Sometimes one of the hardest things to deal with as part of your grieving process can be uncomfortable or insensitive questions.
No matter how well meaning, when you are trying to cope with the loss of a child, questions from outsiders can cut deep.
Some people ask very personal, unnecessarily nosy questions, such as:
“Why don’t you have any children?”
Questions like this can sour the conversation, make the situation tense and even sting you when they take you by surprise.
Most often aimed at newly-weds, this question can hurt however long you may have been married.
In many cultures, the assumption that children automatically follow a marriage and that all is well, textbook happy-ever-after, often presides over any sense of tact.
It’s not that they mean to hurt you with their questions, quite often they simply don’t think that there may have been a tragedy, illness or passing.
No, not at all.
It is perfectly normal and healthy to feel the bluntness of questioning friends or acquaintances who are unaware of your loss.
You have every right to feel hurt and angry as you grieve and should not punish yourself for feeling this way.
Whilst it is definitely better to exercise patience when faced with these questions, we know that you may at times be all out of strength and that these questions can come when you are feeling your most vulnerable.
Although it may be tempting to snap back at those who ask personal questions that cut so close, a deep breath and a standard response will be infinitely better for you and your relationships.
That is not to say though that you should not respond truthfully or let them know how uncomfortable their questions have made you feel, if you feel able.
As the saying goes, a little tact can go a long way and a lack of awareness is often to blame.
Some ways to answer questions about why you do not have children can include:
“We had a boy/girl but they sadly passed away.”
“It’s quite a personal matter. We suffered a loss that is very private.”
“Our son/daughter passed away in 2015.”
“I’d rather not answer that, it’s quite personal,”
and change the subject.
At times though, we know that even saying those words may be more than you can bear.
In which case, it is better to safeguard yourself and walk away rather than lash out.
Do not feel bad for seeming to appear rude or hurting their feelings – sometimes you have to look after yourself over others and this can be one of those times.
Something else you could consider, is leaning on those who know what you have been through.
It may be easier to enlist the help of someone close to you who can take the person to one side and gently explain on your behalf.
Asking a sister or brother to do this for you may be the best way for you to deal with social situations such as this.
However you decide to respond, know that you are not alone.
Speaking to us or to a close friend and venting your feelings after a difficult conversation or social gathering is entirely ok.
You are human and have every right to feel hurt even if the questions were not meant to hurt you.
With time, you may be able to deal with tactless comments in a more measured way but for now, while you need to, look after yourself.
We pray that you find the strength to face the future, one day at a time.