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AIBU to object to DF referring to their baby as... (TRIGGER WARNING: CONCERNS DOWNS AND ABORTION)

(32 Posts)
SadandConflicted Thu 11-Oct-18 14:15:56

AIBU to object to my DF (friend) referring to her baby as 'dead baby'?

Her baby was diagnosed a few weeks ago with DS and, as you can probably tell by the thread title, has decided to abort (but hasn't yet) and keeps referring to the baby as 'dead'.

I'm in bits for her, I can't imagine what she is/ about to go through, and trying to be as supportive as I can but I'm finding it really difficult when she keeps using these words.

This friend unfortunately has form for deliberately making outrageous statements, but I do wonder whether on this occasion there's more to it and perhaps she is subconsciously trying to ready herself for what is about to come.

I think one (minor) reason why I'm finding it difficult is because her decision conflicts with what I believe mine would be however, I appreciate not everybody has the same circumstamces in life or feels the same but everyone absolutely has the right to choose.

I'm trying so hard to be understanding but I nearly lost my own baby, post birth, not long ago and I'm finding her choice of words quite provocative and triggering of a time when I thought I was going to have to go through the trauma of telling everyone I knew that my new born baby had actually died. Unfortunately I've had quite bad PTSD following this time and although my friend is aware of these struggles I know it's not going to be on the top of her mind at the moment and I certainly don't want to turn things round and make it all about me.

Can anyone help/ give me some advice? I want to be as supportive as possible but I'm really struggling with this and I don't want to be a bad friend at such a sensitive time.

-I am so sorry to anyone who has been through anything similar to what has been mentioned in this post.-

EwItsAHooman Thu 11-Oct-18 14:21:49

I think all you can do in this situation is grit your teeth, swallow down your own feelings, and be there for her. If you say anything, no matter how sensitively you might phrase it, you'll always be that person who said such-and-such when she was at a low point in her life. I remember every awkward thing said to me wheni had my miscarriages, no matter how well meaning. It sounds like she's trying to distance herself from what's about to happen by thinking of the baby as already gone, I really feel for her as it's such a sad situation.

astoundedgoat Thu 11-Oct-18 14:23:47

That's horrific. If she is determined to terminate though, why is she waiting several weeks? Is she not comfortable with her choice, perhaps, and using such emotive language to, I don't know... prod herself along? In her position I think I might make the same decision, but I can't imagine drawing it out for weeks and weeks, carrying a living, (broadly) healthy child.

I think that there is probably more to it, because I can't imagine that anybody would behave as your friend is otherwise.

Tinty Thu 11-Oct-18 14:24:33

Gosh that is incredibly sad, not that she has a baby with DS but her reaction to the diagnosis maybe it is the only way she can cope with it. Maybe she is just very insensitive and has just checked out of the pregnancy and it is the only way she can cope by pretending the baby has died.

You should probably see about some counselling for yourself as it sounds like you have had a really difficult time. I hope your baby is ok now.

ADastardlyThing Thu 11-Oct-18 14:26:04

My advice would be to remember your own words "I can't imagine what she is/ about to go through"

She's already started her own unique grief process. It might not be your or my approach but if detaching from it all helps her, the most important person in this process, then as a friend I think you should keep your thoughts to yourself. Even if in months to come she says she regrets using that terminology.

ChesterBelloc Thu 11-Oct-18 14:30:33

Has she had sufficient counselling regarding her decision? Her terminology could be interpreted as a form of denial about the fact that she is making a choice to end her baby's life, speaking about it as if it had died already from natural causes...

If she is in denial/can't process what she's about to do/has conflicting feelings about it, it would be much better to start dealing with that now, certainly before she does something irrevocable that she may live to regret.

ManyCrisps Thu 11-Oct-18 14:32:52

I can’t blame her raising a child with Down syndrome would be incredibly hard and would add lots of stress to her life.

BananaBonanza Thu 11-Oct-18 14:34:59

It's the time to leave your judgement at the door.

Black humour can be a way of dealing with the unthinkable.

Doesnt help you though

But you can say that what you've been through and the language she's using makes you the wrong person to support right now. As long as there are others to pick up the slack, fading into the background can sometimes be the best thing for all involved

EwItsAHooman Thu 11-Oct-18 14:36:05

If she is determined to terminate though, why is she waiting several weeks?

Some areas have waiting lists and it can take several weeks to get the appointment.

BluePheasant Thu 11-Oct-18 14:39:00

It’s her coping mechanism and no doubt she is going through hell inside but it’s ok to tell her that words she is using is distressing to you due to what you went through. She probably just isn’t thinking.

SadandConflicted Thu 11-Oct-18 14:42:07

Thanks to all who have replied so far.

I wouldn't dream of telling her how her choice of words make me feel, as upsetting as it is to me, it's not the time to be splitting hairs over words.

I agree, she is definitely trying to distance herself from everything.

Can anyone recommend any counselling support that I can suggest to her and maybe her partner? Should I contact our local HV team and ask them?

-Thank you, my baby has had months of tests and has a few small developmental delays but is otherwise healthy, I'm very lucky. -

SadandConflicted Thu 11-Oct-18 14:44:27

Yes, to add, she's not waiting out of choice, I'm afraid she's on a waiting list sad

CuriousaboutSamphire Thu 11-Oct-18 14:45:41

I do wonder whether on this occasion there's more to it and perhaps she is subconsciously trying to ready herself for what is about to come. Nothing sub conscious about it. She is deliberately, probably with much forethought, heartache and tears, made a very difficult decision and is using words to support herself in doing so.

At this moment in time she isn't going to be able to give your recent history a single thought and you must allow that! You have your grief and your coping mechanisms, she has hers. Neither are wrong and both can be as selfish as they need to be.

You need to do what is best for you, with as little negative impact on her as possible.

Good luck!

BabySharkAteMyHamster Thu 11-Oct-18 14:50:52

The impactbon her mental health will be immense. It sounds like she isnt coping and is distancing herself.

That said your own MH is precious, if it's affecting you then it's entirely ok to be supportive from a distance.

MatildaTheCat Thu 11-Oct-18 14:55:31

Ask if she has had any support and have a look at ARC, an amazing charity

Waiting several weeks is extremely unusual. I would suspect she is conflicted and using the language to convince herself that she will have a termination whilst being unwilling to actually do so.

That’s very, very tough. Whatever she does she will need a shed load of support. Try to see behind the words and just be there for her.

ChelleDawg2020 Thu 11-Oct-18 15:06:17

It's tough on you but you have to allow her to grieve in her own way. She was presumably overjoyed to become pregnant, and has had her happiness stolen by the cruelty of disease.

Whether or not you'd do the same in her situation (I would), and regardless of your own experience, she needs to deal with her despair in her own way. Terming her baby as "dead" is an encouraging sign that she is already starting to move on with her life, a life without the child she hoped to be able to have.

I'm in no way trying to minimise your own feelings - they are every bit as valid as those of your friend. But just as your own recent issues are real, so are hers, and everyone deals with things differently.

Loonoon Thu 11-Oct-18 15:07:58

It’s an awful situation and I would imagine her using that seemingly harsh and heartless term is an effort to prepare for her forthcoming loss, an attempt to disassociate from and maybe even deny the grief (and possibly guilt) she is feeling.

You sound like a good friend, all you can do is support her and you know that already. I think you could also do with some support yourself to help you through your own issues.

blackcat86 Thu 11-Oct-18 15:15:01

OP I've had a similar experience and may have a slightly different view. I think it's absolutely acceptable to ask her to stop using the term 'dead baby' if you find it triggering. My dd is 8 weeks and sometimes I still find myself mentally back in special care. She will likely not understand what you went through because most people don't. She may see the baby you have now but forget the fight you had to get there and the lasting impact on you. My df has just had the all clear after concerns were raised that her baby had downs. She would make comments about how she didn't see how anyone could do medical tests on a baby because it was barbaric etc. In the end I lost my shit which I'm not proud of having supported her for several weeks. It brought back a lot for me and highlighted a disparity in our friendship. I realised that I didn't feel that she was there for me when I was going through a horrific situation but wrote it off as she'd had a very early miscarriage the year before. My heart breaks for her but I wish id kept my own boundaries in the friendship as well rather than always putting her first. Friendships should be reciprocal,.respectful and supportive of each other.

overagain Thu 11-Oct-18 15:16:23

Awful decision to have to make. I can understand why she is acting like she is. Different people react differently and you think you wouldn't react like her, and may in deed not do. But how she is reacting (her use of language, her choice, her behaviour), isn't wrong, just different.

SadandConflicted Thu 11-Oct-18 15:36:12

Thank you for sharing blackcat86, yes they do sound like very similar circumstances and I agree that she doesn't/ didn't appreciate what we went through.
My friend was pregnant at the time (got pregnant again almost immediately) and I remember her sending me scan pictures and videos of her baby on the day mine was waiting to have an ultrasound and MRI scan to check for brain damage. She was complaining about not being given long enough and wanting certain details faster and I told her she should be grateful she had a healthy baby. As a result she blocked me for 2 days, has never apologised but has bitched behind my back about how difficult I was to talk to at the time confused

The relationship is definitely not balanced but I'm trying to remember how unsupported I felt back then and be more conscientious. I don't think she meant to be malicious then and she certainly doesn't now, she just gets wrapped up in things sometimes but at the moment I feel she's allowed to be.

SirVixofVixHall Thu 11-Oct-18 16:32:03

Op based on your last post she sounds incredibly insensitive and not very kind. Do you really want to stay friends ? How old is she ?

FlowThroughIt Thu 11-Oct-18 16:35:47


FlowThroughIt Thu 11-Oct-18 16:36:07

Sorry phone was being wonky.

FlowThroughIt Thu 11-Oct-18 16:39:25

She has made a very difficult decision and has to wait weeks to follow through with it, no wonder she is trying to disassociate from the situation and the pain that comes with it.

It's probably much easier to think of it as already dead.

Even though you've said you don't want to make this about kind of are anyway. Just back away from the situation if you can't cope with it. You're not her counsellor and it doesn't sound like you're emotionally able to support her as a friend right now either.

Areyoufree Thu 11-Oct-18 16:44:22

But you can say that what you've been through and the language she's using makes you the wrong person to support right now. As long as there are others to pick up the slack, fading into the background can sometimes be the best thing for all involved

I agree with this. What a hellish situation - I am so sorry for your loss. You need to be able to grieve for your child, and this seems too much to take on right now. Utterly heartbreaking for everyone.

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