I've had some insensitive comments made to me over the last three years during our struggle to become parents. Yes - there are times when these comments are so insensitive that I get angry. But, in most cases, I simply let them roll off my shoulder or (if I'm feeling extra hormonal) I bite back with a snarky response. I'm prepared for people to say hurtful things to me. What I'm not always prepared for is people to say these things to Joey.
Twice last week, Joey had people tell him, "Happy Father's Day, if it applies to you." The first time was from a customer at work. The second time was at breakfast, on Father's Day, with zero children in sight.
Now let me first express that I in now way thought either person was trying to hurt Joey with those words. Joey feels that way, too, but it doesn't mean it didn't hurt. It does hurt. I know it hurt Joey, because it hurt ME to hear it.
I wish I'd had time to react. A million things went through my head while those harsh words still rang in my ears. "If it applies to you?" Well, what if it doesn't? What if the person on the receiving end, like us, can't have children? What if their child died yesterday, or a month ago, or ten years ago, and hearing that only reopens the wound?
I realize that people mean well. They want to extend good wishes to their fellow dads. I also realize that some people may not have been offended at all by this statement. Yet, it leads me to wonder about the level of sensitivity with which we broach certain subjects.
Infertility, while crappy, has made me see things at a different angle than I used to. I have a better idea of what may or may not be "too much" to say to certain people. As an example, I used to be the girl who would ask, "When are you going to get married?" I am no longer "that" girl. Because I know what it's like to be on the other end of an equally insensitive question: When are you having children?
I'm curious to know who else feels differently about interacting with others. How has infertility changed the way you approach people? What might you have said before that you wouldn't dare to someone say now?