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In An Abundance of Words, the More Opportunities To Say Something Really Stupid

My spouse and I were trying to have our second child and by this point we had already lost 9 babies. We had one beautiful daughter and we really thought about just giving up and not having any more children as losing 9 babies is tough. Our daughter begged us to please try for one more. We used a fertility doctor to help with artificial insemination (better results) and at the time of our folicular ultrasound we found out that we had 5 eggs all the same size so there was a chance that we would have multiples. We were SO excited. A multiple birth would mean we would be done with just one more pregnancy. I called my sister to tell her the exciting news (we weren’t at insemination point yet, just looking to see how many eggs we had) and as I was telling her that we had 5 great looking, same size eggs, she interrupts with, “Oh my gosh, if you have multiples I have a friend who for sure will take some of the kids off your hands. They have 6 adopted kids and they want more but the adoption agencies won’t let them have anymore.”

I was STUNNED silent. This is a woman who KNOWS how many babies we had lost, how hellish it was to even get through the one pregnancy I managed to keep. And she’s trying to give my babies away before they are even a reality? I get that her friend wants more kids, but she has 6 already! I had one. We would have happily have added multiples to our family. As it turned out, only one egg made it and we have a beautiful son. 1123-15

People say stupid, insensitive, poorly thought out things all the time.   You do, too.   Let it go…words in the wind….your sister probably cringes at the thought of what she said now.

{ 71 comments }

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  • Queen of Putrescence November 17, 2016, 7:07 am

    Congratulations on your son! So glad you had another successful pregnancy!

    Wow, I can’t even come up with s response to your sister. What an absolutely idiotic thing to say.

  • Yasuragi November 17, 2016, 8:12 am

    I…I mean, what? Whaaat? They’re your sister’s CHILDREN! HUMAN. BEINGS. It’s not a litter of stray cats! You don’t have people sitting in from of Wal*Mart with boxes of babies to give away!

    Good gracious.

    • NostalgicGal November 17, 2016, 1:41 pm

      People have done that. Given away their children in the parking lot. When arrested they said they didn’t know it was illegal….

  • Angela November 17, 2016, 8:18 am

    People do say insensitive things all the time. I would have to say though that this is pretty high up on the insensitivity meter. Maybe the sister somehow thought OP was worried instead of excited?

  • stacey November 17, 2016, 9:01 am

    The idea that those who are close to us can be so casual about their cruelty is a difficult concept. I agree with ” letting it go” with one caveat- consider whether this represents a single departure or a pattern. People will show you who they are, and if you’re looking at a basically kind person whose blind spots are nonetheless hurtful, distancing yourself is healthy. Look at it this way, your sister set off a verbal grenade. It was, in your situation, particularly damaging and painful. If she can’t hear that and really apologize, there isn’t much of a basis for going forward.

    • Lomita Momcat November 20, 2016, 2:04 am

      If you know someone’s responses to certain things are going to rub you the wrong way, why even “go there” with them?

      I shared an office with a lady who was usually a pretty decent person, but she had a blind spot: she was apt, when someone had something bad happen to them, to invoke the “it’s God’s will” argument.

      I got caught in the cross-fire one VERY memorable day when a co-worker whose sister had just lost her baby to SIDS at 4 months came into the office and brought the subject up. Her sister had had a difficult time getting pregnant, had been ecstatic on the birth of her child, and was completely devastated by the loss.

      My office partner, “Shirley,” immediately barged into the conversation with “Maybe this is God’s way of telling her she shouldn’t have children.”

      The fat was in the fire as soon as Shirley said that, and the resultant explosion was a big one. Shirley got an official reprimand from her supervisor as a result of the argument that followed, the co-worker got an unofficial, off-the-record caution that however provoking someone could be, and however much they deserved to be screamed at, it wasn’t okay to start screaming at them when walking away was an option. And I fielded a lot of “what the HELL was that all about???” Questions from people who either heard the screaming or heard about the screaming, to which I could only respond that I’d been asked not to discuss it.

      Co-worker admitted that she knew she might be pushing Shirley’s “it’s God’s will” button when she talked about her sister’s loss, but she thought that since she was talking to me, Shirley would butt out.

      If someone is a known foot-in-mouth type, there’s a lot to be said in favor of avoiding them, if humanly possible.

      • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 1:22 pm

        My first comments to someone that did that all the time….
        Do you have a verified miracle? (like Our Lady of Guadalupe) No?
        Have you answered the call? (Are you ordained) No?
        Do you hear voices talking to you? (Joan of Arc) No?
        Then how are you sure it’s God’s will?

        Yes they blew up. After they run down, and I’d crossed my arms to wait out the broadside.
        Then you have no more corner on it than any of the rest of us. I happen to be #2 and I certainly don’t have an inside track, trust me. We all know your viewpoint by now and it shouldn’t need repeating every possible chance.

        I no longer associate with that person. The feeling is mutual.
        I agree with your last sentence wholeheartedly.

  • Michelle November 17, 2016, 9:35 am

    You sister had a foot in mouth moment. I understand that you were stunned, shocked and upset. I’m sure she is ashamed and embarrassed about what she said. As long as she is a great aunt and never says anything like that again, I think you should do your best to forgive.

    One of my aunts did something similarly stupid and awful but the child heard what she said. My mom was having a rough time with my youngest brother getting in trouble at school and at home. It was a really rough couple of months. My aunt was there one day and said the following, verbatim, “If you want to get rid of him, I know a man in Tennessee who will buy him from you.” My stepfather ordered her out of the house and told her never to return. My brother spent the next few weeks sleeping on the floor of my mom & stepdad’s room. They would put him to bed and as soon as the went to bed, he would sneak out of his room and go sleep on the floor in their room.

    Congratulations on your 2 beautiful children!

    • Michelle November 17, 2016, 9:41 am

      Just to follow-up, my mom and stepdad assured my brother every night that they were not going to “sell” him. My aunt called and apologized but it took my mom and stepdad years to forgive her and the order to never darken the door of our home stood. My stepdad said he could forgive her but he didn’t have to welcome her in his home.

      My brother turned out ok. He’s had a few brushes with the law and doesn’t always make the greatest choices, but I honestly think he may have some sort of undiagnosed mental condition.

      • AJ November 17, 2016, 9:06 pm

        Your poor brother – I can imagine the trauma of that one awful and amazingly stupid comment really hasn’t helped his metal state…

        • NostalgicGal November 18, 2016, 4:40 am

          In the 1940’s there was an older couple that drove around rural areas of the US and enticed small children into their car. They kidnapped them, took them to a judge in Tennessee who was in with them and would declare the children abandoned. The couple then sold them to couples wanting to adopt. My father as a child had been warned by his parents about this… and did have these people stop and try to do that, lure his 7 year old self into the car with candy. He ran home as fast as he could instead. Years later on an episode of America’s Most Wanted, they ran an episode about the couple… the couple did get a lot of kids. Eventually they were caught and shut down and they and the judge went to trial. So depending on the time when this happened it could very well be with more than a bit of truth. My father was nearly abducted in 1942…

          • Michelle November 18, 2016, 8:55 am

            Oh, no this was early 90’s so not the same person. My aunt and her husband owned a medium-sized landscaping company and the man she was referring to was a customer.

          • NostalgicGal November 18, 2016, 2:51 pm

            Still there seems to be precedence for things like this. Sigh. The urban legends often do have some truth to them…

            Hope your brother sorted out.

    • Becca November 18, 2016, 11:20 am

      Oh goodness, my friend’s toddler is deep into his “terribles”. I have made jokes about selling him to drifters and we all laugh about it. We also call him “the dragon” because of his behavior.

      This is certainly one of those “Know your audience” kind of situation. I can’t imagine my nieces or nephews taking me seriously if I made a “I’ll sell you” kind of joke but I know others that would be as traumatized as your brother was 🙁

  • Jen November 17, 2016, 9:44 am

    So happy for u and your beautiful son!!!

  • LadyV November 17, 2016, 10:15 am

    “Your sister probably cringes at the thought of what she said now.” For once, I have to disagree with Ms. Jeanne. Anyone insensitive enough to say something like that in the first place isn’t going to realize suddenly that she said something wrong. This wasn’t “poorly thought out” – too much detail for that – it was borderline cruel. The proper response would have been “Great, why don’t you give them one of your kids?”

    • NostalgicGal November 17, 2016, 1:43 pm

      [LIKE]<<<<<made my own like button

    • iwadasn November 17, 2016, 7:31 pm

      It depends whether this was a one-time “foot in mouth” moment or whether she has a habit of saying things like this. If it was one time, I would prefer to think “She said something insensitive” rather than “She’s an insensitive person.” Anyone who claims they’ve never once said something they later realized sounded awful is either perfect or lying, and nobody’s perfect.

    • SJ November 18, 2016, 2:13 am

      Yes, the detail, how weird.

  • lakey November 17, 2016, 11:08 am

    I agree with the Administrator. We used to call it “foot in mouth” disease. Also, OP, I’m cheering you on.

  • Lisa H. November 17, 2016, 11:58 am

    What Admin said; a forgiving heart goes a long way.

  • LeeLee88 November 17, 2016, 11:59 am

    Sister, you can’t just start placing human babies like you would puppies or kittens, before they’re even born. Oh my geeeeeeee….

    • Just4Kicks November 17, 2016, 1:11 pm

      I was going to say the same thing: they aren’t puppies! Sheesh.

      Congratulations OP, on your beautiful family.

      • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 1:39 pm

        I did buy a foal unborn from a cousin once. The filly was solid brown, beautiful, and I spent four years training her then took her to the stock ring. (heading for college, couldn’t keep her). That is a LOT different. You do not market or give away unborn children!!!!! Especially when they’re NOT your own. (though some sell their eggs, some can get $5-10k depending on their physical appearance and intelligence, plus their skills and talents; and some sell their sperm)

  • Ashley November 17, 2016, 12:24 pm

    What an odd thing to say…OP was clearly EXCITED about the prospect of multiples, and here’s OP’s sister trying to give kids away to a family who probably wouldn’t even be prepared for them since the adoption agencies already decided they couldn’t have more?

    How bizarre. But whatever, it’s water under the bridge now, and I’m glad you wound up with another child after such a difficult time.

  • Cat November 17, 2016, 12:39 pm

    Tell yourself that some people lack a mouth filter and that they really need to have one. You were talking about your children, not puppies.

  • abby November 17, 2016, 1:01 pm

    “Oh my gosh, if you have multiples I have a friend who for sure will take some of the kids off your hands.”

    The OP is focusing on her past losses, and the would be adoptive family’s number of children, but the above is a ludicrous thing to say even without considering either of these. Any woman, regardless of her history, who is pregnant with multiples is probably not looking for someone to take *some* of her children “off her hands”. Guessing the OP’s sister doesn’t have kids.

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 2:02 am

      I’m afraid you’d be surprised. Not all mothers love all their children, and some do, in fact, want to get *some* of them “off her hands.”

      In Regency England, in fact, it was fairly common for someone with more kids than they could afford to send one or two to rich/childless relatives, and the relatives would often adopt them, including name change and listing them to inherit their property (not titles, but property, if unentailed, could be willed as desired). They weren’t legally recognized as the adoptive parents legitimate children, but society recognized them as such, for all purposes except inheriting titles and entailed property.

      In fact, it happened to Jane Austen’s brother, and she wrote about it happening to one of her heroines, and nobody thought it was peculiar. Nowadays, people look at that and think, “How could any mother DO that?” But when you have more children than you can afford, it’s possible to say, “So and so can give you a better life than I can, so go to them.”

      And then, of course, there are the ones who have the golden child and the scapegoat child, and if someone offered to take the scapegoat, there are those who would give up the scapegoat, not out of financial distress, but simply because they do not like the child.

      And, of course, there are some “parents” (I use the term incredibly loosely), who are just so heinous, they don’t care one way or the other, because even the children they keep are hardly cared for, anyway. Six years old and never learned to talk because you kept the kid in a closet and now and then threw in some food? No problem! (Yeah, my aunt actually KNEW that one, personally. When the girl said “Hello,” to her, auntie was skipping down the halls, telling everyone she saw, she was so overjoyed, but good LORD, did she hate that poor girl’s “parents!”)

      I certainly hope the OP’s sister does not have kids.

      • Dee November 20, 2016, 1:30 pm

        Children growing up in different homes from their birth homes was not unusual and still isn’t, we just call it foster care now. My father and his siblings each grew up with different “parents”, after their recently widowed father gave them away. I know other people in the generation between who spent a few years of their childhood in the home of a family friend. It’s not always about “giving away” the children; sometimes, it’s just a difficult situation made better by a different environment. We have been conditioned to see this in clinical, official terms now, but society accepted this as a reality long ago. If it works for the child it’s a good thing.

      • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 1:44 pm

        In large families there is often one child that is NOT a favorite of mom and through no real fault of the kid, isn’t loved back. Really messes the kid up. That would be a case of it might be best to give that child to someone that wants a child and give it a more loving home….

  • Dee November 17, 2016, 1:17 pm

    I don’t know if I could let that one go without addressing it. As one of the other commenters said, is this a pattern or a one-off? Because if it’s the former, then maybe it’s best to limit the time spent with this sister, OP. You don’t need to have that kind of stress on a regular basis. But be sure to let her know how you feel about it, to at least give her a heads-up so that she can consider reining in her mouth next time she opens it when you’re around.

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 2:03 am

      Yeah, just because you’re blood-related doesn’t mean the person’s not too toxic to be in your life.

      No contact or low contact are warranted more often than most people realize.

  • AMC November 17, 2016, 1:40 pm

    Wow. What a bizarre thing to say. You were trying to have a kid, not a litter of puppies.
    Congrats on your son!

  • NostalgicGal November 17, 2016, 1:54 pm

    Hopefully Sis had her mouth run ahead of her brain, and since has had the proper remorse. If not, put the incident on ignore and take whatever path you want regarding sis. (I have 3 sis in laws, one is great, one we mutually do not like each other (mostly she despises I ever dated her brother), and one is the flaming ditz which I ignore and when she and DH get together I just find something else to do.) I’m assuming you have a mix of #2 and #3 (two is known for massive busybody and lack of filter, and three just doesn’t buy the clue).

    Congratulations on your fine son to join your darling daughter.
    I had eight miscarriages over nine years-I wasn’t trying and I was using BC-if it had happened it would have been welcome, though. Nine is a lot to lose, but, you did get two blessings. May they continue to bless your life (including grandkids) in the future.

  • Wendy B November 17, 2016, 3:29 pm

    You always think of the great things to say AFTER the conversation, eh? “Well, if I see any lying around, I’ll give her a call.” or “Gee, your right, SIX would be too much, so I’ll just give some to the woman who already has SIX.”

    But since it’s past…Congratulations and now we can look back and shake our heads. 🙂

  • Cat2 November 17, 2016, 3:59 pm

    I could not just let that go. Not without some sort of recognition of how awful and ridiculous it had been on her side.

    I hope I would have been quick enough to respond “Did you hear what just came out of your mouth?”

  • Kay_L November 17, 2016, 4:10 pm

    Given the context, it sounds like a joke! It’s like if a person wins money and you say, “well, I’ll help you spend it!” Taken literally, it can seem quite rude. But, the context is what makes it humor. It’s the fact that no one gives away their “spare babies” that let’s you know that it’s not meant to be taken seriously.

    Granted, it’s not a very articulate joke and probably not something one should joke about under the circumstances but nothing else really makes sense.

    If it’s not humor, then it’s meant to be an insult and if so, there is more context that is missing from the story.

    • Lomita Momcat November 20, 2016, 1:17 am

      I have a relative who thinks he’s witty. He’s gotta be the one with the comment that plays off the cultural event or current news or riffs on some comedian’s “shtick.”

      It can really set me on edge to converse with him, because sometimes you want to talk about things in a serious way, or at least not feel like you’re being set up as straight man for Mr. “Life of the Party” to demonstrate how clever and cool he is.

      When you feel like all your conversation is just a foil for someone else to demonstrate what a card they are, and you have to cut your way through a jungle of would-be witty repartee to try to get your thoughts and feelings taken with genuine seriousness, it can be beyond frustrating.

      Humor has it’s place, certainly. But when you have someone who ignores your feelings because it’s more important for them to show how witty they are, they’re really more of a half-wit.

      I don’t accept the premise that someone’s feeble attempt at humor excuses truly inappropriate and insensitive gaffes. When you’re conversing with real people who you’re supposed to care about, you have some responsibility for engaging your brain before putting your mouth in motion. “I was just kidding, can’t you take a joke?” as an attempt to excuse tactlessness, insensitivity or downright demeaning cruelty is something I refuse to accept from anyone who considers themself a responsible adult.

      • LadyV November 20, 2016, 1:41 pm

        Lomita, I admit that is the hottest of my hot buttons. My paternal grandfather was the king of making deliberately nasty comments and then saying “Can’t you take a joke?” I got the worst of it, as I was the only granddaughter and he was a misogynistic SOB. He’s been gone for almost 50 years, and I STILL have a visceral reaction to anyone who says that.

        • Lomita Momcat November 21, 2016, 2:51 am

          People who commit acts of thoughtlessness and cruelty in the name of humor, who make others the butt of their jokes, are cowards who deserve a special place in hell.

          People who enable this kind of thoughtlessness and cruelty by laughing at the so-called humor, and thus validating the coward’s action, also belong in that special place in hell.

          The only appropriate response to the kind of person who says “I was just kidding, can’t you take a joke?” is to reply, “I can take a joke. Jokes are funny. What you said wasn’t funny, so it’s not a joke. And unless you’re a complete idiot, you know it isn’t funny, it’s offensive. And so are you. “

        • at work November 21, 2016, 9:19 am

          I can relate. For years I heard from Person X: “You’re too sensitive.” I finally realized, with the help of friends, that it wasn’t me — Person X was insensitive to the point of lacking a soul, or so it seemed to me.

  • Lisa November 17, 2016, 4:16 pm

    That’s really odd. I mean, really, odd.

    I also went through fertility treatments for years before we got our beautiful DD. My sister’s first words when I told her I was pregnant were, “Well it’s about time!” Sigh and eyeroll because she will NEVER look back on it and cringe.

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 2:07 am

      Maybe your sister was saying what she *thought* you were thinking – expressing the impatience at having to wait years before successful conception.

      It does come out as pretty insensitive. And yet, I’d rather have that reaction than the OP’s sister’s.

      • Lomita Momcat November 21, 2016, 1:53 am

        When someone tells you personal news that makes them happy, the default response is “I’m so happy for you!” with appropriate show of gladness– smile, hug, high-five, handshake, however you physically express sincere gladness.

        When someone tells you personal news that makes them unhappy, the default response is “I’m so sorry to hear that.” accompanied by appropriate physical show of sympathy– serious expression, hand-squeeze, hug, whatever sincerely expresses your authentic sympathy.

        Anything that departs too far from the default response puts you at risk of being misunderstood or actual rudeness. It helps to remember that the person you’re speaking to is an actual human being with real feelings, and if all else fails, try to respond to them the way you would want them to respond if your positions were reversed.

  • JD November 17, 2016, 4:17 pm

    I can’t imagine suggesting someone “give away” some of their kids if they have multiples. Since I can’t imagine even thinking that thought, I can’t imagine why OP’s sister would say that. I would suggest forgiveness, though, because forgiveness can be healing for the OP as well as maybe putting it behind her, but I still would be wary of the sister for more insensitive remarks. Maybe I shouldn’t, but I just know I would.
    That remark just stuns me, too. I keep wondering if she was mentally devising a system to figure out how OP should decide which ones to keep and which ones to give away. Flip a coin? Give away the less cute ones? Rock-scissors-paper?

  • Reaver November 18, 2016, 1:21 am

    Interesting logic…..

    Did you ASK for cash on your wedding invite? GIMMIE PIG, CONDEMED TO EHELL!

    Did your sister say something absolutely horrid, thoughtless and insensitive?

    Pah, you’ve done it, just let it go, it’s not a big deal

    • A different Tracy November 18, 2016, 9:29 am

      I second this.

    • Jolie November 19, 2016, 11:36 pm

      After thinking about it, I definitely agree with your observation.

      • Jo November 21, 2016, 6:17 am

        Or heaven forbid you host your own birthday party….. How often is it said, “just because someone’s faaaaamily doesn’t mean you have to put up with them treating you badly”? Hmmmm…..

  • SJ November 18, 2016, 2:10 am

    I can’t even fathom someone saying that unless they were completely joking.

    But, from the OP, it seems she was sincere. I hope you can forgive her thoughtless words and best wishes in your parenthood!

  • Mojo November 18, 2016, 3:27 am

    My Mother taught me this prayer as a child – “Oh Lord, help me to keep my big mouth shut until I know what I’m talking about. Amen”. Wise words indeed!

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 2:09 am

      That’s even better than the Serenity Prayer! I LOVE it!

  • InTheEther November 18, 2016, 3:50 am

    Just let it go for your own sake (considering how much time’s passed you probably have), and lower your expectations for her.

    We all have that family member (or branch of the family) or acquaintance. At a certain point you just accept that they are complete flakes, idiots, make spectacularly poor life choices, etc. Getting upset will only get you upset and they aren’t going to ever see the light. So you just kinda write them off. Anything from, “Oh, Sally put the house entirely in Bob the boyfriend’s name? Despite the fact that her mom paid for it entirely and this state doesn’t have common law marriages? Yeah, she’d buy his BS reasoning.” to “Oh, Becky the space cadet said something showing a very poor grasp of reality or common sense? Yeah, she does that.”

  • Just4Kicks November 18, 2016, 11:51 am

    I thought my ob/gyn was out of line for saying (while prepping me for an emergency hysterectomy)
    while looking at my chart “Holy SHIT!!! FOUR KIDS?!? Are you crazy?!?”

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 2:13 am

      I know someone whose nurse said, “I see this is your second child, so as long as we’re in there, we’ll tie your tubes.”

      They had to specifically opt out of a tubal ligation, because the nurse was GOING to tell the doctor to do it. She couldn’t understand why they would not want it. “But, you’ve already had your two kids, so why would you not want to be sterilized? Surely you’ll never want MORE!”

      It amazes me how many things in life that I simply cannot imagine wind up happening, for real. And I have a very active imagination!

      • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 1:56 pm

        Some are more clueless than even that. I had health issues, and three operations in a row (every April for three consecutive years), an exploratory, and they took the tubes because I wanted them to. A D&C and an endometrial ablation (which failed). A hysterectomy. I had to request the tubes and I had to sign paperwork, three times, with the doctor plainly saying to me Are You SURE You Want to be STERILIZED????? No nurse telling the doctor anything was going to change that. The hysterectomy I had to at three separate times during the pre-stages reiterate that I was okay with losing the ovaries and my reproductive tissue (eggs). Plus sign stuff. I had to make it very clear I wanted them gone. I don’t understand how a doctor would do a procedure just because the nurse said so…. (early 90’s btw)

      • Lerah99 November 21, 2016, 10:15 am

        In 2014 California had to pass a law banning the sterilization of female prisoners without consent.

        Because an audit found that more than a quarter of the tubal ligations done on female prisoners were done without legal consent.

        And the true number may have been higher because at least 7 of the hospitals had “lost” all records related to women prisoners when the auditors asked for them.

        Sadly there are still doctors and nurses who feel they have the right to play God when it comes to a woman’s ability to have kids.

  • Lynne November 18, 2016, 5:33 pm

    This is a little off-topic, but it’s clear to me that many folks are unaware of the prevalence of underground adoptions/rehoming.

    This article gives a brief description; I can’t find anything better off-hand. Obviously, it’s impossible to track how widespread it really is:

    http://www.inquisitr.com/2227080/remember-the-politician-who-rehomed-adopted-kids-hes-not-the-only-one-doing-it/

    • Michelle C Young November 20, 2016, 3:16 am

      Wow. That’s just… wow.

    • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 2:07 pm

      It used to be there wasn’t Social Services to speak of, if a family lost one or both parents the rest of the family just stepped up and dealt. My mother came from a family of 13. She was five from the bottom or 12 when she lost her first parent and 14 when she lost the second one. The youngest two were 4 and 6 at the end. My mother went to live with an older sister and family, was a mother’s helper and worked at the grocery store. The others were farmed out to older siblings and just plain taken care of. (circa 1950). In 1967 my father’s oldest brother died and left a family of eight, all under 18, youngest two were 2 and 3. The family tried to swoop and take five of the kids (my dad decided the 2 and 3 year old boys were literally his RIGHT to have as he had no sons, just a daughter, found that out years later) and she told them all to FOAD, and raised them herself. No Social Services in sight. A friend I knew had living parents and a guardian. She was signed over at 17 to a friend of family that was faculty at a fairly prestigious and expensive university because tenured faculty children or wards got tuition for the student fee (approximately $30). So she became a ward for free tuition…

  • Marozia November 18, 2016, 9:39 pm

    OP’s sister is just thoughtless, not malicious. Her filter needs some fine-tuning.

  • Lomita Momcat November 18, 2016, 11:46 pm

    Some people just don’t seem to have their brain connected to their mouth. They get so wrapped up in what they think, what they feel, what they believe, that they can’t seem to process how their words are going to strike the people they’re talking to.

    I think all you can do about these people is identify them and try to limit the time you spend in their company. And if they drop one of their jaw-dropping comments in your presence, just consider the source and move on.

    Side issue: I personally find discussions that revolve around reproductive issues make me very uncomfortable. I know sometimes people need a sympathetic listener, and that it isn’t necessary to give detail-oriented responses when someone starts a conversation about reproductive issues. But such conversations can give more information than I really want to know about the person. This can be very personal stuff, and I feel very uncomfortable being the recipient of very personal information.

    My sympathy to the OP for what she’s gone through, and I can understand that she feels a need to share her struggles. But I think she should consider being more selective about who she shares the details of her information with, and she might consider either finding a support group of women who have gone through similar struggles, or a counselor who works with women who have gone through reproductive issues. That cuts out the risk of encounters with people who use her sharing of information as a springboard for inappropriate comments.

    • Vicki November 21, 2016, 3:12 pm

      That’s a useful thought in general, but this was the OP’s sister, not a casual acquaintance. (Not everyone is close to all their siblings, but OP clearly thought they were close, though that remark seems to have created more distance, unsurprisingly.)

      • Lomita Momcat November 24, 2016, 1:13 am

        I learned a thing about “family” and “relatives” a long time ago.

        Your “family” is the people you hold dear and who hold you dear.

        Your relatives are the people you share genes and background with. Just because someone is a relative doesn’t make them family.

        Conversely, someone can be part of your family without being a relative.

        Just because someone is a relative doesn’t make them the best choice for unloading intimate and personal details of your life to them. And when the thing you need to unload is something as highly personal as details that involve your health and your sex life, and involves multiple failed pregnancies, which surely must be traumatic, it’s probably better to unload on a trained counselor, or in a group of people who have undergone similar experiences, than someone whose only qualification is shared genetics.

        Side issue: what OP has gone through has probably resulted in clinically diagnosable PTSD. That is definitely something where a professional counselor would be helpful.

  • Sarah November 19, 2016, 4:12 pm

    Best wishes to you and your family!

    Your children will certainly know they are wanted and loved!

  • Jolie November 19, 2016, 10:50 pm

    I actually disagree with the admin here. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “Hey sister, you know that one comment/joke you made earlier about adoption if we had multiples and your friend who would want to adopt them? Well, I wanted to share with you that it really hurt my feelings. I understand you meant well, and I will always love you, but I hope you can understand my sensitivity to this especially because of our infertility struggles. I felt hurt and dismissed by that comment, and I really love sharing our joys with you throughout this process.”

    Using “I statements” can be very empowering. It’s okay to tell her how you feel, even after the fact, and to let her know that you feel she is an important support system for you in this time. Sometimes “letting it go” really means “letting it fester” and the next time she says something that might be insensitive or hurtful (as people who are in close relationships often do) you will also dismiss it when you are feeling a certain way.

    The primary reason I disagree with the admin is because of the nature of the relationship. If she were an acquaintance or a coworker you might let it slip off your back, because what does that matter in the long run? But she’s your sister, and if you are sharing these intimate details you should also feel comfortable to be open with her. Framing it in “I statements” keeps the focus on you and your feelings. It doesn’t mean she has to defend her comment because it doesn’t matter what she said it matters how you feel. If she does try to defend it turn it around back onto you and your feelings about it.

    • Jolie November 19, 2016, 11:23 pm

      For the record, I had someone say something really inappropriate to me when I was pregnant and it really messed with my head, so this is also why I disagree with the admin.

      My husband and I had been married about a year at this juncture. Our downstairs neighbor and his wife had been struggling with infertility, and often shared details of that with people. We weren’t close, but the neighbor went to graduate school with me (we lived in student housing). They were chronic oversharers so we were already limiting contact when I became pregnant unexpectedly and was struggling with it. I didn’t specifically seek them out to talk about it ever. But I did post a silly announcement on Facebook. Neighbor’s comment response to that post was “I know you didn’t want this right now, but congrats!” It was odd, but I let that go.

      Down the road a bit and I had a complex pregnancy that was really rough on my body. I often joked about my discomfort and the way I felt on Facebook, I wrote some blogs discussing my experience, made posts about pregnancy in my terms, and always referred to my experiences only. Apparently this really upset him. We lived on the third floor, but I was about 7 months pregnant and on bedrest at this point, so I was moving really slowly down the stairs to go to a doctor’s appointment and in a lot of discomfort. He came in as I was going out and stopped in front of me and said “You know, if you don’t want that baby we’ll adopt it”. I burst into tears in the car and felt really violated. It was incredibly insensitive.

      Fast forward a few weeks later and my husband makes a post about a baby gift we had received with no name on it, hoping to find the sender so we could follow up with a thank you. Neighbor posted “**** You” on the post. Husband deleted it and gave him a call because it seemed out of character even for him and he really didn’t want to do that in public. Apparently Neighbor was really mad about us having a baby when “we didn’t even want it” and continued swearing at him and told him “You should give it to someone who cares” etc. Both of us struggled with this because while he was clearly experiencing some hurt we weren’t the cause of his infertility, and we never brought up the subject with him in person. We had even avoided it when we were in a room together. But I wasn’t going to limit my general speech about it. The fact is that his comments were hurtful and made me feel unsafe in my own home. This is why I’m not really in favor of letting things “roll off your back”.

      Basically, I even amend my previous comment and absolutely think you should address insensitive comments directly to people. I think you can do so in a polite and civil manner that expresses your feelings. Not that I think about it, I actually feel the admin’s response here is really out of character and not in tune with previous advice.

      • NostalgicGal November 20, 2016, 2:15 pm

        I know it was scary, upsetting, and anxiety you didn’t need while going through a rough spot at the time. I hope by now you’ve let go of it, made peace, moved on, and are thoroughly living life to the fullest with your blessing (child).

        • Jolie November 22, 2016, 12:11 pm

          I don’t know if letting go is the appropriate term. Perhaps I made peace with it because after that incident myself and my husband confronted the behavior and told him his comments were inappropriate and expressed how his comments affected us. We didn’t know him very well at the time, but I’m sure no one would be surprised to know that this was not the first nor the last time he would say or do something inappropriate during his tenure at the school.

          I don’t let it affect my current parenting or happiness with my child, but I still recognize the profound and ugly effect that it had on my experience.

  • Cicero November 20, 2016, 5:15 am

    I think the remark is insensitive and foot in the mouth. Whether or not it is malicious, depends on the history and I don’t have enough details. I f there is a pattern here, then I’m not on the forgive and forget side. But if it was truly a “what was I thinking”, broken brain to mouth filter, and/or attempt to make op feel better, then you should try to move on.

    Congratulations to the op on their beautiful baby.

  • Lerah99 November 21, 2016, 10:20 am

    Letter Writer, I think this has to be your call.
    You know your sister.

    Was this a one time, completely out of character, moment of her saying something thoughtless and terrible? Then you may want to let it go and chalk it up to momentary insanity on her part.

    On the other hand. Is this typical of your sister. Does she seem to wait until you are at a particularly low point or particularly stressed to spring some horrible comment on you? Is she often careless with her words or even malicious? Then you may want to put your foot down and let her know how unacceptable it is and that you will not put up with her treating you this way.