I am relatively open about my infertility and miscarriage issues at work. In some ways I don’t have the choice, information has been passed on without my knowledge, so people are aware. With the most recent issue I suddenly took three days off work.
About two days after I got back a coworker asked me how it went. I was a bit off guard and I answered that I had had a d&c on Wednesday. She was rather shocked, she had thought it was an IVF related procedure. She has two small kids, and between her and the two guys with younger kids there is a lot of early childhood discussion in our office. Very little I can do about this, but it is why my iPod is loaded with podcasts and I listen to a lot of them.
There is one other childless person in the office, that I now know has known she was unable to have kids since she was 15.
Today it was just the three of us in the office at the end of the day and 1st co-worker thought that it was a good idea to tell a story about her GP who lost a baby, had seemed single and now is about 30 weeks and has a ring on her finger even though she is in her late 30s. I know she means well, and she thinks of it as an inspiring story, but it isn’t. I hate stories where the subtext is that a woman can’t be happy unless she has a man (partner) and baby or two. I can see why people might see them as inspiring or showing hope, but what they say to me is that the person doesn’t appreciate that a life without children (or a partner) can be valuable.
I didn’t say anything on those lines, I was just very non-committal. Other co-worker (single as far as I know, childless and well into her 40s) was silent.
It has made me very wary of what I say when I try to offer support of comfort- sometimes the words of support are more about comforting the speaker than the person needing help.