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Author Topic: Was this horribly rude?  (Read 3488 times)

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Was this horribly rude?
« on: July 22, 2013, 02:24:22 PM »
One of the first things I learned about a new acquaintance of mine is that she has three children. I recently had abdominal surgery, and by way of telling me about her surgery recovery experiences she mentioned that she has had four C-sections. Since I knew, and she knew I knew, that she had three children, I felt I needed to ask "four? Did you lose one of your babies?" The moment I said it, I thought, good heavens, that was a very insensitive thing to ask!

Fortunately she calmly said, "oh, everyone asks me that. I was a surrogate one time." Whew!

Should I have just ignored the discrepancy between the two pieces of information? Am I right in that it is always an awful thing to ask someone (especially someone you don't know very well), if one of their children did not survive?

White Lotus

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Re: Was this horribly rude?
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2013, 02:29:36 PM »
Foot in mouth, for sure.  However, she did say she had four c-sections, triggering your question, and was not bothered that you asked, so this time, no harm, no foul.  I would try to avoid that kind of almost natural and instantaneous response in the future, however.


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Re: Was this horribly rude?
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2013, 02:30:07 PM »
I doubt she would mention the fourth c-section if she wasn't open to questions about it. Your question to me is more foot in mouth than rude - i.e. was it a gracious response, no, but it also wasn't malicious. I could see the same question coming to mind if someone who I knew had 3 children mentioned something about having 5 pregnancies - I'd be wondering what happened. I think a more gracious way to respond might be "did you say four c-sections?" She could then just answer "yes" and move on, or "yes, what happened was..." It expresses your interest in what the situation was without being prying, I think.


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Re: Was this horribly rude?
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2013, 02:42:53 PM »
I do think it was rather insensitive, but forgiveably so. I don't think your intent was to be rude, which makes a difference. But.. if she had actually lost a child at birth, your remark could have caused her a lot of pain, so I do think it was insensitive.

I think maybe stopping at the "four?", without the "did you lose one" question, would have been less insensitive, but it's still in the "you don't need to know, and the answer might be painful" category.


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Re: Was this horribly rude?
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2013, 03:57:42 PM »
I think you could have phrased slightly differently. "Four? I thought you had three children." If you're to the point where someone is telling you how many c-sections they had, I think you're close enough to say that.