Friday, October 2, 2009

Tact

So I'm annoyed. And I don't like to write the things that annoy me on this blog because, once again, there are enough rant-forums in the world, we don't really need one more. But I like to share things on this blog that are going on in our life. And I really prayerfully filter through a lot of things because not everything absolutely has to be said. I have a feeling, however, that on some level everyone can relate to these things - whether you've been through it yourself, you will go through it someday, or you know someone going through it, or you can even try to imagine going through it.

And I have to say this as a disclaimer right off the bat: It is the honest-to-goodness truth that I am not referring to any of my dear family members (Matt's or mine) or any of my friends. So if you're a friend or family member reading this, please don't introspectively say, "Oh NO!! Am I who she's referring to?" because you're totally not. What I DO want you to do is punch the air and go "YEAH!!! Whatever SHE said! So THERE!" I really am just ranting here and if I needed to "rant" to any of my nearest and dearest, I certainly wouldn't do it on a blog!! :)

Okaaaaay....so here I go......I'm talking about pregnancy here. No, I'm not pregnant. (Sorry!! That would be a really FUN thing to talk about!) I'm simply not. Yes, we've been married three years. Yes, "it's time." Yes, we'd love to have a family and have no doubt that someday, rather through biological or adoptive means or both, God will give us one. Yes, we're hoping that it's sooner rather than later. But that journey has only begun for us, and will undoubtedly take some time - whether months or years. We make plans, the Lord directs our steps.

I am stunned - flummoxed, I say - at the lack of tact that I have seen people exhibit in this area of my life. I am horrified at how brazenly people have approached me and others around me to ask if and when I'll be pregnant. A few weeks ago I was at work...a good friend of mine had recently found out she was pregnant and told me and few others who are close to her, but was not planning to fully announce it to everyone for at least a couple more weeks. Well, when you work with all women, and a handful of us are of childbearing age, "the eyes" are going to start watching and "the ears" are going to start listening. I don't know if someone accidentally leaked about my friend, but the rumor mill was in full churn about "someone on day shift being pregnant." And in came the swarm. One morning, within the first three hours of my shift, about three people came up and asked me if I was pregnant, or is it my friend. And I'm like, oh my word. For one thing, if it were me, maybe I'm not ready to share that. And if it's my friend, that's HERS to share, not mine.

Later that day, I walked out to the desk to check the schedule. A gaggle of people were sitting at the desk yakking about how I might be pregnant. Again, oh my word. What if I HAD been trying for quite some time and it hadn't happened yet? Or what if I just miscarried last week? What if I found out two days ago that we can't have children biologically? Walking in on something like that would be crushing.

Some people, in this frenzy (I need to point out that there are about six or seven people at work right now who are pregnant, so it really has been a frenzy), have actually verbalized that they were considering calling one of us at home to ask if we were pregnant. Seriously? I've actually been at work a number of times and while they think they're kidding and being humorous, I've had people remark, "You know, maybe you shouldn't eat that...it wouldn't be good for the baby" and things like that. Seriously? What kind of daggers does that send into the heart of someone who has been struggling in this area?

AND THEN - *THEN* - I work with a nurse who went through a twelve-year struggle with infertility. She is the most dear, precious person. Her transparency is mind-blowing when it comes to her faith and her struggles. She and her husband have two daughters now - one via traditional adoption, and the other they adopted as an embryo that was implanted in her (so cool!). I can't even pretend to comprehend the struggle that they faced together as they continually laid this desire for a family at the Lord's feet. But people have been coming up to HER and asking HER if I am pregnant and/or planning on starting a family. WHAT? She approached me yesterday to tell her that she's gotten this question from a number of people, and she just wanted to let me know that she told them that that was an inappropriate question to ask her or me or anyone else, and the best thing that they could do was pray that these things will happen in God's timing.

Oh my word. This is just so strange to me. Since when? Seriously? Since when? Since when are such intimate and delicate and fragile decisions something that others are privy to ask about? What if this is an area of struggle for us right now, and each time you ask I need to choke back a sob for the baby I just lost? What if my heart has been shattered with the unexpected news that this may never be for me and my husband? Or what if I am delighted with knowing that a life is blossoming in me, but for right now it's a delicious secret for me and my husband to treasure? When did we become a people who so revel in voyeurism that we've lost sight of exactly how inappropriate it is when it comes to day-to-day life?

Please don't get me wrong: I am very open about these things with my friends and family. Even people I don't know very closely who respectfully and tactfully ask, "Do you guys hope to have a family soon?" are refreshing. I tell them yes, and please pray for us as we hope to have that chapter in our life open soon.

It just comes down to tact. I guess that's what my beef really is. Please have some tact. I really do enjoy my coworkers. There's a handful of them who I consider falling into my "good friend" category, whether they're my age or they're my "mom-away-from-mom" figures. But it's so apparent to me - and maybe they don't mean this, but it's how it comes across - that the rest would rather have something else to gossip about, rather than caring about what's really going on in someone's life. And that's so not cool. I mean, no one in either of our families even sort of behaves this way. Heck, here I am, an only child, my parents' only opportunity to ever have grandkids, and even THEY don't trample on my feelings and heart and privacy in this manner!

I guess I would hope that a pile of people working on an OB unit would, of all people, demonstrate a little more graciousness in this area. Here we see and work alongside people all the time who have struggled to have a baby. We've all held the second- or third-trimester demise in our hands and wept with the devastated parents. We've seen the fun and happy side of OB, and the very tragic side of it as well. Can we develop a better sense of sensitivity, then???

Okay, I'm wrapping this up. I really hope that the burden of infertility is not a cross that Matt and I are meant to bear, but if it is, my prayer is that we will continue to thank and glorify God. For who are we to gladly receive blessing that comes from His hand, yet not also receive the difficulties that we are handed? He is the Lord of the universe whether or not I get what I want in this life.

So yes, we'd love a child someday. We've only begun to start venturing down that road and would love your prayers and encouragement. I know most people are well-intentioned and don't mean to hurt, but we so badly need to remember that so many people are hurting. Remember that when you want to tease someone about dating or getting married or having a baby. Remember that when you're about to make a knock on people with mental illness. Remember that before you make a flippant remark. I'm talking to myself here, too, so I'm learning just as much about adjustments I need to make in my thinking and behavior.

Thanks for reading my rant. I tried not to make it over rant-y. And when/if I have good news to share...I'll share it at just the right time. :DBold

7 comments:

Ellen said...

Jenny, you absolutely hit the nail on the head!

When I was about 18 or 19, I brazenly said to a cousin, "Hey! You've been married awhile now. You're home owner and you have a dog and cat. When are you going to have a baby??" I got a very curt, "It's none of your business." Later I found out they were dealing with infertility, and I felt like such the lowest level of scum for my insensitive query.

While I myself have been an offender, I don't understand how people get to be 30 or 40 with NO level of understanding of what a painful subject pregnancy can be--miscarriages, infertility, etc. ESPECIALLY, as you said, those of us who are OB nurses!

I was only two weeks into being married before the questions started for me at work. Nowhere near the extent of what you've described, thankfully . . . yet. I am flabbergasted by your stories. So, anyway, here is your punch in the air with a huge, "YEAH. What she said!"

Love you! And will keep you and Matt in my prayers as you venture into seeing what the Lord has in store for your family.

sarah.simpson said...

Well said Jennylove. CA Mommy

Sara said...

well put - and I could go on about the inappropriate questions/comments that come when you are pregnant!

une autre mère said...

Great post! I remember our pre-baby days when I was always so surprised how people (especially those I barely knew) would comment that we needed to "start our family" soon. My reply was, "Chad and I ARE a family, thank you."

I'll be praying for you guys!

The Adamski Family said...

You go girl!!

Becky said...

You are so sweet to share your thoughts.. people do love to read these "rants" as you say, because we know how to pray and it teaches us as well. We can always learn from others experiences, so thank you.

Long time, friend i've never met. What an exciting time in life for you and Matt, I will pray for you when I think of you... what a sweet and precious thought to know that the God of the universe controls what happens and knows every part of us and our desires.. rest in that :)

Hope you're having a wonderful night!

Lori H said...

Hi Jenny! Love your blog, I found it on Facebook on your page.....

Anyway, ITA with you here. SO many people ask me this question, and I think it's so rude. I will answer, and it's usually with, "I don't have time for babies right now, and I would like to spend ALL my time with my kids when I have them" and that answer works, but what IF I was having fertility issues? I would be hurt every time someone asked me that question.