Thursday, May 07, 2009

Privacy and the workplace

It's official! My stomach has been touched. It was a friend, in the locker room, when I was in a state of undress, but the wait is over. The people have spoken and they are now touching me. Awesome! I will try to get some photos for blog readers (all 8 of you plus MJ, the only brave male willing to comment). Right now, I just look kind of fat, but I'll try to put something together that impresses you.

I kept my pregnancy a secret as long as I could so that I had time to process my emotions in peace. People say the darnedest things to pregnant women and when you've had infertility issues and a miscarriage, it's really hard to listen to people "coo" and "ooo" and talk about names when you're 8 weeks along. Part of me wants to take them by the shoulders and say, "Listen up! This pregnancy probably won't last so quit acting all happy about it!" Now you see why I needed my privacy.

I was in an unsettled mental state from week 4 to week ahhhh now? I'm still not fully recovered from believing that this will end up with a baby but I'm getting a lot closer. I even have a name in mind already which is huge progress for me. The one thing I want you to know about my experience with early pregnancy is that it's not cool to ask a suffering person to act like they feel cute. Because depressed people feel like hell.

Side note: I am craving white Wonderbread and peanut butter right now and I don't have either (stupid whole wheat bread!) so I can hardly think straight but I'll try to get through this coherently.

On to work: a person in my office missed a lot of work recently. I work closely with this person so I knew some of what was going on but not the entire story. People kept inquiring about the person and a few of us decided to protect their privacy. It drove home a lesson to me that is hard for most of us to grasp: it's not up to you to provide support to someone who doesn't want support from you. Sometimes people aren't in a place where they can accept kind words and gracious thoughts.

If you want to be supportive, mind your own business until that person opens up to you and then LISTEN! Listening doesn't mean putting your spin on how that person should feel. Trust me, there's nothing worse than baring your soul about how you are terrified of miscarrying and then have that person chirply say, "You are going to look SO CUTE with a big belly!"

Listening means letting the person talk and then saying supportive things like, "Thanks for sharing that with me, I feel like I understand you better now."

When my co-worker came back to work, I said small supportive things and then went about my business. Eventually the person wanted to share and it was pretty hard to hear all the things they had been through. I think we both realized that the person just wanted to get back to work and act like everything was normal and I totally get that. Sometimes a good dose of boring work makes life better. It's sick but true.

I have lots of other thoughts about what you can do if you know someone who miscarries but it all comes back to one thing... let people be who they are and experience life in their own way. You can be a friend without framing a problem for someone and then expecting them to live up to the way you see things. Just listen, it's the nicest thing you can do. Back rubs also help, but are not always appropriate. Especially in the locker room when in a state of undress.

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