I received a comment on my 'Insensitive' post that I thought deserved a reply. I didn't have a way to reply to the poster specifically, so in hopes that she is reading- Amy, here is your reply! I hope you don't feel like I'm calling you out in anyway- I think your thoughts were well written and I can understand where you're coming from. I just feel like it is really important for me to put out there the feelings that so many of us face.
Amy writes (in black):
That's the thing though--some people really ARE clueless regarding what to say in those types of situations. It may have been insensitive, but it doesn't sound like she was purposely trying to be that way. (Agreed)
Like an earlier commenter said, I think trying to relate in some way is a natural human reaction. She probably doesn't know what to say but wanted to make you feel like you were not alone.The issue I have with this is, when does comparing situations EVER may anyone feel better? And for the record, I was alone, I was the only one who could go through that miscarriage, no one else was going to do it for me. I had to do it. Me. Alone.
As for the adoption question, maybe she really was sincerely asking? I think most of the time, people who ask that aren't saying it like "OMG here is the greatest idea you've never thought of!" I think people are generally interested in if that's something you've considered. It might come across as insensitive, but I don't think it's inherently meant to be so. Bottom line, it came too soon after the most heartbreaking loss we'd ever experienced. There is a time and place for everything- days after losing your baby is not the time to be asked about adoption. No one wants to think about another baby when they are still grieving the one they just lost.
Having never dealt with a situation such as yours, I find my typical response to this type of tragic event is "I'm so sorry." Is that wrong? Should I be saying something else? No, you are absolutely right to say you're sorry, and honestly I think that is a good place to leave it. You can tell a person you're there for them, and offer a meal or a shoulder if they are ready, but PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not tell them about your neighbor's sister's brother-in-law who it all worked out for- it is not the time. And no matter what works for someone else, it isn't going to change their situation. I tell people all the time, the best thing you can do for some who is suffering is meet them in the 'suck.' Don't try to dig them out of their pit of despair. Meet them there- be present.
I can't say that I wouldn't have thought to ask the very same questions she did--I think those types of questions are a natural reaction when you find out someone is having trouble conceiving. Maybe she honestly just wanted to know more about your situation and that's why she asked about adoption? Maybe she's secretly struggling herself & wanted to know what your thought process was? Again, timing is everything. Can we agree that if you just heard about someone's kidney cancer you wouldn't likely just say to them- well there's always donor kidneys. Sure you might eventually ask if that is a possibility, but hopefully in that moment you would just meet them in their heartache and not start throwing out 'fixes' right away.
This is going to sound like a huge generalization, but in my experience, it seems like people who struggle with infertility expect everyone else to immediately know how they should act, speak, and think about the situation. And as someone on the other side of that, that's not the case. Often, I see posts discussing how stupid "fertiles" are and bemoaning people who celebrate their pregnancies in natural, normal ways, and what jerks they are for doing so. The truth is, I DON'T know what to say. I DON'T know how to act. But I strive to be sensitive and understanding. I don't know that the infertile community thinks everyone should just know how to act around someone who is struggling, but I do think as a whole we expect people to at the very least think before they speak. Telling us that you'd gladly give us one of your children- not helpful. Telling us that we're "lucky" we are able to sleep in because we don't have kids- not helpful. Again, but being present as a friend/sister is the most comforting thing you can do. Google is a great resource- don't expect your friends or family who are going though IVF or the like, to explain the entire process to you. Knowledge is power, and it will feel great to the person that you're supporting if you've taken the initiative to find out what they are going though.
And yet, I still think if you are able to get pregnant, with the help of drugs or not, you deserve to celebrate that whole-heartedly. Absolutely!
I think sometimes that understanding and sensitivity that's wanted by people struggling with infertility could go both ways. I have to say, I think it does. Though I often vent about 'fertiles' on my personal blog as I would in a journal- more often than not I just allow the words and actions of others to just roll off my back. I get that there is absolutely NO WAY to understand the heartache if you've never been there. More importantly, people who are dealing with infertility are suffering from a DISEASE and grieving the loss of many things in the process. Theses individuals are likely not concerned about how THEIR infertility is making OTHERS feel.
I've posted this link before- and I'm posting it again because I think it is perfectly written.