Author Topic: It's not like your baby is really sick...  (Read 8290 times)

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DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #30 on: January 18, 2013, 04:39:28 PM »
Judah, you left out the next sentence in that paragraph, which is a crucial one to what she was saying with the one you highlighted.

Quote
And I would do this until I know, for a fact, that she wants me say the "well, at least you don't have it as bad as those whose kids are really sick" statements.

Err on the side of being gentle and letting her get the emotions out.  It's better to err on that side and then move to "your baby will be fine" than the other way around.  The first might not comfort you but it can be changed fairly quickly to what does comfort you.  The second can be a stab in the back and hurtful to someone and can't be as easily undone.

And it does boil down to a friend's paying attention to the person and being attentive to what a person in pain needs from them.  If you really want to comfort someone, you'll be paying attention to them enough that you can suss out which style will be the best and do that for them.  It's the people who just blare ahead and think they're being supportive without actually paying attention to the person that are doing the most damage of all.  If I were with TurtleDove and continued to act in a way that doesn't help her see that things are ok and that her baby will be ok, I'm being rude.  But, likewise, if I'm saying "It's not like your baby is really sick" to someone who would benefit from a hug, I'm not being the best comforter I can to that person.
 
 
 
 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 04:43:35 PM by DottyG »

Judah

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2013, 05:06:51 PM »
Judah, you left out the next sentence in that paragraph, which is a crucial one to what she was saying with the one you highlighted.

Quote
And I would do this until I know, for a fact, that she wants me say the "well, at least you don't have it as bad as those whose kids are really sick" statements.

Err on the side of being gentle and letting her get the emotions out.  It's better to err on that side and then move to "your baby will be fine" than the other way around.  The first might not comfort you but it can be changed fairly quickly to what does comfort you.  The second can be a stab in the back and hurtful to someone and can't be as easily undone.

And it does boil down to a friend's paying attention to the person and being attentive to what a person in pain needs from them.  If you really want to comfort someone, you'll be paying attention to them enough that you can suss out which style will be the best and do that for them.  It's the people who just blare ahead and think they're being supportive without actually paying attention to the person that are doing the most damage of all.  If I were with TurtleDove and continued to act in a way that doesn't help her see that things are ok and that her baby will be ok, I'm being rude.  But, likewise, if I'm saying "It's not like your baby is really sick" to someone who would benefit from a hug, I'm not being the best comforter I can to that person.

Again, it's a personal thing. I would prefer not to be "comforted" in that way. It's just as easy to try to provide my kind of support and move to hugs than it is to go the other way.  But that's not my point. My point is that when people are doing their best to comfort you, it's best to try accept their efforts in a positive way, in the way that they are meant.
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DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #32 on: January 18, 2013, 05:15:02 PM »
Quote
It's just as easy to try to provide my kind of support and move to hugs than it is to go the other way.

And that's my point.  In my opinion, it's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way.

Quote
I would prefer not to be "comforted" in that way.

No.  You wouldn't.  Hence my last paragraph of the one you quoted.
 
Edited for TurtleDove and Judah
 

 
 
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 07:04:50 PM by DottyG »

Judah

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #33 on: January 18, 2013, 05:22:46 PM »
And that's my point.  It's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way.

It depends entirely on the person. Telling me, "It must be so hard to be away form your baby right now, do you want to talk about it?" would be just as upsetting to me hearing, "He'll be fine and he won't remember a thing" is to the subject in the OP.
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TurtleDove

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2013, 05:25:34 PM »
And that's my point.  It's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way.

Some of us are saying we disagree with your opinion about this.  Neither of us needs to be wrong. I have told the board I would not react well to the brand of comfort you propose - it would panic me.

I agree with Judah, especially this, which was my point: "My point is that when people are doing their best to comfort you, it's best to try accept their efforts in a positive way, in the way that they are meant."

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2013, 05:25:56 PM »
Quote
It depends entirely on the person. Telling me, "It must be so hard to be away form your baby right now, do you want to talk about it?" would be just as upsetting to me hearing, "He'll be fine and he won't remember a thing" is to the subject in the OP.

Hence my last paragraph of the one Judah quoted.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 07:05:15 PM by DottyG »

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #36 on: January 18, 2013, 05:26:25 PM »
Quote
Some of us are saying we disagree with your opinion about this.  Neither of us needs to be wrong. I have told the board I would not react well to the brand of comfort you propose - it would panic me.

Hence my last paragraph of the one Judah quoted.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 07:05:27 PM by DottyG »

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #37 on: January 18, 2013, 05:27:35 PM »
Since it appears it's not being noticed, I'll repeat it!

Quote
And it does boil down to a friend's paying attention to the person and being attentive to what a person in pain needs from them.  If you really want to comfort someone, you'll be paying attention to them enough that you can suss out which style will be the best and do that for them.  It's the people who just blare ahead and think they're being supportive without actually paying attention to the person that are doing the most damage of all.  If I were with TurtleDove and continued to act in a way that doesn't help her see that things are ok and that her baby will be ok, I'm being rude.  But, likewise, if I'm saying "It's not like your baby is really sick" to someone who would benefit from a hug, I'm not being the best comforter I can to that person.

TurtleDove, I even went to the trouble of mentioning you by name in it the first time!


jemma

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #38 on: January 18, 2013, 05:30:25 PM »
 If she wants sympathy, I would recommend your friend saying "I know my baby will probably fine, and won't even remember this adventure in a few years, but its still hard to not be with him right now and (whatever her other issues are).  My children have food allergies which will limit what they can eat and where they can go possibly for the rest of their lives.  On the other hand hand, any serious problems are probably preventable and almost certainly treatable.  I think people often don't want to "feed the drama llama" and are likely to minimize concerns that seem overblown. In my experience starting with the good and then giving the bad makes people take your concerns more seriously because it seems more proportional.  And yes, I do have more experience than I want convincing people to take these health issues seriously, though that is a whole different matter....

TurtleDove

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #39 on: January 18, 2013, 05:31:09 PM »
DottyG, I am not certain I am understanding why you are responding as you are.  I disagreed with your continued assertions that this statement is fact: "It's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way."

I am not advocating any particular way of comforting anyone.  I am advocating taking well meaning words in the light they were intended.  For the record, I have quite a bit of experience in this myself.

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #40 on: January 18, 2013, 05:33:56 PM »
Quote
I am not certain I am understanding why you are responding as you are.

We agree on that much at least! :D  I am not certain I'm understanding why you are responding as you are, either!


DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #41 on: January 18, 2013, 05:40:51 PM »
I've put an "In my opinion" in the sentence for you so that it's not coming across as fact.  I felt it was implied, but maybe it's better actually in there.


Judah

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #42 on: January 18, 2013, 05:50:19 PM »
Quote
It's just as easy to try to provide my kind of support and move to hugs than it is to go the other way.

And that's my point.  In my opinion, it's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way.

Quote
I would prefer not to be "comforted" in that way.

No.  You wouldn't.  Hence my last paragraph.
 
Edited for TurtleDove

Ah, see this is my confusion. Your last paragraph is the one that says "And that's my point.  In my opinion, it's not "just as easy."  Because the two ways create a different result and going to the other doesn't work the same way".
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bah12

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #43 on: January 18, 2013, 05:57:46 PM »
[I understand where you are coming from, but I think it's important to understand not everyone thinks or feels the same way.  For me, positivity and looking on the bright side is what I need when I am hurting. If this happened to me, I would imagine I would be grounded and calmed focusing on what I did have (a baby who would be healthy and coming home) rather than what I had lost, which would likely panic me.  Obviously not everyone agrees.

For others, like you mom, positive comments apparently upset her.  It doesn't mean your mom is right and I am wrong, or vice versa, just that people are different.  To let someone "have it" when they are trying to be supportive and are likely saying what they would want to hear if the positions were reversed seems counterproductive.  To gently explain what you need instead would make sense, depending on the relationship.

I agree that everyone manages hard situations in different ways.  I would like to point out though, that you really can't say how you'd be until you go through it yourself (this is true for anything).  I too, like to look at the bright side of things and be positive.  And like I said before, normally people pointing out the good things makes me feel better.  But, take into account that you (general) are speaking to someone who probably isn't their normal, rational self.  Post partum, I was emotional, irrational, and illogical.  And I haven't talked to a single mother who has had a baby in the NICU that wasn't the same way.  Sure, there may be someone there that would love to hear the "at least the baby isn't really sick" comment, but I would err on the side of the majority and think that it probably wouldn't be helpful.

And I think telling a mother in this kind of mental state of heartache and stress not to take it personally, won't help at the time.  Logically, she probably already knows this, but emotionally she may not be able to get herself there. 

In a situation where I'm trying to comfort someone who is going through this, I would likely focus on what the mom is feeling and try to be understanding that she is going through something rough...even if things are guaranteed to get better. And I would do this until I know, for a fact, that she wants me say the "well, at least you don't have it as bad as those whose kids are really sick" statements.

I think Turtledove's point is that this approach won't be comforting to everyone in the situation.  I've been there. DS was born 5 weeks early and was in NICU. In the begining his chances of surviving were remote. My emotional state would have been much worse if the people around me had been trying to assuage my feelings. Instead I needed assurances that DS would get better, that there would be no lasting damage, and that his situation would, in the end, make us all stronger.  Fortunately, I got what I needed. ..mostly.

My point is that everyone handles stress differently and what is reassuring to me might be insensitive to you. Since we can't really know where someone else is coming from, it's best to take their efforts at comfort in the best possible light.
[/quote]

What you are describing is a very different scenario than, I think, the one we are debating.  Your baby was sick.   I can't even imagine what I would say to a mother who was feeling the stress of wondering if her baby would survive.  In that case, I actually have no idea if it's better to throw out "everything will be ok" or focus on the parents' stress.

I'm talking about the situation in the OP, and the situation  I was in with my own baby in the NICU after she was born 5 1/2 weeks early...and that is, having someone tell me "at least she's not sick" and "you can bring her home soon enough" were not helpful.  And since I was in the part of the NICU with other babies in similar situations to my DD (i.e. there to gain weight, get jaundice treatment, or for a mandatory stay because of prematurity and not actually in a life threatening situation), my experience is that most mothers felt as I did.  Extreme stress and sadness over not getting to bring baby home and the feeling of separation from the child.  All of us would have appreciated "how are you doing?" and "this must be so hard to leave your baby in the hospital" over having our feelings minimized.

My point is simple.  Of course people react to things differently, but I have never met someone who got offended at a "how are you doing?" question.  Maybe she says "I'm a mess, I just need someone to tell me it's going to be ok" or maybe she says "I'm a mess, rationally, I know everything is fine, but I miss my baby so much, I feel so alone and empty."  Then take your cues from her.  Jumping in with positives does sort of sound like you're (general) minimizing her feelings.  She doesn't have to have a sick baby to feel upset about being in the NICU.

Judah

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2013, 06:05:32 PM »
[I understand where you are coming from, but I think it's important to understand not everyone thinks or feels the same way.  For me, positivity and looking on the bright side is what I need when I am hurting. If this happened to me, I would imagine I would be grounded and calmed focusing on what I did have (a baby who would be healthy and coming home) rather than what I had lost, which would likely panic me.  Obviously not everyone agrees.

For others, like you mom, positive comments apparently upset her.  It doesn't mean your mom is right and I am wrong, or vice versa, just that people are different.  To let someone "have it" when they are trying to be supportive and are likely saying what they would want to hear if the positions were reversed seems counterproductive.  To gently explain what you need instead would make sense, depending on the relationship.

I agree that everyone manages hard situations in different ways.  I would like to point out though, that you really can't say how you'd be until you go through it yourself (this is true for anything).  I too, like to look at the bright side of things and be positive.  And like I said before, normally people pointing out the good things makes me feel better.  But, take into account that you (general) are speaking to someone who probably isn't their normal, rational self.  Post partum, I was emotional, irrational, and illogical.  And I haven't talked to a single mother who has had a baby in the NICU that wasn't the same way.  Sure, there may be someone there that would love to hear the "at least the baby isn't really sick" comment, but I would err on the side of the majority and think that it probably wouldn't be helpful.

And I think telling a mother in this kind of mental state of heartache and stress not to take it personally, won't help at the time.  Logically, she probably already knows this, but emotionally she may not be able to get herself there. 

In a situation where I'm trying to comfort someone who is going through this, I would likely focus on what the mom is feeling and try to be understanding that she is going through something rough...even if things are guaranteed to get better. And I would do this until I know, for a fact, that she wants me say the "well, at least you don't have it as bad as those whose kids are really sick" statements.

I think Turtledove's point is that this approach won't be comforting to everyone in the situation.  I've been there. DS was born 5 weeks early and was in NICU. In the begining his chances of surviving were remote. My emotional state would have been much worse if the people around me had been trying to assuage my feelings. Instead I needed assurances that DS would get better, that there would be no lasting damage, and that his situation would, in the end, make us all stronger.  Fortunately, I got what I needed. ..mostly.

My point is that everyone handles stress differently and what is reassuring to me might be insensitive to you. Since we can't really know where someone else is coming from, it's best to take their efforts at comfort in the best possible light.

What you are describing is a very different scenario than, I think, the one we are debating.  Your baby was sick.   I can't even imagine what I would say to a mother who was feeling the stress of wondering if her baby would survive.  In that case, I actually have no idea if it's better to throw out "everything will be ok" or focus on the parents' stress.

I'm talking about the situation in the OP, and the situation  I was in with my own baby in the NICU after she was born 5 1/2 weeks early...and that is, having someone tell me "at least she's not sick" and "you can bring her home soon enough" were not helpful.  And since I was in the part of the NICU with other babies in similar situations to my DD (i.e. there to gain weight, get jaundice treatment, or for a mandatory stay because of prematurity and not actually in a life threatening situation), my experience is that most mothers felt as I did.  Extreme stress and sadness over not getting to bring baby home and the feeling of separation from the child.  All of us would have appreciated "how are you doing?" and "this must be so hard to leave your baby in the hospital" over having our feelings minimized.

My point is simple.  Of course people react to things differently, but I have never met someone who got offended at a "how are you doing?" question.  Maybe she says "I'm a mess, I just need someone to tell me it's going to be ok" or maybe she says "I'm a mess, rationally, I know everything is fine, but I miss my baby so much, I feel so alone and empty."  Then take your cues from her.  Jumping in with positives does sort of sound like you're (general) minimizing her feelings.  She doesn't have to have a sick baby to feel upset about being in the NICU.
[/quote]

You've totally missed my point, which is that when well meaning people are sincerely offering they're best efforts at comfort, it's best to accept their words in the way they are meant. It doesn't matter how sick the baby is.
Ask for what you want. Let's be clear on this one:
Subtle hints don't work.
Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
Just say it!

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