Remember to listen, not just talk

I am constantly taken by surprise by the insensitivity of people and their behaviour, especially from the very few people that are aware we are going through IVF. From my friend, who I supported extensively for years while she went through every fertility/IVF process there was – she now has 2 children and complains to me about the difficulties of motherhood (wrong audience, luv). From my parents-in-law who have not once (!!) recognised the loss we suffered from our miscarriage – literally, not one word said to us about it since – and who go on ENDLESSLY about their grandson born from their other son  just a few weeks before our loss (accidental conception).

Then this morning, my brother-in-law (father of the baby) phoned us at 9am. Last night was a late one as we were at the church for the midnight service marking Orthodox Easter. Once I was home and in bed it was edging on 1.30am, which is approximately 3 hours past my bedtime since the hormones took over.  I was struggling to stay awake until midnight, much less stand up for the service!  It was a tough one for me and I didn’t feel well either. And after the service I was kind of forced against my will to go back to the brother-in-law’s house and coo at the sleeping baby.  In any case, the plan was to try and sleep off the late night a bit… that was until the 9am call.

So what was the call for?  The call was to tell my husband to come over and visit their baby.  What?  It was 9am, FFS and we’d just seen the baby a few hours previously!!  My husband mentioned this to his mother today at lunch and her response was, “Oh they wake up early now they have the baby so that’s why he called then.”

Sorry?

So let’s just get this straight.  They have a baby, and we have to wake up early just because they are up and fancy a chat (my husband is not even that close to his brother so this made no sense at all).  I pointed it out to the MIL (in a possibly rude tone) that our schedule has not changed and thus 9am is not an acceptable time to call on a weekend unless it’s an emergency (especially after everyone knew it was a late night previously). The irony is that before the baby, the brother would sleep most Sundays until 1pm or 2pm. But of course that’s forgotten now.

What no one seems to have realised is that they had a baby a couple of weeks before I lost mine.  It has taken every ounce of strength and decency to not have some kind of public breakdown about this. I have to constantly tell myself that our loss is not the fault of them or their baby. But what they don’t realise (the brother and his partner don’t know about the miscarriage) is that every single mention of their baby and every single time they complain about how hard it is, a piece of me breaks inside.

They’ve never once asked me what’s going on with us so I’ve not had the chance to tell them, and we are not close enough for me to just blurt it out (not that I would anyway). Maybe it’s the age group I’m in where everyone is very caught up in what they’re doing and doesn’t have time for other people, but I listen a lot to other people’s struggles and I’m constantly astounded that everyone is ready to talk, but never to listen.

I live in my husband’s country and so my family and friends are very far away. I feel very alone at the best of times and never more than during periods like this.  If it wasn’t for my amazing husband and my three wonderful cats I really would feel like there was no point to anything.

Today has been hard and I’ve been cranky all day. I imagine most people at the family Easter lunch today thought I was a moody cow.  They would be at least partially right (hormones), but if they just tried to invoke some empathy for just a few minutes maybe they would understand what a huge effort it is for me to put on a brave face and keep going.

 

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12 thoughts on “Remember to listen, not just talk

  1. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I think I can sort of relate… I had to go to my niece’s christening more or less when my baby was due. It wasn’t fun at all but there was no acknowledgement that we’d suffered loss or that it might be painful. The whole thing was awful. However… I think people honestly can’t understand (you’d think they could imagine it but I don’t think they can). A due date is nothing to them because the baby wasn’t born. (Sad but true.) They don’t hold it in their head and they don’t honour your loss.

    Sometimes I wish I could scream at people what happened, that we lost a baby and shouldn’t be expected to hang around babies and do baby things. But then I remember that we are a minority and people just don’t realise. It totally sucks but there it is. I hope one day that we are the annoying parents waking people up early! Sending you hugs. Xx

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    1. It’s so true about wanting to scream. I feel the same way too. I know people don’t understand and I semi-forgive them for it but I just wish there was more sensitivity and caring. I hope we are annoying parents too. So much it hurts sometimes. xx

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    1. Thank you. I had been holding all those thoughts in until I wrote them down. I knew I was cranky as hell but couldn’t pinpoint why exactly. I feel a bit better having let some of it out and also thanks to the support from you and others here. Thank you so much. 😘

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    1. Oh gee I WISH!! No chance of hiding at the moment due to Easter and then the wedding next week. If anything it’s extra busy hanging out with family and that’s tough on me. But what can I do? No, they don’t know our news. No one does beyond my boss and you gals here. Not even my Mum. Last time around we told our parents after the first scan but this time I think I’m going to wait longer. I feel like it’s Schrodinger’s baby – it’s both alive and not until you have the scan. After I got the news at the second scan last time that there was no heartbeat my MIL’s first words to me were “What did you do wrong?” Can you believe it?!! So yeah, she’s quite low in my priorities of informing!!!

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  2. Hmm your mil is really mean. It was of no fault of yours that what had happened had happened.
    Yep I think it’s a good idea to safeguard your precious secret too! Do take care of yourself while you’re busy at family gatherings though! If you need to rest, DO REST! ! Priority to your baby and yourself first! !

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    1. She is a nice person but sometimes she is mean and I’ve not really recovered from that particular reaction. Your advice is good and I do try and protect myself but I think it gets misinterpreted that I’m a b1tch. Hahahaha!

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  3. I’m sorry people are ignorant! I know there aren’t words that can make it better, but I hope things improve. These moments are going to be the most sensitive. We found out my SIL was pregnant (at 17) right after we had our second failed IUI. I remember going outside and just bawling because “it wasn’t fair” – I think it hindsight all the hormone drugs I was on played a part in that scene though. Lol.
    I can’t imagine the loss of a miscarriage, but it sounds like they are just writing it off. Which would be so hurtful!
    I’ll continue to send good vibes your way to make it through the wedding! You sound like you’re staying strong through it all. Hoping it gets better!

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  4. Haha! I can just imagine how much you needed to cry that one out. I was like that for about six months after hearing of the surprise pregnancy of the brother and gf – and i wasn’t even on the hormones for some of that!! Today involved the family again and I don’t think I made any good impressions but I’ve had a cry now and feel a tiny bit better. I think it’s just a case of getting through each day this week and then seeing what the other side brings. Thank you for the good vibes and kind messages. They really do help! xx

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  5. You have every right to be angry. There is a lot to be said for simply acknowledging what someone has been through and letting them talk it out, cry it out…whatever it is they need to do. It’s not that freaking hard to work out, but a lot of people still don’t get it. Ignoring the pain of others only serves to make them ache a little more. I wish people were better equipped to deal with those situations. Vent anytime you need to because unfortunately they probably won’t change anytime soon, particularly that MIL of yours…xo

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    1. You’re right they are not going to change. Sometimes it just feels like I have to make all the adjustments – new country, culture, etc – and everyone else gets to carry on at whatever expense. But no point dwelling on it. Sometimes I do want to run away though!

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