Used to it

I can’t really put aside my mother’s comment that my miscarrages aren’t so bad as I ‘am used to it by now’. She’s right. That is why I can be calm and respond placidly when she says things like that. I am used to it. To disappointment. To grief. To physical pain. To being afraid and angry every time I get pregnant, to being bitter and resigned when the bleeding starts. I am used to the bad dreams I have for weeks and weeks each time I miscarry. I am used to the terrible anxiety that makes me snappish and difficult to live with after them. I am used to the grey, cold, dreariness that comes over me when I try to think of a life without children.

Why in God’s name does she think it acceptable or comforting in any way that her daughter has grown used to these things?


20 responses to “Used to it

  • Ben Warsop

    I can’t believe any parent of yours is actually stupid. But maybe she is.


  • a

    Some people feel the need to speak when silence would be better. Let’s write it off to that?

  • wombattwo

    One miscarriage causes you to be afraid and anxious during a subsequent pregnancy. After 6, well, I can only imagine that you can’t remember that there was ever anything to be happy and excited and hopeful about in the first place.
    It is inexpressibly sad that you and H have been through this so many times, and that your first question when you get pregnant is “where do I go when I start to miscarry?”
    I guess she’s just doing the old faithful “trying to find a silver lining” and ending up upsetting you and causing offence. Whilst I don’t think she meant anything offensive by it, it was a bit of a stupid thing to say. I tend to just avoid people and try not to think about them until I’m feeling a little better about things. I don’t know if it’s sensible, or mature, but it helps, when I don’t have the strength to deal with it.
    Hugs x

  • carole

    It’s a classic case of mouth moving without engaging brain. We all do it, but some people do it more than others. From what you have said, it sounds like your Mum has past form in this area.

    Of course a horrible event doesn’t get easier the more it happens. As you said, perhaps the shock diminishes, but everything else gets worse, with other bad things thrown in with every re-occurence. If your Mum had taken a minute to think things through, I’m sure she would also have seen how crass she’d been.

    Would it help you at all to tell your Mum how it made you feel? If her foot-in-the-mouth episodes are never objected to, how will she learn not to make the same mistakes again?

  • Claire

    I’m in a similar situation and I think people just try to make you see the positive side…because THEY can’t deal with the bleakness of it all.

    I have a friend who always tells me to ‘just relax’ despite my ttc for 4 years, multiple miscarriages etc.

    My mother, when I told her about a recent miscarriage, said ‘But apart from that what have you been doing?’

    Sometimes people really don’t help but they are trying. I haven’t got the answer to this. I avoid people when I feel too vulnerable. I should tell them both how what they say makes me feel (and I do try) but in some ways I’m reluctant to let them into my world of pain. They don’t deserve it.

    Anyway no answers here but sympathy from another veteran.

  • Lulu

    That’s a horrible comment and of course you can’t stop thinking about it. People don’t know what to say but they are desperate to keep their loved ones feeling positive. They end up saying all sorts of stupid shit, as you know.

  • Laurel

    I don’t have any answers either. I do think people, and some much more than others, have a very difficult time with, well, difficulty: grief, sorrow, anger, etc. makes them uncomfortable. And thus some people in particular have a ridiculous drive to try to “make things better” or to take turns of logic that will result, in their inner world, in having the other person be OK again. And I think to some extent there is a generational division, that our generation is much more likely to talk about Bad Sad Things and want to hash it out; people in our parents’ generation often just … didn’t talk about those things.

    Maybe your mother finds it very hard to see you so unhappy; maybe she is assuaging her own discomfort; maybe both… I’m not justifying what she said in the least–it was an exceedingly unempathetic and unhelpful comment. I’m so sorry she hasn’t been more of the mother you need at times like these.

  • everydaystrange

    I think it’s like so many things that circle fertility treatment, miscarriage, infant loss, the whole area – there’s only one thing that people can say, that people should say, and that’s “I’m sorry. Can I do anything?” and leave it at that. Just that. Platitudes which in any other situation would be correct can wind up being those pointy things we stab ourselves with at night.

    I’m sorry, May. Can I do anything?

  • Bionic Baby Mama

    Oh, May.

    I keep thinking that if I wait to comment on this, something brilliant will come to me. But it hasn’t. Possibly because if there were some brilliant thing to say about all this, you would already have thought of it.

    Moms can really tear you up the most.

  • Melissia

    I can’t help but wonder if your mom’s remark was about making her feel better. After all, if you are used to your miscarriages then she needed be worried about you. She must feel very impotent in this situation, as your mother she wants you to have your heart’s desire and has even given you guys some financial help to see the private doctor, but sheer will cannot make it happen for you. I also gather that she is just not able to not see you in real distress and always wants to look on the bright side of things, that does make real communication hard. I am so sorry that she cannot be a support for you in the way you deserve.

  • twangy

    I agree with the others that platitudes are designed to make the speaker feel better. But really, if they thought it through to its logical conclusion, trying to put any kind of positive spin on something like that is bordering on the grotesque. Even if the heart is in the right place.


  • manapan

    That really is the worst part of it. That you expect it, and wait for it, and can respond calmly (instead of with a flurry of amazing kickboxing moves) when someone says something like that. (((Hugs)))

  • Hairy Farmer Family

    A straight right hook to the jaw is almost always contra-indicated when taking parents to task.

    A pity, really.

    I wonder sometimes if many of our parents’ generation must accept the loss of children in a different way, or on a different level. They were born before all this magic-wand-instant-cure-IVF-business, after all, before all this witchcraftery with pee-sticks, when sick or early babies Just Died, and the doctor confirmed your pregnancy at 3 months or so. I think they must have had it… simpler. (And either easier or harder, depending on the emotional mileage of any particular individual.) And, because there was bugger-all you could do about infertility or miscarriage (as witnessed by the number of my mother’s generation who, after my nth loss, asked me WHY my doctor hadn’t quickly stitched my cervix shut. You know, the cervix with the dead foetus behind it.) or infant mortality, I do speculate about their natural quota of que sera sera, as opposed to ours.

    There is, I think, an emotionally insulating property to this fatalism, which our generation has in distinctly thinner amounts. We are born in an age of qualified medical wonder, born in an age where we can fly to Antarctica or telephone the international space station, born in an age where a first-world desire is not often thwarted if money is plentiful.

    Our parents and grandparents brooked the whole storms-of-life thing better, I think, simply because they set sail knowing nothing of double-hulls, GPS or satellite weather reports. That, and the fact that significantly more people in their lives than ours would have known similar difficulties. We are the generation that integrated fully with our communication systems and science, only to discover the mentally searing incongruity of having to brook elemental defeat, death and failure when our children are not easily forthcoming. Despite the witchcraftery and the magic wands and the alternative medicine. And learning to relax, of course.

    And that still doesn’t excuse your mother.

    • May

      I certainly think that’s the way my father, and assorted grand-parents, are working. In my mother’s case, alas, I think she has always got pregnant easily with healthy babies who carried to term, and has never had a painful period in her life, and therefore, being slightly lacking in the empathy and imagination muscles, simply has no clue that it’s THAT BAD and also, yes, doesn’t like it when her girl is unhappy. Alas, she always dealt with unhappy children by telling them it wasn’t that bad, whatever it was. Never quite managing to make the leap from skinned knees to FUBARed innards.

      • Hairy Farmer Family

        I understand this phenomenon well. To this day, John does not feel pain simply because his mother always told him there wasn’t any!

        • May

          Alas, I’m not as obeisant to parental authority as John! My mother NEVER managed to convince it wasn’t that bad. In fact, the whole tactic would turn a skinned knee into a battle of wills ending with door-slamming and screams of ‘no one understands me!’. Probably from the both of us…

  • Betty M

    It’s like she is sticking her fingers in her ears and going “la, la, la” and she needs to stop it and be what you need her to be. I’m guilty myself of a come, come, it’s nothing, all better now attitude to some things but NOT this for god’s sake. Thinking of you.

  • QoB
    has good suggestions for what not to say, and what to say: perhaps there is a small hope that some of them would imprint themselves on your mother’s brain before she opens her mouth.

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