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How do you deal with...

(24 Posts)
escapeartist Tue 13-Sep-11 15:56:28

people who ask why you don't have children/make comments about you not being a mum?
I went to a christening on Sunday and several people made a comment on the fact that DH and I have been together 6 years yet have no babies. Eventually I said something along the lines of "we have had a bit a tough time", not wanting to spell out the fact that I have had 2 miscarriages in the last 6 months, although I am normally quite open about it.
There response was nudge, nudge, wink, wink "keep trying" and another lady decided to tell us, in front of everyone, that she heard on the news of this new IVF technique that selects the sperm which fertilises the egg etc etc etc. I wanted to scream!

How do you deal with people making such insensitive questions/comments?

gigglepin Tue 13-Sep-11 16:01:49

Hmm, it is frustrating and can be upsetting but they dont mean anything by it, sometimes they are simply making conversation.

I say whay you said. "We have had a very rough time of it, and we cant have any more children" as i am always asked, "did you not want another child then?"
(I have an 8 year old ds but have had 6 mcs all together)

Actually that tends to shut them up...or invited further converastion. I dont mind talking about it tbh.

Its hard i know sad

eaglewings Tue 13-Sep-11 16:07:59

You could be really light hearted and say
We have discovered that it's a myth that the stork leaves them under the berry bush
Or be truthful and say it's been a hard time recently I'd rather not talk about it here
Or turn the question on them, do you have children, did they turn up when you ordered them?
I agree with giggle pin, they are not thinking their question through and just wanting to make conversation, albeit without tact

ShimmeryPixie Tue 13-Sep-11 16:14:20

I'm fortunate that my in-laws don't ask (they had a tough time having DH and his sister themselves. My Dad actively wants grandkids, so it's getting difficult with him (I didn't tell him when things went wrong, and now it's too hard to broach the subject). As for everyone else, I either say I'm too busy with my career, as I find the pitying looks/noises too awkward if I tell the truth. Last time I was asked someone else told the asker (who is a friend and so it was quite light-hearted) that it was a bit odd to effectively ask someone "so, are you going to breed soon?".

farfallarocks Tue 13-Sep-11 16:59:33

Hhhhmmm I am really honest with people as I want to educate people about how awful these sorts of questions are and I realise I was really insensitive before I was TTC and had a MC and wish someone put me back in my box!

I say, yes, we would love to and are on the job but had a miscarriage recently.
Not for everyone I agree but stops people asking and I normally get a 'sorry I am an insensitive twunt' type comment back.

We have decided to be open about our situation with friends, I realise not everyone wants to be.

escapeartist Tue 13-Sep-11 19:42:56

farfallarocks I am the same, I am open with people and explain that I have miscarried twice: everyone at my work knows (pretty much) as well as all my close friends and family.

However, I don't know what to say when we are in company of people I don't know very well or haven't seen for ages. On Sunday it was a christening of a family friend whom I hadn't seen for about 7 years. We were also in the company of many more people, on a table of 20, may of whom I didn't know.
I did feel pretty sad and angry at the same time (admittdly my hormones are probably all over the place) and really didn't know how to respond!

I guess as you say gigglepin they don't mean anything by it - just wish people thought a bit more before they spoke (and also refrained from asking questions ab0ut something that does not concern them in the least - as Shimmery says my breeding should not concern anyone!!

banana87 Tue 13-Sep-11 19:53:41

I was always very upfront. "Well we have been trying but we've had a couple of miscarriages". Usually shuts them right up!

farfallarocks Wed 14-Sep-11 09:12:29

escape I know what you mean with people you don't know so well, a lot tougher sad

Really sorry about your miscarriages, it sucks doesn't it?

shortlady Sat 17-Sep-11 11:54:37

Some one asked me this week, when I was just back to work after a MC. I will never ask anyone this question ever again (not sure I did anyway). I really was not sure if I should give a blunt answer, I might of had I not been in the office. I'm glad to read that other people have so will consider it in the future.

LouP19 Wed 21-Sep-11 11:01:59

I'm usually fairly honest now. We had a miscarriage a few months ago and since then I've been open with friends, family, and colleagues. We used to get loads of comments from the in-laws about intentions to start a family, but since the miscarriage they've luckily kept their mouths shut.

But we have a family christening to go to next week (my nephew from my much younger sister in law!) and so I suspect we'll get comments there from more distant relatives. And I'll probably be very honest there too, because really if people are brazen enough to ask then they should be prepared for a brazen answer!

bemybebe Wed 21-Sep-11 11:06:26

"if people are brazen enough to ask then they should be prepared for a brazen answer!"

This is the tactic i will be adopting in the future. sad

Imnotaslimjim Wed 21-Sep-11 11:57:24

I was usually honest but in a roundabout way. My most oft used was "mother nature has decided its not for us just yet so for now we're having fun practising" then mild mention of sex normally shut them up!

Patsy99 Wed 21-Sep-11 12:13:37

I don't actually take offence at being asked about whether we're planning more children, it can be a good thing to discuss and isn't necessarily insensitive - depends on the context. Being open has lead to some really supportive and helpful conversations. I usually just answer "well, it's not from lack of trying" which stops people pursuing it unless they're in or have been in a similar situation.

Once I had a horrible response, one awful mother of 2 said "I think it's all down to the whether the parents are compatible really". I couldn't think of any response to the stupid, stupid woman at the time, I'm sorry to say.

ColdSancerre Wed 21-Sep-11 12:16:40

Patsy she said WHAT? What a ginormous cow. Thing is it is never worth saying anything to people who have astounding levels of stupidity as they're never going to change.

Patsy99 Wed 21-Sep-11 12:32:26

I know! I think more openess about infertility is not necessarily a bad thing if people mean well and are kind. After all, there's a lot of it around. But this bloody woman. I avoid her now but would really let rip if there were any repeat comment like that.

pamplemousserose Wed 21-Sep-11 12:50:35

Be honest with the fuckers, it soon shuts them up.

escapeartist Wed 21-Sep-11 15:56:01

Well, the latest in this line of comments is the fact that now my colleagues have started giving me advice on how to "keep" a baby!! I guess I have invited them by being open about what has happened to me!
I was so angry yesterday, when one of the women at work told me that I should stop running (!!) if I want to keep a baby! It made me want to cry, especially as since my last MC running has been the one thing that has kept me sane and keeps me going... I confronted her today to say, I understand that she is concerned and appreciate her advice, but that decision is between my doctor and me. She looked a bit stunned, but I meant exactly what I said... Maybe I am still a bit sensitive, but it feels like everyone has an opinion on my body/my fertility/my uterus... sad

farfallarocks Wed 21-Sep-11 18:04:32

Oh its awful isn't it?

At least you can get pregnant is the latest one I have had

Or at least its better than losing a baby at full term, well yes but that is not really the point is it?

The only comforting thing anyone has said to me is 'That is so shit, I am so sorry'

bemybebe Wed 21-Sep-11 18:23:45

when my dd died i was told at least i 'can have another one'.
i thought i was going to actually punch this person. i was so flipping angry

escapeartist Wed 21-Sep-11 18:47:54

farfalla that one seems to be a favourite, the "at least you can get pregnant"... Errr... fat lot of good it's done me so far! Or the "you could have lost it later" comment... thanks, there's a cheery thought!

As you said, the best comment was a not-so-close friend (then, she is now) who said she wasn't sure what to say and gave me a hug. We later discussed it and she asked me what would help. I did tell her I would love to hear some success stories and she obliged smile

bemybebe that is awful! What could a person be thinking??!??

Patsy99 Thu 22-Sep-11 09:38:12

Escape - you absolutely did the right thing confronting your colleague. It really annoys me the idea that a woman could be to blame for a miscarriage, short of something extreme like downing a litre of wine/coffee a day. I saw Amanda Holden critisised recently for wearing high heels when pregnant, FGS.

escapeartist Thu 22-Sep-11 14:56:46

Patsy99 it might be a generation thing too - but I find it so annoying and in fact dangerous!! My mother also said that I will never keep a baby being so thin... I had to discuss both the above comments (running and weight) with my dr to be reassured.
Poor Amanda Holden - because losing a baby is not awful enough... you need people to blame you for wearing heels/eating/not eating/having sex...

bemybebe Thu 22-Sep-11 16:45:17

escape - 'at least you can have another one' was said to me by a friend that knew I've suffered for years from infertility, but then got pregnant. my dd died after 23 days.

the more i think about it, the more i realize she was trying to be supportive i guess, just came out very badly.

Chalks2 Sat 24-Sep-11 12:44:54

(just had first pregnancy end in MMC followed by ERPC two weeks ago).

Also had the 'at least you know you can fall pregnant' from my mum-in-law along with the 'was it because you were running' (I wasn't because I felt too bloody sick to).

I put the first down to trying to be helpful and the second down to general ignorance (&tried not to spend any time alone with her as she behaved better in the presence of DH). I'm also a developmental geneticist so I guess I take the more detached approach and know the statistics and am reasonably confident that it was nothing that I did wrong.

On dealing with 'why no children?' I usually say that 'we're working on it' and try to look coy. It generally either makes people uncomfortable or seems appropriate for people trying to make light conversation.

The colleagues and friends who did know about my recent experience thanked me for talking about it as they did not know how stressful pregnancy is and how often horrible things happen. Even a male friend from Morroco commented that nobody would be so upfront in Africa. They all also start talking about people they knew of who had had similar experiences but it is swept under the carpet

So do we all need to talk more openly about this like farfallarocks? Its very difficult to do when you are trying to cope with all the physical and emotional issues.

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