Author Topic: It's not like your baby is really sick...  (Read 9431 times)

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MariaE

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #45 on: January 18, 2013, 06:37:38 PM »
It most of all sounds like you're talking at cross-purposes. Judah, Turtledove etc. are arguing how the mother should act (i.e. assume the speakers mean well), whereas DottyG, bah12, etc. are arguing how the speakers should act. The two aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, I agree with both sides :D
« Last Edit: January 19, 2013, 03:00:58 AM by MariaE »
 
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DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2013, 07:01:43 PM »
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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".

See the requote in Reply #37 (what is being referred to as "my last paragraph").


oogyda

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2013, 07:39:19 PM »
I'm sorry, I can't get past the phrase "Just jaundice"!!!!

Yes, it's common.  Yes, it's easily treated in all but a minuscule percentage.

However, the resulting complications from jaundice if left untreated, or if it does not respond to treatment are frightening and life changing.  Nobody wants to see their child develop brain damage of any severity!! 

Just jaundice, indeed>
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Allyson

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #48 on: January 18, 2013, 08:46:32 PM »

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.

I love this, and I think it's really true. Absolutely yes it is understandable that someone in an awful situation might not hold back their emotions at being 'wrongly' comforted, as it were. And I wouldn't necessarily hold someone responsible for what they said in a situation like that. But at the same time, if I said the wrong thing and someone 'let me have it' or 'told me off', I would probably avoid trying to talk to them about it. Not because I am insensitive, but because I would feel I had no idea what I could say that would be better, not worse, and walking on a minefield.

When my boyfriend was seriously ill and in hospital, someone tried to deflect with humour--I'm normally a very lighthearted person so I can see why she would think that. But, literally the first words out of her mouth were 'I hear you tried to kill your boyfriend!' You could've heard a pin drop, everyone just stared at her. I sounded rather brittle when I said 'not really up for that kind of joking right now'. And then quickly started talking about other things. (Not really sure if I have a point with that story, just my own experience with that kind of thing.)

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #49 on: January 18, 2013, 08:48:46 PM »
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someone 'let me have it' or 'told me off'

Who suggested that in this thread?

The OP asked
 
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mum doesn't know how to respond without offending these people who we genuinely trying to be helpful! I was hoping ehell could give me some good responses I could pass on to friend?

I'm not reading that as her wanting to "let someone have it" or "tell them off".
 
 
 

TurtleDove

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #50 on: January 18, 2013, 09:42:42 PM »


When I was born (oh-so-many years ago  ::)), I was very premature and had to stay in the hospital for two months. My parents lost another baby, my twin, at the time. I was OK (miraculously, really), but I still had to stay until I made weight.

My folks lived in a rural town. The hospital was a half-hour away. They only had one car, and dad needed it for work.

This was really rough on them, especially Mom. She went as often as she could, but it wasn't always possible. (Dad would make side trips to visit me, even though it meant he had about a five-minute lunch "hour.") But people would say, "Oh, at least this one is OK!" "Oh, at least you know she'll be coming home!" :o  To this day, she says she's not sure how she managed to not let them have it. (Personally, I think she should have.)

This has already been addressed, but since DottyG asked, this is where that reference comes from.  Some of us think it is better to take well-meaning comments in the way they were intended rather than lashing out at someone who failed to read your mind.  As I already addressed, for me, I would appreciate the exact comments that elephantschild's mom found offensive.

kareng57

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #51 on: January 18, 2013, 10:26:39 PM »


When I was born (oh-so-many years ago  ::)), I was very premature and had to stay in the hospital for two months. My parents lost another baby, my twin, at the time. I was OK (miraculously, really), but I still had to stay until I made weight.

My folks lived in a rural town. The hospital was a half-hour away. They only had one car, and dad needed it for work.

This was really rough on them, especially Mom. She went as often as she could, but it wasn't always possible. (Dad would make side trips to visit me, even though it meant he had about a five-minute lunch "hour.") But people would say, "Oh, at least this one is OK!" "Oh, at least you know she'll be coming home!" :o  To this day, she says she's not sure how she managed to not let them have it. (Personally, I think she should have.)

This has already been addressed, but since DottyG asked, this is where that reference comes from.  Some of us think it is better to take well-meaning comments in the way they were intended rather than lashing out at someone who failed to read your mind.  As I already addressed, for me, I would appreciate the exact comments that elephantschild's mom found offensive.


That's exactly my feeling.  DottyG, you seem to not understand that your own feelings don't necessarily reflect other peoples' feelings.  For some people, an "I've been there, and everything turned out fine" could have more value than a hug.  Everyone reacts to these things differently.

Now, if I was talking to a mom of a newborn who was hospitalised with jaundice, I certainly wouldn't treat as though it was nothing.  But if I said "it happened to my child too, I know how difficult it must be but it was fine in the end" and she lashed out with something like "no, you DON'T KNOW" - well, I'd probably just avoid her for a while, figuring that nothing I said would make her feel better.

DottyG

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #52 on: January 18, 2013, 11:05:08 PM »
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DottyG, you seem to not understand that your own feelings don't necessarily reflect other peoples' feelings.

I'm fully aware of the fact that my feelings don't reflect those of everyone else. Thanks.  I figured that's what the "in my opinion" covered.

I am unsure on why I'm getting flack when I have clearly said that different people need different comforting styles.* And a good friend pays attention to the clues as to which style to use. I even stated that trying to "comfort" someone like TD (I even used her name in my example) by continuing to offer hugs would be rude. Likewise, continuing to "comfort" another person by saying "it could be worse" when they need a hug is rude. That makes sense to me; comfort someone in the way that does just that the best.

I stand corrected on the fact that someone did state that they'd "let someone have it" for using the wrong style. I'm sorry for not remembering that someone did say that.



* Just copying part of what I said - but there is more in the actual post - "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."


ETA: and I do understand TD's statement that it's best to try to look at a comment as being an attempt at being comforting instead of jumping to the idea that they're being insensitive. I also think that may be hard to ask of someone who's in pain at the time. But I do see TD's point with that. Better to assume kindness unless proven otherwise.




« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 11:24:54 PM by DottyG »

Emmy

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #53 on: January 19, 2013, 07:13:36 AM »
It sounds like most of the comforters are missing the point of the OP's friend's feelings.  It sounds like the child is not in any grave danger and the OP's friend is not worried about his survival, but she is struggling with dealing with her child not being home with her and missing the bonding time.  The remarks are well intentioned, but missing the point because they seemed focused on telling the OP to cheer up and that her son will get better soon.  I imagine the type of comfort people want depends not only on the person, but the type of situation. 

I think wording is important no matter what style of comfort is used.  Phrases like "it's not like your baby is really sick" or "it's just jaundice" sound like they are minimizing the parents feelings.  Saying something "I know having your baby in the hospital for any reason is difficult and scary, but jaundice is highly curable and your baby will be home soon" is still a positive approach, but doesn't minimize the parent's feelings. 

Several people posted something like this:

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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).

It kindly lets people know that she expects her baby to be fine, but the issue she is struggling with now is that she misses having him at home.


gen xer

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #54 on: January 19, 2013, 09:39:59 AM »

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.

I love this, and I think it's really true. Absolutely yes it is understandable that someone in an awful situation might not hold back their emotions at being 'wrongly' comforted, as it were. And I wouldn't necessarily hold someone responsible for what they said in a situation like that. But at the same time, if I said the wrong thing and someone 'let me have it' or 'told me off', I would probably avoid trying to talk to them about it. Not because I am insensitive, but because I would feel I had no idea what I could say that would be better, not worse, and walking on a minefield.


I agree with this....and to be honest while I understand that someone may be going through a difficult time and be more emotional than normal it is no excuse for rudeness by "letting someone have it".  Reading all these reactions and realizing that anything you say could be the wrong thing to say can make for a very stilted, awkward environment.  Maybe the less said the better - just be there, to listen, to help, whatever.

Ceallach

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #55 on: January 19, 2013, 06:15:48 PM »
I think we're getting caught up in"right"vs. "wrong", when such a thing doesn't exist. 

People shouldn't minimize the feelings of those around them or imply that their situation is trivial - it's unhelpful even if well-meaning.   I don't think anybody gets to decide how stressful/upsetting the particular situation is for the mother in question, but it's irrelevant to the question of dealing politely with it.      On the other hand, those who are the recipient of thoughtless but well-meaning comments also should handle these politely and graciously.   In etiquette there's no such thing as "X behaviour justifies Y".   Each person is responsible for their own conduct.   
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Elegiac

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #56 on: January 22, 2013, 12:44:04 PM »
Hugs to your friend during this difficult time.

Yes, most people know that the baby will be all right. However, mum has just gone through major surgery, dealing with changes in her body and a fluctuation of hormones - top that off with the fact that she can't see her baby.  Terms like 'It's just jaundice' do not help the situation.

I would probably respond with 'I know you mean well, but with everything going on right now, I'm overwhelmed and just want my baby home with me'. People who mean well don't always take the big picture into consideration - this isn't just about baby being in the hospital, but mum going through a lot, and it is their first baby.

artk2002

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #57 on: January 22, 2013, 02:20:22 PM »
Unless you *both* have a particular sense of humor (we use "could be worse, could be raining" a lot), trying to comfort someone by pointing out how much worse it could be is just a terrible idea. There are so many positive things that could be said instead that I don't know why someone would take that tack at all.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain

Mikayla

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #58 on: January 22, 2013, 03:14:11 PM »

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.

I've read through to the end, but this is where I land.  In fact, if someone is in pain for any reason, it's always best to seek out the comfort of those who provide the type of comfort you need.

For example, my brain processes things logically, not emotionally.  It doesn't mean I'm not compassionate; it means I express it in terms of logic or facts.   So about 5 years ago when a good friend had a jaundice baby and called, of course I felt terrible, but my knee jerk reaction was to make sure she understood that this term applied to newborns is nowhere near as alarming as an adult who wakes up with yellow eyeballs. 

She knew me well enough to know that if she needed hugs and tears, there were others better much better equipped to provide this.  And nobody was wrong and nobody was right.  It's just who we are.

I do think balance is achievable between comforters being careful how to express things vs comfortees being careful how they receive things.  But the latter is more my gut reaction. 


artk2002

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Re: It's not like your baby is really sick...
« Reply #59 on: January 22, 2013, 03:29:37 PM »
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.

My response is that the road to (e)Hell is paved with good intentions. If your best effort is hurtful to other people, then just don't do it. If I'm in pain, scared, whatever, someone's good intentions aren't going to come through if the words are hurtful. I don't have any energy left over to analyze someone's statements to figure out that they "meant well."

Discretion is the better part of valor. There are lots of things that one can say that don't involve "gee, it coulda been lots worse."
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. -Mark Twain