Sunday, September 5, 2010

I know better.. and for that, I feel badly..

Ever have one of those times where you said something "helpful" with the full intent of it being perceived as loving, nurturing concern?

only it probably didn't come across that way?

Let me set the stage for you.

My precious family of six were at the park. I was watching Eva play with another little girl her age and noticed that the little girls' mom was sitting down next to a baby car seat. Assuming there was a "new" baby in it (I saw little bity toes peeking out from under a blanket) I asked "how old is your baby?"

The mother, very sheepishly said, "ehem.. 4 days old."

"Four days??!!" I asked. "Four days? Well, you don't know the rule do you?"

"What rule?" she asked. I'm sure very excited to hear my OPINION. (I know, right?? geez).

"Queen for a week. Princess for two weeks. A queen dictates from the bed. A princess, from the couch." I replied.

"Well I've just been in the bed for so long I had to get out," she said.

Okay friends.. I wish I could, at that point, or should have, gone on and on about how cute her baby was. That's what I (the RANDOM stranger) should've done. But my "momma bear/psycho doula" persona came out instead. She then said, "well, it's just that I had to have a c-section and I'm not allowed to do as much so i needed to get out. But I actually feel much better than I did after my daughter was born."

Okay here is where I stepped over the line completely. Poor momma, I said "C-section. You are out 4 days post-partum after major abdominal surgery?? well, you feel fine. . while medicated??"

GASP! did you just suck all the air out of the room? Or did your mouth just fly open? Mine did just typing it.

What I was trying to say was.. if you are on pain meds it can mask what is actually happening to your body. If you want to know how well you're healing.. stop taking them and see what happens. But here is the kicker.. she didn't ASK for my opinion.

I had become, in that moment, the annoying know-it-all that fails to understand "unasked for advice is the same as criticism."

So, dear sweet new momma that I unintentionally bulldozed at the park.. I should know your name, but i was more concerned with being your mommy/conscience that I didn't ask, please forgive me. If I could go back, I would just say how precious your baby was and wish you a speedy recovery...

not at the park.
(look, I'm a slow learner).


Greta said...

You're hilarious.
I think we've all been there, saying something we don't mean to come out the way it does.

I just try to let it help me understand when people say weird stuff to me. I don't know if it really helps or not..

Rachel said...

I'm so sorry. I beat myself up ALL THE TIME when I think back to things I say. It literally drives me crazy sometimes. So I totally know the icky feelings of angst and wishing that life had a delete key. Been there, done that, wayyyyy too many times.

Mishka said...

Foot in Mouth Disease, we all suffer from it from time to time. At least you were convicted and humbled by the experience. I so love that you are able to talk to perfect strangers like you do (well not the Foot in Mouth sense but just in general) wish I were more like that.

Sarah said...

Rachel, I feel your pain. And I really do think that your comments, though unsolicited, may be helpful at some point for this woman.

This week, when I said some things I later wondered if they were overstepping, I prayed that the hearer would give me grace and not write me off. It reminds me to do that with others, too, so I'm thankful for my blunders.

Honestly, what I read in this post was loving concern for this mama. I'm sure you meant it to be. Perhaps that got to her somehow. :)

Anyway, this post struck a cord (chord?) with me for another reason as well. Sometimes when I don't say something, I think it may be more cruel. The consequences of people's choices are not always apparent to them. (Okay, that sounds terribly ungracious.) I mean that sometimes people don't realize that it doesn't have to be that way--that they just made it harder on themselves. This doesn't have to be pointed out if it's a one-time thing, but when I see someone struggle over and over, I wonder if it would be kindest to mention, say, not taking it easy and skipping breastfeeding a newborn may have something to do with clogged ducts/mastitis.

Ha! You're not the only one. I just had to get that out!