Tuesday, September 18, 2012

adoption, infertility, miscarriage: the ignorant, hurtful things we say and do

The other night, I was talking to a friend who has adopted three children from Liberia.  We were talking about the inexcusable ignorance of some people when it comes to asking questions about adoption (which, in turn, reminded me of this article that I recently read on the topic).

I told her how I have no idea the type of stress and suffering adoptive families have to go through to have their children home with them, nor the difficulty of navigating a world that still doesn't understand adoption.  We also talked about people who deal with infertility or miscarriages, and how the world responds to those women and couples with ignorance.

And then I wondered how many things I have said to adoptive parents or infertile couples or women who have miscarried that have been hurtful.  I wondered how many times I meant to say something encouraging and ended up glossing over their pain instead.  I wondered how many times I have been ignorant.  And that's no excuse for the things I have said.

So to my friends -- both the ones I know very well and the ones that perhaps I do not know yet or at all -- who have been hurt by anything I have said or done out of ignorance, I am very, sincerely sorry.

And I would love to know how I and others can love you better.  What things should we not say or do?  When are the times we should be silent instead of speaking?  What do you need to hear or not hear?  

And honestly, for the rest of us: what is our responsibility, especially in an age of Facebook where it is normal -- expected even -- to plaster your pregnancy for the world to see?  I recently had another friend tell me she just blocks all updates from pregnant women, but here I was writing her a FB message with my PREGNANT BELLY PICTURE as my profile. So even if she blocked me, she was forced to see my belly every time I messaged her.  Do I - do we - have a responsibility to be more guarded in what we post?  How can we best love others that we do not even know we are hurting?

What do you think?

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