How not to react when someone congratulates you on being pregnant (Pregnancy after loss)

So after my last post on pregnancy after loss feelings, it was almost synchronicity that something would have to trigger off all those feelings again. I just didn’t think it would be the very next day…

Yesterday, in quick succession, I got messages from two friends congratulating me on my pregnancy. Neither of them were people I had told. What had happened was that Person A had been invited to my baby shower. (She can’t make it.) She then told Person B, as they work together. And then Person B told Person C.

On my baby shower invitations it really clearly says “Please do not mention on social media.” I hadn’t anticipated that people would think telling people off social media would be fair game. 

Now, I come with a history of infertility and a recent-ish (one year ago) miscarriage. I am 28, almost 29 weeks pregnant. In most people’s eyes, this is 6 months pregnant nothing-to-worry-about but that’s not how I feel, and there was a specific reason why I didn’t tell Person C in particular.

Person C was the person who absolutely crushed me when I told her about our miscarriage last year. I can’t even bring myself to think about it, but let’s just say she said all the wrong things. In case you are wondering what those are, they included:

“At least you know you can get pregnant.”

“It happens to loads of people.”

“Why don’t you just adopt?”

“Sometimes it’s not meant to be.”

“How far along were you?”

I have answers for all of those (which mainly involve paraphrasing a ruder version of “You’re not helping”) but that’s not the point of this post. The point is, I responded in a very visceral way and I am still kicking myself about it.

Firstly, Person B. She doesn’t have children. Actually I don’t have a big issue with her knowing. But I would have preferred her not to have mentioned it to Person C. She was actually apologetic and said that Person A had clearly said that it should not be mentioned on social media, but hey ho, she’s very good friends with Person C so I suppose that it was to be expected.

Person C. I actually did a blog post about her a while back but I took it down because I feel like a lot of my problem with her is my problem and not hers. Person C is older than me – and I’m considered a “geriatric mother”. She got pregnant first go, after waiting, in her 40s, and whilst on honeymoon. By all accounts Person C is a borderline alcoholic or at the very least an enthusiastic binge drinker. Like, not the person you’d expect to get pregnant that easily but I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles. And I get that. People get pregnant all the time.

What most people do though is have a modicum of sensitivity. Person C is kind of not that person. She’s actually great fun in real life, but over time I’ve distanced myself from her as she has a habit of not saying the right thing (putting it mildly). For instance when I split up with my ex, she told me she had never expected it to last. (Umm, it was like a decade and you came to my wedding.) So when she kept pestering me about coming to meet her baby, I felt like the best way to deal with that was to tell her about the miscarriage. 

Big mistake.

After the very upsetting exchange last year I just settled on not telling her stuff, and so I had absolutely no plans for her to be invited to my baby shower or even to know I was pregnant until the baby was born.

Instead I got this message from her. And I said thanks, who told you? And she told me Person B. And I said can you please not put it on social media as we are not telling people. And it just sort of escalated from there. She kept pushing on congratulations, how do you feel? And pregnancy questions and I just said I am not really into talking about it and there’s a reason I haven’t publicised it. And she wanted to know why. Like, the stupid ***** had completely forgotten about our conversation about miscarriage last year. Her response when I told her was “Oh I thought it was really early.” Like really… so it didn’t matter because it was “early”. Let’s not think about the months and years leading up to that.

She then had the cheek to say she was here to talk if I wanted to talk. Like, she’s the absolute last person I’d ever want to talk to about this! And then just to make it even better, “I had a miscarriage too. Sucks.” Well, yes, it really does. Why aren’t you more sensitive about it then? I literally cannot fathom why she thought any of this was comforting to me. And I know I am in danger of offending people here but I can’t even describe how different it is if you don’t have a child. She already has a healthy child and seemed to be suggesting miscarriage was no big deal (because I shouldn’t care because my last one was “early”) and I just can’t even.

Anyway, I don’t mean to rehash the whole conversation. It ended badly. She told me that as I was 6 months I should just “not worry about it” and I was just getting more and more upset and I told her that it wasn’t as easy as that and I really did not want to talk about it. It finished with her saying “ok” and me feeling suddenly like I was the bad guy.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I know I handled it badly. I know I’m okay at receiving congratulations from people – if they are people I wanted to tell, and not people who I specifically didn’t want to tell. It is really hard when you open up to someone about loss and your fears about pregnancy after loss and they tell you in a blasé fashion “not to worry”. Speaking from a place of having a healthy child or children. (I’ve lost count of how many people have said to me they had difficulties and whatever but now have two kids or whatever… It is not the comfort they think it is. Unless they are actually empathising it seems extremely cruel to tell people not to worry, like I can’t imagine they were completely carefree about it until they actually had their children.)

I thought I was doing better. I thought maybe the babymoon had done me good. But I’ve spent the whole time since the conversation yesterday feeling bad about it.

I had the NHS growth scan yesterday as well, and although it was fine, it didn’t really put my mind at rest. B’s growth has accelerated – particularly his stomach, which went from about 50th percentile to 100th. So he’s a fatty! This puts me at risk of suspected gestational diabetes. I’m not overly worried since I saw my amazing midwife this morning, but I was kind of mildly worried last night, so the timing probably wasn’t good. I have to go in for a glucose tolerance test in the next week. Also L (amazing midwife) said that sometimes the measurements can vary from scanner to scanner so they just need to rule it out. B is maybe just a big baby. (I’m v small so that seems like sod’s law!) We have the private scan tomorrow so we shall see. I’ve also been given iron tablets (which apparently turn your poo black!) as I’m slightly anaemic, so that at least accounts for the crushing tiredness I’ve been feeling!

T and I are going to the cinema tonight to see The Light Between Oceans. I’m anticipating a massive weepie. (I think it has pregnancy loss in. And adoption. Wonder why I wanted to watch it so badly!) So maybe I need to figure out some lighter things to lift my mood! On the plus side, I spoke with my boss today and he still seems to like me, and he’s even hinting about increased responsibility for me when I get back from mat leave. So it’s not all bad. And I’ve worked from home today and spent lots of time with Dog. It could be worse!

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40 comments

  1. My Perfect Breakdown

    I will never understand some people! Mr. MPB and I were talking last night about a couple we used to be REALLY good friends with – when we told them about miscarriages (after number 3) they vanished from our lives. In fact we live a 5 minutes drive from them and we have NEVER heard from them again.
    I know this isn’t the same situation as yours, but I guess the point of sharing this is that some people are just weird about this stuff. And it sucks. And I’m sorry you were put in that position and made to feel terrible – it’s just not right!

    Like

    • Nara

      Wow, that is crazy. I can’t imagine living 5 min from someone and never seeing them after being really good friends with them! That’s strange! I wonder what would happen if you bumped into them one day?

      I do think some of our friends who had babies probably think we went off radar or were avoiding them (we were!). Like, I really couldn’t bear to see people with babies last year, unless it was really unavoidable. Like family. But the way I see it, people have their own things going on. Like I don’t expect any of my friends to turn up to my baby shower and wouldn’t take offence if they didn’t want to. It’s entirely optional and I know it’s hard for some people or just not interesting to others.

      I don’t mind people who are not interested or whatever. What I do mind is people who are offensive! And I found it hard that I had such a visceral reaction to being contacted by people who I hadn’t told. Like it was a complete overreaction, I can recognise that. I guess this person last night was just more difficult as she wouldn’t give up! I’d rather she’d just gone away when I made it clear I didn’t want to talk about it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. whymeivf

    This is your pregnancy, screw whether you reacted in the right way or not. It’s done now and she knows not to share it about. Not heard of Light between the Oceans – sound like a film I wouldn’t be able to handle – good luck! I’ve been enjoying ‘Call the Midwife’ recently (BBC show) – It is a nice balance of issues and nice birth stories – might be a little more light hearted than your cinema choice?

    Like

    • Nara

      Yes I’ve heard of Call the Midwife! I actually do like really sad things (books and films). We are just back from seeing it and it was a MAJOR weepie! Seriously blubbed my eyes out! It was a really good film but I think you definitely have to be in the right frame of mind to watch it!

      Like

  3. sewingbutterfly

    I think you reacted like everyone else would! She has no business knowing anything you don’t want to share. I am 28 years old and I have had questions from nosey bodies about..
    1. Whether it was planned <– seriously personal question!! From colleagues and acquaintances :-/ the average age of first time mums in my town is 30+
    2. People insisting I must be disappointed it is a boy and not a girl <— I am thrilled my baby is healthy, couldn't give a toss what sex we got!
    3. People telling me their 'friend of a friend' horrific labour and/or stillbirth stories <— because I am not anxious enough, jerks.

    I just ignore them now or point out they are being rude. I don't owe anyone a response and neither do you! She doesn't need to know 'why' beyond "that's what we have decided" end of story!

    Like

    • Nara

      Argh people are so wrong aren’t they?! I have had people ask about gender too. I’m like honestly it was the least of our worries!! Anything would have been absolutely fine!

      I’m not good at saying things to people’s faces / in real time as I tend to mull it over later and get mad/upset!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Arwen

    She’s a dick. I’m sorry she upset you so much. Screw her and her blasé crap!
    Oh light between the oceans was a horribly triggering book!! Be warned, it’s pretty brutal! (though they may soften a lot for film)

    Like

    • Nara

      Umm okay it was REALLY upsetting!! But a good film. Alicia Vikander is absolutely beautiful! I hadn’t read the book and I did “enjoy” the film although it was super upsetting. I think what helped was feeling B kicking throughout (as he tends to kick more at night) but I’m sure if I had watched it this time last year I would have been full on sobbing. Actually I was full on sobbing but managed to wipe my face before the lights came up! It’s one of those films where you know something terrible is going to happen but you’re just waiting for it… eek!
      Yeah, I don’t know why I’m not more used to her saying the wrong thing / being annoying. Well I am, sort of. Except I hadn’t counted on someone else telling her. It’s why I really didn’t want to tell her!

      Like

    • Nara

      Thing is she is nice in real life. But has no concept of not getting everything she wants instantly so can be kind of selfish when it comes to empathising!

      Like

  5. screwyoustork

    Some people just never get it. I had a very distant friend send me a card in the mail to say “congrats” when she heard through another friend that I was pregnant. I thought…how nice, until she ended it by saying that she too knew what it was like to have a high-risk pregnancy because she too was over 35 when she got pregnant – and that I could talk to her if I ever needed support. Um what? Lady, until you’ve given yourself 7 injections a day and witnessed blood on your maternity underwear, don’t talk to me about your “high-risk” pregnancy.

    Like

    • Nara

      Oh jeez I’ve had people like that. My friend with two kids told me she knew what infertility was like because it took her… a year and a half… to have her first child (both naturally no meds). I would have slapped her if she’d been closer! I think people think they’re being empathetic when really they’re rubbing salt in the wound. I have a friend who’s going through chemo and I am really conscious that I have no idea what that is like, and don’t want to say the wrong thing. I would never say “I know how you’re feeling as I once had an operation” FFS.

      Like

  6. EmilyMaine

    Oh man C needs a swift kick. You know what is the issue for me here? Not that she actually thinks those things – people all have different thoughts and notions about stuff – but that she is just lacking some serious social skills not to be able to work out that other people don’t feel that way, specifically YOU as you have expressed to her. FFS. Hope all goes well with the scan. 🙂

    Like

  7. thegreatpuddingclubhunt

    Person C sounds like she is not particularly emotionally intelligent – even to herself! I’m sorry that happened. I think It’s great that you are sharing and writing about your feelings rather than bottling it up.
    Incidentally I read in the BBC news today about miscarriage and its association to PTSD, I think you may be experiencing just that? You were triggered by C. The BBC was reporting the NHS should introduce mental health checks after a miscarriage like they do at post partum check ups.

    Some people seem to have the ability to compartmentalise miscarriage easily – I dont know how they do it, but they are like C. One lady at work told me she had three miscarriages- my heart instantly sunk for her-but then she proceeded to tell me all the insensitive things that didnt make me feel any better. I couldn’t understand why she just didn’t get it, and I still don’t now. It is a mystery to me sometimes I wish I could do that, but then I think it’s healthy to be able to feel sad about something that is very sad.

    On a side note – I highly recommend taking the iron pills with fibre supplements or lots fiberous type foods!!! Not only do the pills turn your poo slightly black they also constipate you! They suck a lot. I hope you do better with them than I am right now 😩

    A big hug for you on all fronts X

    Like

    • Nara

      I suppose I am suffering from some kind of special snowflake syndrome! As in for me it wasn’t “just” a miscarriage. I think it was the culmination of all the decade and whatnot of infertility and the never expecting to get pregnant, and the operations and waiting on waiting lists and then the IVF treatment. For her, her miscarriage was just she got pregnant with no trouble/interventions after having her previous child. And can always try again. So it’s a lot different even though the actual experience of miscarriage is probably similar.

      I think I must have been triggered by her too. I think I really had not expected her to know about the pregnancy and didn’t want to talk with her about it so I was unprepared to respond to her. It almost felt like a violation of my privacy that she knew. I didn’t want her to know. It somehow made it seem less safe for her to know, if that makes sense. Yeah I probably have some unresolved feelings!!

      As for the iron tablets, only on day two so no black poo yet! 😂 Then again I’m not a frequent pooer like you are! 😂 My BFF also takes them for her medical issues and says it definitely gives you black pop! Oh the indignities! 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. LG&LG

    I totally get it. There are people in this world who either get it or don’t and I honestly think it comes down to decency. If they are decent they will have compassion, if not, they will never get it and really refuse to get it. How people can be this way I have no idea, one would think it’s common sense, but I’ve come to find some people just don’t want to be decent, and that’s on them, not you.

    Like

    • Nara

      I honestly don’t know if she is decent or not. I always liked her and got on with her but recognised she was quite self-focused. But I have found it really hard lately. Fortunately I don’t see her much and don’t intend to try and see her again!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ramblesandstruggles

    I really don’t think you reacted badly here – no one knows how to react in these situations so don’t be too hard on yourself, i think you reacted exactly the way I would have. What’s surprising is that she herself had a miscarriage… her responses to you just seem so strange given she must have some idea of the heartache. So pleased all is going well with B’s growth and work as well – positive things to focus on for sure x

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you. Yeah I think our experiences were very different… I think maybe for someone who can get pregnant easily without intervention it is possibly a different experience than for someone like me for whom it was 10 years in the making! And also she already has a healthy child. I think there is a big difference between wondering if you will ever be a mum, versus wanting a sibling for your child. I’m not saying it is easy or anything but I do think it is qualitatively different. Sometimes I just think she doesn’t think she’s being mean or heartless or whatever. She thinks she’s being comforting but she’s not! Thanks for the support! Xx

      Like

  10. girlwithagolddress

    One thing I read after my own miscarriage is another blogger wrote “no one is ever going to say the right thing to you” and it’s something I have to remind myself of ALL the time. People just do not know what to say…and instead of just saying something non-offense like “I am so sorry, I don’t know what to say, but I am so sorry for you” people try (and fail) to say the right thing…which is always, ALWAYS, the wrong thing.
    I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with anything negative at what should be such a positive time in your life. I wouldn’t spend any additional time concerned with how you reacted or your relationship with this individual…she may be a nice enough person (or she may not) and it sounds like at one time you were friendly with her, but infertility and life change people…she’s clearly not someone you need in your life at this time.

    Like

    • Nara

      That is true up to a certain point I think. Like nothing is going to take the pain away. And most people don’t have the experience to know what to say. I suppose for me I would be perfectly fine with someone saying “I am so sorry, that must be awful” or “That sounds ****” – it’s more when people trot out the same old platitudes that it just makes me feel worse, and angry. Like I really really don’t appreciate being told to relax or chill out or whatever! That’s just so insulting!
      I do think I overreacted though which is what is bothering me. I think because I’d protected myself (by not telling people I didn’t want to know) it sort of came out of nowhere. I don’t need her in my life and I’m sure she doesn’t need me in hers so I’m assuming we will be hands off from now on!

      Like

  11. 30yr old nothing

    So I just watched the trailer and I couldn’t get through it lol. I’m going to DL the book tonight!
    As for Person C… I’m sorry you had to encounter her again after phasing her out. Also sorry that she hasn’t changed. I hope you can move passed the yucky feelings quickly.

    Like

    • Nara

      Oh man, I completely did the sobbing / heaving thing in the cinema! It was a good film though!
      Yeah, I have distanced myself from C so I don’t think I’d need to see her again if I don’t want to. She’s good fun in real life, but just has a habit of saying some pretty insensitive things. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  12. RJ

    Wow I’m not a fan of that chick! Seriously people are so insensitive. I always wonder if they are truest clueless or they feel better about themselves by being a jerk.

    Like

  13. flatwhitetogo85

    How could you watch “The Light Between Oceans”?! You masochist! Even watching the trailer made me cry.

    Don’t worry about C. It sounds like she’s not the sort of person that’s sitting worrying about whether she’s upset you!

    As for the platitudes, I admit that I have said a few of these in the past. I know I have asked a few people how far along they were…not because I was making a judgement about how “real” their pregnancy was (and therefore how painful their loss was), but more to show that I was interested to hear their full pregnancy and miscarriage story rather than seeming like I wasn’t interested in the detail (kind of like, if a child passed away, I would ask how old they had been). By reading your blog, it’s been helpful to educate me about what NOT to say. I hate to think that I could have upset people. Although I’ve probably said some silly things, I really can’t understand how anyone could ever think things like “It wasn’t meant to be” are helpful in any way.

    x x x

    Like

    • Nara

      Omg it was an amazing film though. I mean really beautiful. And goes some way to articulating grief. Not sure how that works for the couple who are a couple in real life. Must be so weird!

      The platitudes are strange but they are really upsetting. I know people do it to try and make people feel better but they are one of the things that made me feel worse! And probably why I didn’t tell many people. X

      Like

  14. stealingnectar

    Sounds like you just stood up for yourself which was warranted – and that your friend is very surface-level (which you already knew). I am sorry. Some convos are just so annoying (and hurtful). Xx

    Like

  15. Pingback: NaBloPoMo roundup | From zero to zygote
  16. omayra5

    Hi! I’m sorry you has to go thru that! I had similar situation last year with my in laws . I been having trouble getting pregnant and had 2 miscarriages, last year I was pregnant with my baby boy when we announced it to the family they were the first to say

    “why would you even tell anyone”
    “you should wait till you are at least 3 months when your risks lowers”
    ( I was 3 1/2 months)
    ” well you know people loss their babies at 3 1/2 months”
    when I was 25 weeks

    ” we didn’t think this baby was going to last”

    2 days later my water broke. My baby did not survived the prematurely

    BUT!!! BUT…..
    I have not given up pregnant again and this time , even tho they are my in-laws they are not invited to join me in this happiness.

    Same as you no one knows but my parents because I know they wish me well.
    I completely understand. Like my husband said “you want them to share the joy but joy is not what they feel for you!”

    some people just feed on other misery.

    Bless you and your baby!

    Like

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