I know that many of us have encountered rude people who said dumb shit throughout our TTC or pregnancy journeys, but sometimes it still catches me totally off guard.
For example, I was talking to my aunt last weekend. To give some context, she’s in her 60s, never married, no kids and lived with my grandmother until she passed away a few years ago. She’s from the Italian side of my family and they’ve always had some strong (and rather old-fashioned) opinions.
Our conversation started with her telling me about her 28-year-old god-daughter who got married last year. Then she says, “I told them they better have kids right away.”
Comments like that really irk me. It’s none of her business. Maybe they don’t want kids. Or maybe they do and they want to wait a bit. Or maybe they’re already trying. OR maybe they know they can’t have kids.
Before I could even respond to that, she continued on. “Because you know what can happen when people wait too long to have kids.”
WHAT?! Is she commenting on my miscarriage? Holy shit. She totally is.
I’ve never been good at coming up with witty responses on the spot but I did manage to say something like, “things like that can happen to anyone at anytime.” To which she replied, “yes, but…” and raised her eyebrows.
That is when I found an excuse to get up and walk away.
I know I probably should have educated her or at least pointed out how hurtful and disrespectful it is to make comments like that, but I really didn’t want to ruin my Thanksgiving weekend by getting into it with someone who would likely never be able to understand what I was talking about.
After she left the next day, I told D and my mom about it. They were both appalled, which helped confirm that my reaction was appropriate. (For a while, I feared that my pregnancy hormones were causing me to overreact).
I know that some people – especially those who have never struggled to conceive or who have never miscarried – may not always think about how the things they say may impact another person. But I don’t believe that you need to go through those struggles to be able to have compassion. I don’t always begrudge people asking if someone plans to have children. I know it often comes from a place of caring and true interest. However, to me, that’s different than offering “advice” like my aunt did. When I hear obnoxious comments like hers, I feel protective of those on the receiving end, even if I don’t know them. I know how much those kind of words can hurt.
I guess this was a good reminder to me that hurtful words can come from anyone at anytime, no matter how close they are to me or how unexpected. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have said those sorts of things even without the experiences that I’ve had, but I also know that I’ve become more careful over the past few years about the words I choose and the questions I ask. I’m going to work on standing up to people who say things that bother me so that, hopefully, they can learn from the situation.