Monday, March 31, 2008

No good deed goes unpunished

Another of my mother's favorite lines. Such an optimist, my mom.

On Friday, I got a call from one of my colleagues, T. She had to be out of town to take care of a sick relative and asked if i could cover her class on Monday (the same one I teach, just a different section, slightly different format). Well, if you were tuned in on Friday, you know that it was *not* a good day for me. I didn't say yes right away, told her I needed to check to make sure I could do it. She was really in a tight spot, as several other people who could otherwise have done it were in class at the time she needed, or were taking comps. T had been very sweet to me when I came back, very understanding -- she's someone I've always respected and whose company I really enjoy. She said she knew that it's been a difficult semester for me, so if I couldn't do it, it was definitely okay.

I called her back a few hours later, after bawling for a little while about how weak and scared I felt, and told her I would do it. Since the students were doing some presentations, it would be pretty low key. I would figure something out.

So today, I came to school, taught my session and then had about a 2 hour break until T's class began. I had some lunch, visited with some people, surfed a little.

About 3pm, I hear a familiar voice. And a baby crying. It's one of the women in my department who had a baby in February, visiting, showing off her 6-week old little girl. This is the same woman who came in to the office at about 39 weeks pregnant and told me my miracle would come, and that "there's a reason for everything." This from a 40-year old woman with her oops, 2nd child do I really want this pregnancy, sticking her huge belly in my face.

I was sitting in the grad student computer area, essentially hiding in the corner, staying quiet, hoping she would not come over to say hello. Please please... I was actually peering over the cubicle wall to see if her office door was open, if it was safe to walk by and pick up my copies off the printer. Her door opened, I heard her come down towards the computers, ostensibly to talk to one of my other colleagues, one who had taken the first part of comps today.

"Hey, S, how are you doing?" I smiled and muttered something like I always do (hanging in there, doing okay). "Getting back into the swing of things...?" Yeah. Whatever, just take your beautiful child and GO. So my colleague oohs and aahs over the baby and as she's getting ready to leave...

Yes, you know she's going to say it... You know she is. Say it with me... come on...

"If you ever need a fix, you know..." Oh, yeah... hah... huh...

"Yeah, you can come over when she's crying and screaming and cranky. You won't miss it so much then..."

Hah, yeah. And I literally turned my entire body back to the computer. I honestly don't know how I didn't scream and/or cry. My heart was pounding. And all I could think was, you don't actually think that a screaming, cranky baby would make me feel better about my sons being dead???

Oh my god. Luckily, there were nice, good, decent people showing up for class at 4, so I got to visit with them. Two women I had been in class with last semester, who knew what happened. One has a sister, I think, who had a stillbirth at full term a couple of years ago, hasn't been able to get pregnant since. She said that she knew she couldn't totally understand my pain, but she had an idea, from the family perspective. Very sweet. I vented to her and we checked in a little, then talked about her for a bit, talked about some program stuff... Then I had to go teach.

If I hadn't helped out, I would have missed out on the drive-by. I'm still kind of heart-poundy from it. Thank god I have no more classes with this prof.

Okay, now this feels very whiny, and poor me. Maybe it's because I don't get a lot of insensitive comments that I feel so shaken. So reminded of how much people can just suck, how much they can just be so freaking clueless. I'm sure that she just didn't know what to say, that she felt weird that I had been so pregnant last semester after 2 years of trying and now I'm not and I just went through hell and she has this adorable baby that she wasn't even sure she wanted at first.

I'm sure she didn't even know how uncomfortable she felt. Maybe she was just strung out from having a newborn and a three-year old. That's it.

I just don't even care.

16 comments:

G said...

You have GOT to be fucking kidding me! She has NO excuse for saying something like that! Holy crap, I want to punch someone in the throat for that!

I am SO sorry hun :(

luna said...

how f'ing awful.

I've gotten better at my snide comebacks for those asinine comments, but I still walk away feeling horrible, spiteful, resentful, etc. -- i.e., no better...

so sorry you had to deal with that. ~luna

STE said...

Thanks, G and Luna.

I think I'm so shocked when someone says something like that that I'm just stunned into silence. I would have LOVED to come back with something smart, something to make her realize how stupid that kind of comment is.

How about:
"No, don't bother. After I labored and delivered my dead sons, I decided children were too much of a bother after all."


Any other thoughts so I'm prepared next time?

Betty M said...

I am totally shocked that she could even dream of saying something so crass. If your mother had died would she be saying anything like that - no she wouldn't dream of it. Any chance one of the nice women could tell her how hurtful and insensitive it was?

This is the first time I have commented but I have been reading for a little while - here and on your husband's blog --so I just want to add how very sorry I am for your dreadful loss. In a very small way I can understand what you are going through (although my losses were very much earlier).

CLC said...

My mouth is literally hanging open. I can't believe that anyone would say or do that. What a total insensitive asshole. No- she's more like the c- word and I don't like using that word.

You have to say something if she does that again. I think your line is a good one. Maybe another one is "too bad your children are going to grow up and be insensitive assholes like your self???"

Yikes, what a crappy day for you. I'm sorry.

Amy said...

That's just effing the worst thing, even I have heard lately!
Right, as if someone else's baby is going to take away your pain. Shit people can't you get a clue?!

Maybe that's the new shirt we need "Get a clue, I lost my children" Maybe that would work!

Thank you for the comment on my end, I go to support groups, counseling. Shan, say's it's too sad, he can't handle it. I guess, I will just get a piece by piece part of his grief. We'll get through, it's just a big rough patch right now!

Hate talking about me on your blog so, I'll quit! I'm thinking of you and hope that next time you hear a comment like that you can muster up part of me and tell them to EFF OFF!

Ashleigh said...

that is unreal. i want to say something smart but i am blown away..........i am just horrified.

i am so very sorry

niobe said...

Wow. Just wow.

c. said...

What a total fucking idiot, STE. I am SHOCKED by her insensitivity. WTF??? I probably would have reacted as you did, just turned the other way and not said anything.

I'm still shaking my head. I just can't believe this woman. I'm so sorry.

c. said...

You should have said, "And I thought holding two lifeless, dead babies was the worst fate one could experience. I never thought a live one would evoke such misery and regret, you insensitive, stupid bitch."

How do you think that might go over?

Carrie said...

Strung out or not, there really is no excuse. What a stupid woman.

I only hope that she thinks about her comment later and realises what she's done. Probably not.

CDE said...

Y'know, I already kind of thought she sucked after the way she treated you and J in that class you had. Now I'm sure she sucks.

Anonymous said...

WTF?????????? So fucking unreal!!!!! People KILL ME!!!!!! I totally agree with "C"'s last comment...it is so good I would have it printed up on cards to hand to people after you say it to them, so then when you walk off they are thinking "Did she just say what I thought she said??" and then they will have the card to remind them!!!!! UN-FUCKING REAL!!!!
I LOVE YOU!!!!! CONTINUE TO HANG IN!!!!!!! We are here for you when everyone else in the real world sucks!!!!!!

Ann said...

Why, oh why, do moms with newborns somehow think that the sight of their babies will comfort us?

No, you're not whiny at all. Insensitivity can really sting--especially when you're not expecting it.

j said...

Yuck, I am sorry you have to put up with that. It's bad enough seeing babies, let alone hearing such comments! ((hugs)) for the crappy experience. I willprobably write her an email and tell her how I felt abt the whole experience and would prefer that she stop being so in-the-face and sometimes silence is better than miserable attempts to just say *something*.

Antigone said...

What a stupid b*tch. F*ck her.

I'm sorry you had to talk to someone like her.