5:35 pm

...I get a little bit tired of making excuses for people. I know that the death of a baby is something most people find difficult to talk about, that often people say the wrong thing without meaning to, that perhaps I'm a little over sensitive. I know that most people are well intentioned, and I often give them the benefit of the doubt, but sometimes I just want slap some people very hard.

A while ago when I was still pregnant with Ernest a neighbour and mother of a child in Sid's class at school asked me if I was expecting my third child. (I had Angus and Sid with me at the time) I said simply that no, this was my sixth child. She then went on to make all sorts of exclamations about having six children, and I scurried away without explaining further.

Since then, I have tried to avoid this woman. She seems perfectly nice,very attractive, very confident woman. I just didn't want to have *that* conversation with her.

Today we wound up walking to school together, and making polite conversation.She asked how Ernest was and commented on how I seemed to have been pregnant forever.
Then she asked how old all of my children were, and I thought I may as well get this out of the way,listing my children and their ages,until I came to Florence, and I said she would be 15 months, but she died.
She looked puzzled, glanced at Ernest, processed what I'd just said and asked me,
"So did you actually give birth?"

I'm sorry but WTF???

I just replied, yes, she was six hours old when she died.

That was it then, conversation over.
I'm resisting the urge right now to knock on her front door and show her a photo of my 9lbs 3oz daughter who was born, a real person, my child.There was blood and amniotic fluid and meconium, and a warm wet baby I held in my arms. A baby I held while she took her last breaths, my child who is buried in the ground, and who was real, of course I gave birth!

Maybe I'm being unfair, maybe I am. Really though, would it have hurt her to just say "I'm sorry for your loss" ?

And while we are on the subject, the co worker who told Woody that we needed to get a dog to teach our children about death, needs to think a bit more before opening his mouth.

It's never going to get any easier is it?

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  1. Anonymous6:13 pm sad for you!
    XO, Daria

  2. Ugh. People are so dense. Sorry for the poor taste of other.

  3. Both the neighbor and the coworker's comments were out of line. I also try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but those are awful. Some people have no filter between their brains and their mouths, though they badly need one. I'm sorry for you, I know both comments would have really upset me. ((hugs))

  4. that is just so stupid, even if she had been stillborn she would still be a real person. a baby is always a member of your family whether they are here with you growing up or died before they fulfilled all you had hoped for them.

    at least your instincts about the woman were right, a complete idiot.


  5. Oh Jeanette :( so sorry you were in that position xxx

  6. It would have been easier to say sorry for your loss, but sometimes people say things they shouldnt when they are out of their remit, and losing a child is out of most peoples remit. Since you dont know her very well I guess its hard to say whether she is normally like this (some people are incredibly unsensitive after all), or if she is sitting at home thinking 'why the hell did I say that'.
    Sadly I have known a few women who's pregnancys have ended early with the baby not surviving, but to my knowledge non of them went through labour. My cousin however gave birth to her baby after 6 hours of labour knowing that he had died already. This seemed almost horrific to me, not 'worse' exactly but just an extra amount of heartbreak. Maybe thats why she asked?
    I have read back on your old posts and I think you seem like an amazing lady, so its awful to hear of someone upsetting you, but I couldnt help try and find a reason for such a comment.

  7. When you first lost Florence I did not know what to say to you. I remember that very first time you came to school, you hadnt come back right away, maybe a week or two after the term had started and I remember saying to you "I never thought I would see you again". I felt so so stupid for that comment... I thought about it so many times, but it was just a comment about how I felt and I suppose the joy I did feel in seeing that you were out and about. Some people do not think about what they are saying, some people genuinely do mean well but it comes out the wrong way. I dont have a problem talking to you about Florence. In fact I think of Florence often and look at you with Ernest and think what a lovely, strong, loving, mummy (and woman) you are and im proud to know you, even if I do sometimes say the wrong thing, Im one of the ones who does not mean to offend or upset you.... carry on the way you are. xx

  8. I am not sure that it ever gets easier. Sorry you had to go through that. HUGS!

  9. What a silly woman :( xx

  10. oh, ugh. sorry. it's amazing the things people will say, and sure, it's only because of their own discomfort/sadness/grief/shock/whatever, but still - I hate having to be the one on the receiving end of it, and I am sorry you had to be too.

  11. Some people's brains are just not really switched on are they.

  12. I am so sorry Jeanette. You're right - it's not going to get easier. Sadly, there will always be people who through insensitivity or ignorance will say the wrong thing. The only thing that helps me is to remember that I was probably one of them before Emma died. I am sorry you had to go through that.

  13. Slap away!
    So sorry Jeanette, so, so sorry.
    Nothing more that I can say only that I know Florence. She is my niece. My beautiful forever baby niece. She has sisters and brothers, a mother, a father and lots of cousins. I never knew her but I still mourn her loss. Thinking of her brings a heavy heart and tears to my eyes, and always will.
    It sucks and I am really, really sorry that it sucks so much.

  14. I'd find it hard to make excuses for both of these clowns. Sure, they always mean well but it stings, doesn't it?
    So sorry you have had to put up with this. If people find our situations so hard to deal with, couldn't they just try imagining what it is like for us to deal with day in, day out for the rest of our damn lives?

  15. Stupid F*cks is all I can think of to say. Hugs and love to you...

  16. Seriously?
    Jaw on the floor.
    I want to shake her for you- hard.
    So sorry Jeanette- thinking of you....

  17. Goodness .. that's the kind of comment I'de expect from someone with no children who had no experience of miscarriage or baby loss who actually meant "did you loose the baby very early?".
    But someone with children should know better. That's awful. Even someone who's lost a baby very early would feel that a slap in the face question.
    As for the dog thing....ick.
    I know from talking face to face with a friend about her baby loss I wasn't entirely sure how much or how little she wanted to talk about it. But I certainly never would have asked that!!! It also strikes me as a slightly weird thing to say.
    As my husband often tells me "I'll explode her head for you ok".

  18. Ahhh slap away! I felt I needed one yesterday Jeanette. Perhaps this was her way of asking if you'd had an early MC but she framed it badly, lots of mothers lose babies without giving birth. Like someone else said maybe she is sitting at home thinking 'Oh god what the hell did I say that for?' Still it doesn't make it any easier and you shouldn't have to keep giving people the benefit of the doubt.

    And WTF!!! to the colleague who made the dog suggestion. :-/

  19. Jeanette, how thoughtless. :( I hope they are, both of them, sat thinking "why did I say that?".

  20. I'm sorry too, and hope that particular mother is one that is cringeing about saying something so stupid. I hope I have learned - through your blog and others - how to say something appropriate to a babylost parent - but you can never quite rule out the brain and the mouth not quite getting their act together...

  21. Gah. What does she think, that fully-grown babies just *dissolve* in your womb?

    And the co-worker - oh dear. Sorry you've had to deal with people's ignorance and lack of understanding.

    Sending lots of love xxxh

  22. She should have said, "I am so sorry" and left it at that.

    I am so sorry.

  23. Gosh I hope it will ((())) Very insensitive :(
    I must admit (as you well know) I have my moments (!!!)
    I hope not that bad though.

  24. so sad for you, people can be so thoughtless and cruel............sorry you had to suffer. Just wanted to say you sound like such a fabby mum and you are doing so well to keep pumping for your little man go you!!! enjoy your weekend xx

  25. I can't believe she asked that. Maybe giving her the benefit of the doubt, she didn't know how to respond and just said the first thing that came into her head, even thought it was a horrible thing to ask.

    I would never say that to someone, the first thing would be to say how sorry I was for their loss and then say no more on the subject, unless you continued to talk about florence. Whether that comes from my own background of coming from a family that lost a child, so I can understand how hard it can be for a parent to talk about.

    I'm so sorry you were upset by these people.

  26. Hi, I just stumbled across your blog. I lost my son three months ago to stillbirth. I'm so sorry for your loss. People just don't know what to do or say when they're confronted with death. I fear we are doomed to comments such as these for a long time to come. I have faith, however, that they will not sting as much as time goes least I hope not.


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