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People can be so bloody thoughtless

(41 Posts)
PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 18:59:06

Sorry, I just need to have a rant about how thoughtless and tactless people can be.

I can't have children any time soon, and possibly ever, due to some health issues. Two people (both of whom have kids) have upset me with their stupid comments lately. I'll get over it but need to have a grumble.

The first was at my table at a safeguarding training day. She asked if I had kids. I said no. She said: "Lucky you!"

The second is a friend of a friend who I met the other day. She asked if I had kids. I said no. She said "Oh, that's nice." I said "Well no, it's not as it's due to health problems." Then felt bad for making her feel awkward.

I just needed to vent, sorry.

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:00:24

"That must be nice," even.

ragged Sat 02-May-15 19:10:52

It's just throw away words, chitchat. Lots of people are very happy to be childfree and might be quite annoyed if it were assumed that they minded not having kids.

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:12:43

But surely you don't assume either way?

I don't really need an explanation, I get why people do it, I'm just upset.

ScrambedEggAndToast Sat 02-May-15 19:14:24

But people don't know the background to your situation. I have a son and am a single parent, it's completely relentless and my ex doesn't help in the slightest. Barely even hear from him. Having a couple of childfree days would sound like bliss occasionally when things are getting on top of me!!

ragged Sat 02-May-15 19:14:43

Sorry. It's just a daft opinion. flowers

snozzlemaid Sat 02-May-15 19:19:30

What do you feel is the correct response for these people who don't know you and have just learnt you don't have children.

dollywobbles Sat 02-May-15 19:20:18

You're totally justified in feeling that way, OP.
I heard so many similar comments when we were ttc, and every one of them got me down. Even though I knew it was just 'chit chat'.
I don't think people consider what the reasons might be behind someone being childless. I think the norm is to try for a baby, get pregnant and have baby. It's not the norm to try for a baby, not ever get pregnant (or have losses) and not have a baby. It's unusual and if people haven't experienced it, it's not something they consider.
I had about 8 years of these comments, before I had my son, and I still feel how much they hurt when I think back.
It's shit. Not being able to have a baby is shit. All consuming misery. And throwaway comments may not be intended to hurt, but that doesn't mean they won't.
All the best for the future, OP.

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:22:46

This is the infertility section of Talk. I came here wanting to talk about how upsetting it is when people say these things. I thought people on this section might empathise. Boy was I wrong.

Scrambed I really don't need to hear about how you have a child and would like a child free day. Sorry. This isn't the place for it.

snozzlemaid the correct response is to nod, or say "oh right," and not make assumptions. It is possible to learn new information about people without telling them how they must feel about it...

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:23:46

dolly thanks for your reply, the other responses have really upset me and was about to hide the thread.

I stupidly thought this bit of MN wouldn't be frequented by people making comments like Scrambed.

dollywobbles Sat 02-May-15 19:25:39

Totally agree, the correct response is to change the subject. There is no other appropriate response. If someone chooses to discuss it further, fair enough, but the level of pain that you feel when you're battling infertility isn't helped by platitudes.

dollywobbles Sat 02-May-15 19:28:40

They've upset me for you, Peppermint.
It's raw, isn't it? That pain you have. Hideous. And when the subject comes up, however innocently, it's there - burning away. I'm so sorry. I hope you can find peace with it.

Kewcumber Sat 02-May-15 19:30:19

It is shit Peppermint and posting in the infertility section I get that you thought you could just vent about it without being told that people with children do want some time off.

Do they say this to people who's children have died?! "Oh I'd love a day off"

It isn;t a fucking day off it's a lifetime of dreams and expectations which have just fucked off to the back of beyond.

I now have an (adopted) DS and I never say to someone who doesn't have children that it must be "nice" because surely any fool must be able to imagine that the situation might not be of your choosing.

Snozzlemaid on the very rare occasion when I have asked if someone has children to be told they hadn't my normal response is "I don't know why I asked really, I'm just being nosy"

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:31:31

Thanks dolly, and ragged for the flowers. Just I never ever make assumptions about why people don't have kids or if they're trying. Being considerate isn't rocket science.

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:33:54

Kew that's an excellent response, will use it myself if it arises.

I really thought this section would be somewhere people with kids (who aren't coping with secondary infertility) would perhaps tiptoe away.

I will never have the family I imagined at the age I imagined. I don't get a day off from that.

Stillyummy Sat 02-May-15 19:38:29

This used to really hurt me. Also I didn't want to see babies in my office ect as I found it upsetting, everyone assumed I hate children! So then when I did get pregnant (after 5 years) people asked if it was planned! Cheeky buggers.

I am sorry people are so thoughtless but people assume everyone is like them I guess and don't think about others journey.


merricat Sat 02-May-15 19:41:47

Wow, some of these comments are awful, some people really have a hard time with empathy.

So sorry you're feeling upset PeppermintCrayon, I know the pain of what you're describing very well. Comments I've got about how great my lie-ins must be and how peaceful my house must be and how many great holidays I must go on are stupid, thoughtless, and hollow. Don't feel bad for making anyone feel awkward - you haven't done anything wrong. As women of apparently childbearing age, getting asked if we have kids is something that comes up a hell of a lot (strangely, men don't get asked as much...). Sometimes I brush it off. Yesterday I said that I've just had a failed IVF cycle. It turned out that the person who asked had been trying for a year themselves and was worried, so a bit of an actually meaningful conversation developed.

Take care of yourself. This whole 'journey' (yuck) is a very bruising one, and being kind to ourselves is basically all we can do flowers

Kewcumber Sat 02-May-15 19:44:17

Being charitable, people don't notice what section its in sometimes if they click through from active. I can't tell you some of the mind-numbing advice that has been peddled on the Adoption boards because someone thinks they're advising on say a normal 5 year old attending a run of the mill birthday party.!

And it's a good response because its usually true!

merricat Sat 02-May-15 19:45:49

Sorry Stillyummy, but 'yuck' comment about the word journey was not directed at you, we crossposted! I was just being my usual sarcastic self, and that was bad timing.

Kewcumber Sat 02-May-15 19:46:40

WHen DS came to visit me in hospital one of the batty old ladies on the ward looked at him suspiciously (he's ethnically central asian) and said to me "DId you want him?" in front of him.

Oh yes I said gaile

"NO, I mean was he planned"

"Oh yes VERY planned"

Nosy old cow but as DS aged 3 was within ear shot I couldn;t say that!

LilQueenie Sat 02-May-15 19:46:45

since when was "not knowing someones situation" an excuse for flippant chit chat. I've been in the same situation and quite simply tell them straight. It was hard at first but why should we feel like we need to keep it to our selves. I was lucky enough to eventually have our DD but the comments keep coming and I cant have more. Its not only insensitive but ignorant.

merricat Sat 02-May-15 19:47:31

*my yuck comment, not but. This is going well.

PeppermintCrayon Sat 02-May-15 19:47:33

Kew true although Active does show the name of the section. But honestly it's like posting on a thread about being in a wheelchair and saying you sometimes fancy a sitdown.

merricat I'm so sorry to hear about your IVF not working.

Thanks folks flowers

merricat Sat 02-May-15 19:50:48

Kew that's horrendous, what a spiteful old cow she was. That is off the scale rudeness.

In fairness a lot of people don't read what section the thread is in, just the title.

However, I agree people are so insensitive. I'm fortunate to havr never encountered issues conceiving, but I never start conversations about children unless I know the person either has children or is happy to talk about mine with me. You never know what struggles other people might be going through, and avoiding the topic is much more painless on both sides than trying to backtrack and realising you've upset someone when you say the wrong thing.


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