nothing else, at least one person has learned from our experiences.

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12 Comments on “Someone Listened

  1. That’s lovely. It’s wonderful to see that your painful experience has had the silver lining of fueling someone else’s compassion. It doesn’t make up for what you’ve been through, of course, but at least it means that your pain has made someone else more thoughtful and less likely to inadvertently inflict pain on others.

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    • Yes and as jwhitworth pointed out, this is actually very similar to your recent experience with your students as it was also a simple point of education without sharing all the intimate details. And hopefully more people will learn from these things!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This reminds me of Lyra’s post. It is nice to know someone has learned from your experience that this is a highly sensitive subject and you have helped them realize that. I can’t help but think about how this persons experience may help to save other people from feeling those horrible feelings when asked about children. Thank you for continuing to share your story!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, your right it is the same idea as lyra’s post! It’s these small things in our interactions that have the potential to leave a lasting impact. And I think both our experiences show that even without sharing the intimate details people can still learn. Which is definitly a good thing!

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  3. This is the epitome of being an ally. This is why it’s so, so vital for those who don’t have to deal with a difficult or painful situation to step up, so those carrying the heavy load don’t have to also be the constant educator. I’m so glad she was able to do that today.

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  4. This is inspiring. Having the guts to share your struggle has such a ripple affect. Love you.

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  5. That is so awesome that your experience did affect one person (or maybe more that you don’t know about). People are so damn nosy and quick to put their noses in other people’s business, it drives me crazy. And I still remember some of the comments that were made while going thru that horrible time, and it still hurts. I guess it’s up to us to educate the people we can, to save someone else from the hurt and heartache we went thru from people’s unwanted opinions, suggestions, “words of wisdom or advice”, questions, etc. sigh

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  6. This is fantastic to hear that someone is able to remember the hurt you’ve gone through and they were compassionate about it. I’m glad to hear this!

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  7. This post makes me smile big. This is why I write and why I’m so open to these conversations. It gives me warm fuzzies to see people have a change of heart and change the conversation. Woo hoo! Go MPB!

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  8. It gives me hope that there are more listening ears and hearts out there, who just might have a similar response if found in a similar situation.

    Great to be in your Space once again…👍

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