Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby tinalowe » Mon Apr 05, 2004 08:39 pm

The comments that bother me the most are
"I know how you feel"...now for must of you in this forum that is fine to say...but for those who have never lost a child (especially in this manner)I HATE when they tell me that because they don't!!!

Some of my family mainly my in-laws made the comment that they were lucky that they still had me...I know that they mean that in the best way; and I know that most of them would have chosen me over Emma...but I wouldn't have...I didn't care that I was still here I would have gladly traded places with her!!!

And like so many of you all I have also been told "At least you can still have more children" I guess people think that if I have more Emma's death won't hurt or something.

The main thing I try to keep in mind is all of these people mean well...I think most people actually don't know what to say.

Tina (22)

Emma Victoria stillborn December 28, 2003 (30 weeks)
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby hannahsmom » Tue Apr 06, 2004 10:24 pm

I do not know what it is like to lose a child, but twice while Hannah was in the NICU they prepared us for her death. She was a 26 and a half weeker and had caught two nearly fatal infections. Anyway, when she caught the second one and the docs said she may not make it, my mother-in-law called me that same day and said, "I just got the pictures developed and Hannah just looks so awful, I'm not going to show them to anyone." My child is on her deathbed and that B***ch is worried about how my baby looks? She only came to see her twice during her nearly 4 month stay. Now Hannah is 2 and a half, and my MIL talks about how Hannah's birth was the hardest time of her life...HUH?????[}:)] I only speak to the woman now for my husband's sake. I want to vomit when she talks about how beautiful Hannah is now. Well, 2 and a half years ago she was too ugly to be your grandchild. Anyway, I will never forgive her. You all are a wonderful group of ladies. I'm so glad I found this site!

Suzanne
Mommy to Hannah Rose
26 weeker born 8/24/01
severe pre-e
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby eleni » Mon Apr 19, 2004 10:41 pm

As hard as it is there are some things we can say to help the situation. First, try "Thanks! I needed one more entry for David Letterman's Top 10 Stupid Things People Say to Somebody Whose Baby Has Died". You can only pull that one off if you have a great sense of humor and the person you're saying it to does, too. Or you hate them so much you don't care about how much you're going to * them off.[:p]

OK, so now for my serious answer.
Usually people really do NOT know what to say and their first error is just staying away, ignoring you b/c they're so uncomfortable with the situation. So, if somebody does actually approach you with a choice comment from the David Letterman list, do your best to respond gracefully with the idea that you have an opportunity to minister to them. You have had a life experience that they have not and can be the teacher, in the same way that we are all both students and teachers of life. By expressing respectfully what you believe or feel about their comment and also sharing how much their support means to you, you help break down the barriers and make it easier for them to truly support you and better for next person who could be comforted by them. It's a "pay it forward" thing.

Here's a great umbrella idea to nip all these in the bud. If you have a chance to do a funeral or a memorial or anything that might give you the podium for a few minutes, then take the opportunity to preempt the "stupid comments" but addressing them generically. i.e., "I know it is sometimes said that... but in reality..."

Some ideas, based on my own experience with "stupid things..." (note: in the immediate aftermath when I couldn't take a breath without crying, these answers were irrelevant. In those cases, vent with your DH and curse liberally! If you have a long-term relationship with the person and don't want to harbor ill will, you should probably double back with them later and say, "You know, I've been thinking about what you said, and at the time I was so hurting and confused I couldn't process it. Can we talk about it?)

"It was God's will." -- "Actually, it wasn't. The God we believe in (to a fellow churchgoer) is a god of love and light and perfection. Death and preeclampsia aren't part of his plan. What I do believe is that God's will is the love and support that we're getting from this community. I really appreciate you being here for us. (hug) Please don't ever believe that tragedies like this are part of His plan. It will be so hard on you when you have to suffer something difficult."

"You can always have another." -- "Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, nobody will ever take Nikonia's place and we really appreciate you remembering her and us in your prayers. (other variations: "At least you have other children.")

Some of the "rude" comments from mothers and MILs are usually disguises for their own grief. They can't seem to stop being mothers and giving "advice", but in reality, they're hurting too and, for once (LOL), may not know the first thing about what they're talking about. Cut them some slack, educate them and ask them (later when you're more stable) to share their own grief journey with you. "What was it like when you heard your granddaughter had died?" "What did you tell Dad?"

Well, I could go on and on, but that'll have to wait for the book. You get the idea. The jist is this: be hurt, be pissed, but recognize that we have had a unique life experience, that most people don't have. What we do with it is our choice. We can be lights in this world, or continue the tragedy of ignorance - either of this disease or of the grief associated with this kind of loss.

~~~~~
Before hitting send, I re-read this and realize that it could sound pretty Pollyanna-ish and if you're grieving and angry, then this sounds like a bunch of psychoanalyst BS (which I'm not, btw). Just know this: I've been there, sometimes still am, people pissed me off, sometimes still do. Some I've never dealt with (or at least not well), many I have dealt with either through the "preempt from the podium" approach or 1:1 - and I have never regretted it one day. On the contrary, I have engaged in very meaningful, healing conversations, at least to me and often to them, too.

If this was helpful, let me know. If this was hurtful, let me know that, too.
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby megansmom » Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:57 am

Hello ladies. First, I would like to say that I am so sorry so many of you have lost your precious little ones! That is something NO mother should ever have to endure. Second, please remember that sometimes people say things just because they don't know what else to say. I know I have said my fair share of stupid things to mothers that have lost babies (none of which I wish to repeat). Not because I was trying to be hurtful or I didn't care, but it just came out. Most of the time when people say hurtful things, they immediately wish they could take it back. So please don't be too mad at us! Just remember that we do care and would love to help you with your loss but don't know what to do. Any ideas about what to say, do, etc would be helpful and much appreciated. Thanks.

Amanda, SAHM to Megan born at 34 weeks due to pe
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby amillhouse » Thu Apr 22, 2004 03:18 pm

Thanks, Megansmom for simply asking what is the "right" thing to say. To me, that is at least a step in the right direction. Just the other day someone asked me if I anyone has said anything offensive to me. I had to realise that the answer is yes always. But the truth is I am very sensitive to the things people say. So in the end nothing would be the right thing to say. Mostly, I wish that people would not forget that my baby has died or just assume that I have "moved on" and then never speak to me about him. Maybe it would be nice if someone said, "Anika, do you want to talk about Isaiah? I am here to listen." And then maybe over coffee they would allow me to share my thoughts, my dashed hopes and dreams, and just simply - listen. Do others agree that this would be helpful?



Anika (32, severe pre-e)
Mommy's Angel Boy: Isaiah (1/20/04 - 2/17/04)
Born at 28 weeks 1 day gestation weighing 610 grams
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby josiah1112 » Thu Apr 22, 2004 07:26 pm

I know what you mean exactly, Anika. I sometimes
bring my son up, but usually he is not mentioned.
I think people think that this will do me wrong to bring
him up. I agree that the opposite is true. We need to
talk about our deceased babies. My husband mentioned the
other day that all of my new friends have dead babies.
I now joke and tell some of my friends that a pre-
requisite to being my friend is to have a dead baby.

Gloria mom to Josiah 11/12/03- 12/4/03 @ 26wks pre e
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby houstygirl » Tue Apr 27, 2004 11:26 pm

"Well it was meant to be..." Is one I've had.
I've also had my loss compared to a lady who adopted her daughter out, that was a good one.It was also compared to a couple we know that can't get pregnant and are having IVF treatment.
or "I know how you feel, my grandad died last year"
People say some silly things.

Mum to Angel baby Jonathan Douglas
born still 3rd April 2004 31wks, weighing 880gms
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby taras mom » Wed Apr 28, 2004 04:30 am

Anika, I hear you! The list of people who will even mention Tara in my presence is very short. Do the others think I'll jump off a cliff if they do? Or that I'll forget all about her and return to some imagined state of bliss if we don't talk about her? Or does she just not count in their book? Much as I hate insensitive comments, the deafening silence can be worse.

If you want to talk about Isaiah, I'm here to listen.

Carol (38)
DH Bill (40)
Tara Mairichi
12/7-12/9, 2002
The Mightiest Little Angel
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby houstygirl » Wed Apr 28, 2004 03:54 pm

The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes,
But it never fails to bring music to my ears.
If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of his name.
It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul

Leanne age 24
Mum to Angel baby Jonathan Douglas
born still 3rd April 2004 31wks, weighing 880gms
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Re : Stupid things people say! What are they thinking?

Postby craigh » Thu May 06, 2004 08:57 am

I feel for all of you! My stem mother said something, not directly to me but I was sitting right there when she said it, I couldnt believe my ears, she said to my brother "I guess you'll have to wait a little longer to be an Uncle." My heart just stopped I think. Does that meen I'm not a father.. I THINK NOT! I said he is an Uncle, he just has to wait a little longer to hold his nephew in his arms..

-------------------
Mom and I love and miss you very much.. Shane Andrew, April 25, 2004
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