Insensitive Comments

I think any woman dealing with infertility and/or adoption can probably share some rude comments she’s received.  I am no exception.  Here are some real things people have told me.  I am not making this up:

  • I hope you’ve thought this (adoption) through.
  • You’re lucky you’re adopting and not pregnant, my health has really been bad since I gave birth.
  • I just can’t wait to have this baby and not be pregnant anymore. It’s been awful.
  • Maybe you should just think about getting another dog (instead of adopting).
  • As soon as you start adopting, you will get pregnant.
  • Don’t you think it’s going to be hard for a black kid to be raised in a white family?

All insensitive things.  All hurtful things.  I cringe even as I type them months later.

But you know what?  When people say these things to me, I try to consider their intentions rather than the words coming out of their mouth.  I find that their intentions fall into one of three categories:  mean, ignorant, or good.

I haven’t really come across anyone who has said something that is mean and has meant it in a mean way.  If I did, I would think that that person is not someone I want in my life and I would limit my contact with them as much as possible.

A few people have been ignorant.  I don’t mean that in mean way.  I mean that I spend roughly 14 waking hours each and every day thinking about adoption and infertility in some capacity.  It is always on the back of my mind.  I have done hundreds of hours of research, read dozens of blogs, and talked to many women dealing with similar issues.  I know more about these things than the average person. I sometimes find myself expecting or assuming that people are as well versed in these issues as I am.  It is not fair to hold them to these standards.  If someone says something to me that is truly hurtful but I know they do not mean it that way, I look at it as an opportunity to gently pull them aside and educate them on that issue.  If they are someone who truly cares about us, they are more than willing to listen and learn.

Most people have good intentions.  They may say something that is inappropriate but not totally hurtful, but I know that they love us and do not mean any harm by their statements.  If this is the case, I try to show them grace and look at their intentions rather than the actual words that come out of their mouths.

If you have a woman in your life that is dealing with infertility and/or adoption, be mindful of what you say around them.  Think things through and consider if it could be hurtful. It is a sensitive subject and an emotional time.  And never ever complain about your pregnancy to them.  That is the absolute worst.

And if you are a woman dealing with these issues, do not be overly sensitive.  Remember all the times when your mouth worked faster than your brain (for me, that is almost always!) and remember that you are at an especially emotional time in your life.  Consider peoples’ intentions and if they are good, try to brush off their insensitive comments.  If you can’t, don’t stew on it, but let them know in a gentle and loving way.

I hate to see women not dealing with these issues walk on eggshells around me.  I don’t like that it’s a taboo topic and I’m always willing to talk honestly about it if someone asks.  And I also hate to see women dealing with these issues that get very hurt and offended if someone makes a comment to them.  It hurts my heart to see that.  Letting things like that get to you can really turn someone into a bitter old woman.  And who wants to be a bitter old woman?!

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6 Comments

Filed under Adoption Process, Infertility

6 responses to “Insensitive Comments

  1. yes, true statements. I know I have more than likely said terrible things. SORRY!

  2. justjames44

    You’re Larry, you get a special pass.

  3. Stephanie

    Jamie,
    I just felt I needed to say that you are a very strong person and you and Mark will have the greatest of happinesses come to you!!! I truly believe that… Not to sound like a fortune cookie or anything!!! 🙂

  4. All of this is so very true. I agree, generally people do have good intentions and just don’t think about things they say. The eggshells thing sucks. I feel like that very often nowadays.

    The pregnancy complaints are the worst by far. Dealing with them and not letting them make me bitter is the hardest of all. Hugs to you!

  5. Helen

    We all know Larry has said things he did not think about…. I live in that reality everyday. 🙂 Having been on all three sides (dealing with infertility, pregnancy, and adoption), I have probably witnessed and committed some of these things. When we were trying so hard to get pregnant, I am sure I became a bit bitter. People’s comments really bothered me, even though they had good intentions. I will never forget when I shared my plight with a college friend and she said, “Well, I just get pregnant so easily. I guess I am super fertile!” Still makes me cringe! When I finally became pregnant, I tried not to complain, but it is challenging due to what pregnancy does to your body and mind (during and after). It was REALLY irritating when people said, “See, you got Makel and then you got pregnant!” As if it was something we were doing to hinder the conception process. The irony is that I feel your pain so deeply, but I fear that I may have said stupid things.
    My final thought: The more women (and men) are open with infertility and adoption, the more society will learn how to be sensitive and understanding. So thanks for this blog and all your thoughts, you are helping to pave a path towards greater understanding and sensitivity.

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