Author Topic: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation  (Read 7742 times)

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Calistoga

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Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« on: March 25, 2013, 11:17:33 AM »
BG- I work with a girl (Amanda) who was pregnant up until last month. She went in to pre-term labor and delivered at 24 weeks, and very sadly, lost her baby. She has just now returned to work and is obviously still quite upset. It's a small restaurant, so we all see each other 5-6 times a week and everyone on staff is doing all that we can to be supportive in her time of grief.

BG- I am also pregnant, and didn't tell my boss until about 2 weeks before Amanda lost her baby. The rest of the staff ended up finding out while Amanda was on leave.

BG- The restaurant has had many pregnant workers through the years who have done their job without issue while pregnant, but they have all be exclusively front of house employees. I'm the first back of house employee that's worked while pregnant, and after Amanda's loss, the rest of the staff has watched my like a hawk to make sure I'm not doing any non-doctor approved things. Other Mama's on staff occasionally ask baby related questions.

Think that's all the BG info for this one.

When Amanda first returned I was very worried that she would in some way resent me, or that the baby talk would make her uncomfortable, so I tried my best to keep things quiet out of respect. So I was very surprised when she actually sought me out to ask how things were going, how I was feeling, when I was due etc. We've talked a few times before now, but we were never really friends, just friendly co-workers.

We've sat and talked about the baby she lost, and how she hopes to get pregnant again soon. All in all she seemed much more optimistic than I would have expected, but I still don't go out of my way to talk about baby stuff with her because I still worry I may upset her. But when she asks questions, I don't mind answering and I listen when she wants to talk about her loss.

Now comes the issue.

Recently she's made a lot of comments that, frankly, kind of upset and scare me. I came in quite exhausted from a long night at work and an early morning wake up from my niece and nephew (we babysat over night) and decided to have a cup of coffee to try and shake the sleepy. I go to start a pot and Amanda asks if I want her to start some. I say sure, since I'm admittedly unfamiliar with our coffee machine. I lean on the counter and mention that I haven't had coffee in almost a month, but I need the pick me up that day. Amanda nods and says "Well. You know.  You shouldn't have any caffeine. It will make you get a UTI and that can make you go in to pre-term labor like I did. I don't know if that's why it happened, but it might be." I didn't know how to respond, so I nodded and got a glass of water instead, then went to start my shift without coffee, because she'd kind of scared me off it.

Later that day, I went to our break room to get some Tylenol from my purse. Amanda was in there filling our sugar bin. I pop two Tylenol, and Amanda whips around and looks at me. "Was that aspirin?!" "No, it's Tylenol." "Oh, ok. You shouldn't take that either but it's not as bad as Aspirin." she paused and filled the bin up some more. I didn't reply because I was still kind of taken aback. She finished and said "They say you can take Tylenol but I don't think I would if I got pregnant again. I don't think I'd feel safe taking anything because of what happened." She left the room, I still didn't respond.

She's made other small comments, and asked what I consider to be personal questions- do I smoke, do I have sex a lot, do I go to the gym- and then commented that she did, which might be why she lost her baby.

I'm already really nervous about my pregnancy because I've had a miscarriage before. My doctor has urged me to avoid stressing myself out, because it's not good for me or the baby to be all freaked out. I understand (Well. I assume) that Amanda's heart is in the right place, and I appreciate concern...but she's seriously freaking me out by saying these things.

Is there a way that I can politely and gently let her know that she's really stressing me out?

Thipu1

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 11:29:11 AM »
Amanda is going through a very difficult time.  She's probably trying to figure out why she miscarried and is blaming herself for many things she shouldn't.  Unfortunately, these thoughts are coming out as criticisms of you. It's not a good situation for anyone.

Given the circumstances, I think it would be all right to let Amanda know that you have discussed these topics with your doctor and are following her/his instructions.  You can do this gently but firmly, especially since you've been through a miscarriage yourself. 


Tea Drinker

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2013, 11:32:20 AM »
Maybe "Amanda, I know you're trying to help, but when you talk about my choices and say I might lose the baby, it stresses me out. My doctor says that it's important that I avoid stress. So I need to avoid that sort of conversation." Then either change the subject (possibly to something directly work-related) or just walk away.

(If I were a friend of Amanda's, I'd be suggesting that she stop blaming herself for what happened, but your main goal here has to be to protect yourself. If changing the subject helps her as well, great, but if she insists on those what-if conversations, she has family and non-work friends to have them with.)
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Fragglerocker

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2013, 11:36:03 AM »
What a tough situation--probably for both of you.  Your coworker/friend is clearly still searching for answers as she doesn't know exactly why she lost her child (it sounds like nobody was able to give her an answer as to the cause), and you, obviously, want to be able to get through your day without having someone scrutinize your every move and constantly drag the specter of potential preterm labor or miscarriage over your head.   I can kind of relate--I'm 37 weeks pregnant now and a friend of mine has had multiple (very early) miscarriages (chemical pregnancies actually) and so the whole situation of talking about a pregnancy when I know she's struggling is difficult.  Kudos to you for how you've handled it so far--letting her bring it up and take the lead and being very kind and sensitive as to her feelings.

I think what I would do if I were in the same boat as you is maybe say, "Thanks Amanda--I've checked with my doctor and ___ (fill in whatever you're doing--drinking coffee, taking Tylenol) is okay with her/him."  And move on.  She might get the hint, she might not--but given what you have said about the background, I personally wouldn't want to take a more confrontational approach, but that's me.    Perhaps your silence (understandably stunned silence) has been taken by her as your desire to keep hearing her "tips" to avoid miscarriage? 

(BTW--all of what you're doing (as described) is OK by my doc, too.  So it sounds like what she is doing is latching on to anything that, if you are doing it to excess (such as the caffeine), could be problematic.)

lovepickles

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2013, 11:37:09 AM »
Congratulations!

Honestly it sounds like she is dealing with this issue quite well given her comments. She is obviously working through her grief and at the same time giving too much advice to a new pregnant coworker/kinda friend. This is all really normal stuff with the exception of tacking on mention of the death of her baby. That kills me and I, too, hate to be insensitive so I agree with you that it is a delicate and uncomfortable situation.

You could respond in several ways, depending on the personalities involved. You could abstain from the "risky" behaviors to avoid unpleasant conversation. (kidding) Or you could just say something along the lines of "Thanks for expressing your concern. I know this is a tough topic to talk about and I do want to be here for you to work through it. What happened to you was simply terrible ... but for my sake I've got to focus on the positive in order to stay sane." That would be my initial response. It is likely that she will slip up a few times. When she does just bean dip a more pleasant baby related topic or a new topic altogether until she can readjust her urge to comment.

If she continues beyond that adjustment period I would take a more direct approach and say that you need to take a step back from baby talk with her because it is upsetting you to hear of the death of her baby so frequently in relation to your pregnancy. It is a fear all pregnant women have and in this case her nightmare came true. I wish you the best of health during this happy time.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 11:38:46 AM by lovepickles »

WillyNilly

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2013, 12:02:23 PM »
I think you have handled it well so far. But if it continues you need to say something. I think I would try something like " Amanda I understand you are trying to work through what happened to you and your baby. It was a tragedy. But you need to stop blaming yourself. And you need to stop trying to scare me. I promise you I am informed of the dangers of various activities and I'm taking active steps to protect my baby. And one of the things I need to do is avoid being needlessly stressed out. From now I'm insisting on if you don't have something positive to say to me about my pregnancy, don't say anything to me at all. Its not fair to me, or to you, to start assigning blame over what happened. I don't think you caused your miscarriage and you need to stop accusing me endangering my baby."

And if she doesn't stop, I think you need to speak to your manager. Amanda is a waitress, not a Dr, and its not ok for her make your workplace a hostile environment, no matter how tragic her situation.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2013, 12:07:24 PM »
Congratulations!

Honestly it sounds like she is dealing with this issue quite well given her comments. She is obviously working through her grief and at the same time giving too much advice to a new pregnant coworker/kinda friend. This is all really normal stuff with the exception of tacking on mention of the death of her baby. That kills me and I, too, hate to be insensitive so I agree with you that it is a delicate and uncomfortable situation.

You could respond in several ways, depending on the personalities involved. You could abstain from the "risky" behaviors to avoid unpleasant conversation. (kidding) Or you could just say something along the lines of "Thanks for expressing your concern. I know this is a tough topic to talk about and I do want to be here for you to work through it. What happened to you was simply terrible ... but for my sake I've got to focus on the positive in order to stay sane." That would be my initial response. It is likely that she will slip up a few times. When she does just bean dip a more pleasant baby related topic or a new topic altogether until she can readjust her urge to comment.

If she continues beyond that adjustment period I would take a more direct approach and say that you need to take a step back from baby talk with her because it is upsetting you to hear of the death of her baby so frequently in relation to your pregnancy. It is a fear all pregnant women have and in this case her nightmare came true. I wish you the best of health during this happy time.

I like this approach. 

BeagleMommy

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2013, 12:08:44 PM »
I would stick to something like "I've discussed this with my doctor and we've worked out a program that works for me.".  Don't go into too much detail.

Amanda is searching for a reason for her miscarriage where there just may not be one.  It's sad, but a normal reaction to such a loss.  Good luck.

MamaMootz

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2013, 12:14:01 PM »
I understand and feel badly that Amanda is looking for answers that she will never have.

However, she is crossing the line when it comes to you. She is lecturing you and telling you what to do and scaring you.

I would continue with whatever behavior my doc has sanctioned and the next time she brings it up, simply say "my doctor is OK with [behavior]. Bean dip?" And if she carries on, then it's time to say, "Amanda, I am sorry for your loss, but you have to stop scaring me. My doctor has advised that excess stress is not good for the baby."

And if it continues, you will more than likely have to have a sit down w/your boss.
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snowdragon

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2013, 12:18:08 PM »
"I've discussed this with my doctor and we decided this is what's best for me and my baby. I know you are protective because of what you are going through, but I need to do what my doctor advises me.  Please know that I value your friendship but these type of comments scare me and I know that you want what's best for this baby, so please refrain from giving me medical advice as I said I did discuss this with my doctor."

  Yes, Amanda is going through  a rough time but she is interfering in the OP's medical decisions and there is no excuse for that. If she can't handle letting others making their own decisions then she isn't handling being back at work well.  Someone needs to let her know that this interference is not acceptable ( what happens if she tries this with a customer?) - perhaps someone who is not so involved, but it needs to stop - yesterday.  Maybe you can tell her once that this interference is not wanted ( kindly, of course) and if that does not stop it ask your boss to tell her that she's over stepped and that she needs to back off.

Fragglerocker

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 12:20:37 PM »
I understand and feel badly that Amanda is looking for answers that she will never have.

However, she is crossing the line when it comes to you. She is lecturing you and telling you what to do and scaring you.

I would continue with whatever behavior my doc has sanctioned and the next time she brings it up, simply say "my doctor is OK with [behavior]. Bean dip?" And if she carries on, then it's time to say, "Amanda, I am sorry for your loss, but you have to stop scaring me. My doctor has advised that excess stress is not good for the baby."

And if it continues, you will more than likely have to have a sit down w/your boss.

And I doubt she's trying to scare  you.  I don't think I'd even use that word around her--she's trying to counsel you to potentially avoid what happened to her happening to you.  That's why I'd try the more subtle approach first and see if she picks up on it.  Because no, you don't need her commentary, and no, you don't need the added stress, but I don't think she's intentionally trying to scare you.  She's passing on what she thinks are words of wisdom--so the first step is to make sure she knows that you're already getting good advice from your doctor and that your doctor--not her--is giving you good advice & you've discussed each thing you're doing with the doctor.  I'd try this first before I give her any lectures on scaring her or anything like that.

Deetee

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 12:51:17 PM »
http://m.jezebel.com/5960255/how-to-have-the-best-pregnancy-ever

The ridiculous amount of contradicting advice out there is overwhelming. Fwiw, I drank coffee my entire pregnancy and a few other things on the list.

Elisabunny

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 01:32:43 PM »
http://m.jezebel.com/5960255/how-to-have-the-best-pregnancy-ever

The ridiculous amount of contradicting advice out there is overwhelming. Fwiw, I drank coffee my entire pregnancy and a few other things on the list.

Also FWIW, I understood that Tylenol is generally the pain reliever recommended during pregnancy, because it's not a blood thinner like aspirin and ibuprofen.

eta: I hope this doesn't count as medical advice.  I just wanted to give another example of conflicting info.

« Last Edit: March 25, 2013, 01:36:52 PM by Elisabunny »
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VltGrantham

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2013, 01:44:13 PM »
Quote
I would stick to something like "I've discussed this with my doctor and we've worked out a program that works for me.".  Don't go into too much detail.

This...and if it makes you feel any better, I drank frappucinos, ate tuna, popped Tylenol and even took an additional medication, including my Clairitin, for allergies.

I had people, including my own parents, berate me for this behavior.  I ignored them and we had a perfectly healthy baby.

EnoughAlready22

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Re: Very Delicate and Uncomfortable Situation
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2013, 02:39:24 PM »
I think a simple "My doctor has approved it." would be fine.  She's hurting, but I'm not sure I'd point that out as the reason she's saying this to you.