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Coping with insensitive family/friends/people in general...

(4 Posts)
TeaForever Sat 18-Feb-17 05:16:51

I'm childless, and those two words put together have caused me immense pain for years. How can it have happened?! When motherhood was tragically my only life plan (I didn't have a plan B).
Something's been happening to me recently though; I'm actually coming to think it's not maybe not the end of the world after all. Various things have caused this evolution of thinking. Obviously I still long for motherhood, but I'm starting to see some light in the darkness & sorrow.
However, I'd say for me that the biggest impediment to my healing is other people! Insensitive comments made by family, friends, and even sometimes random strangers! My SIL is the worst, she's an unbelievably smug mother. Some of the things she comes out with... She has an amazing ability to make me feel dreadful about my childlessness. I assume she doesn't do it deliberately. I think childless-by-circumstance (not choice) women can often be very misunderstood; and the grief we feel isn't always recognised.
I just wondered if anyone else here struggles with the insensitivity of others?
PS, I wasn't sure whether to post this here, or in AIBU? I hope I've posted it in the right place?

TeaForever Sat 18-Feb-17 05:30:55

I should also say that I do have some wonderful people in my life, who do get it, and are very kind.
Just some people... sigh!

MollyHuaCha Sat 18-Feb-17 06:48:41

flowers Yes, other people can be awful, so insensitive, intrusive and downright rude. Childlessness by circumstance will lead some people to assume it's by choice, and for some reason they feel obliged to offer their view and tell you why you have made this decision and why it is right/wrong. Others will assume medical knowledge gleaned from TV and magazines and will ask why you haven't thought of trying XYZ to remedy your lack of conception/miscarriages/medical issues/whatever. Others will push you in the direction of an expert/quack who can 'definitely help' you. When you don't obey them, they will shrug and tell you you are just not helping yourself, so no wonder it's your own fault you remain childless.

Sometimes it can help to share with these people how you feel, get them on your side and tell them how low the whole thing can make you. This approach involves a lot of (possibly distressing) personal sharing, but it may produce a good outcome, i.e. get the other person off your case. Though you wd not necessarily want to do this with strangers who have felt obliged to comment on your situation.

If it's any comfort, people with children get the comments too:
"Why have you only got one child? That's so cruel"
"You have two girls, you must try for a boy now - you ARE trying aren't you?"
"Three children - "you have to even this up to make four"
"The gap between your children is too narrow/wide - why on earth did you do this?"

TeaForever Sat 18-Feb-17 07:17:21

Thank you MollyHuaCha yes maybe I should be more open with people about how I feel. Sometimes I'm able to make myself that vulnerable, and sometimes not. But yes, probably worth it, if it makes their unhelpful (if well meaning) 'advice' stop.
I agree that some people seem to just thrive on judging or advising others in general - whether their 'victims' have children or not. That's the one good thing about my loss & sorrow - it's definitely given me more empathy, including to those with children. I never assume anything about anyone's life any more, as I know how much things can sometimes be outside of our control.
I assume that most of the hurtful comments from people are said in innocence? Though some of the things my SIL says to me are quite shocking, and I do sometimes wonder what her motivation is. I'm very close to my niece & nephew, and so have to see the SIL, but now really do have to steel myself! I nearly always leave somewhat bruised. Thanks so much for your kind post. It's good to know someone understands x

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