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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Think Before You Speak

I wish more people would follow that line of reasoning!

Since Kayla was born I can really only think of 2 instances that stick out in my mind where someone said something that bothered me. Whether it was from ignorance or not, they were still comments that left me thinking, "I can't believe she just said that!" One of the comments came from an audiologist at the ENT office when Kayla was 11 months old; this same person did it again today.

We had to go to the ENT office this morning to sign paperwork for Kayla's upcoming surgery for her 4th set of tubes. We didn't have to meet with the ENT or audiologist; just the tech to go over the details.

On our way out we stopped by the receptionist to make the 4-week follow-up appointment for after the surgery. One of the audiologists walks by and stops to say hi. Here is our conversation:

"oh you're going to have another baby."
"yep!"
She asked if everything was going good with the pregnancy and I said it was. Then she asked this, "Did you have an amnio?"

Excuse me?! I couldn't believe she just came right out and asked me like that. How rude.

I nonchalantly said no as if it wasn't a big deal. I should have said "that's a personal question." or "that's really none of your business."

I really wish I would have said, "for what?" But I never think of things to say until after the fact. I'm not good at thinking on my toes like that.

I know there are some ladies who do get a CVS or amnio with their pregnancy after having a baby with Ds, and I have no problem with that. It doesn't bother me if other ladies chose to have an amnio because they want to know and not be surprised at birth.

The problem was her thinking I would automatically get an amnio with this pregnancy because Kayla has Ds. If Kayla didn't I'm positive she wouldn't have just asked me that question.

I'm glad we don't actually see her for the ENT appointments. But really, I wish more people would think before they speak.

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51 comments:

Shannon @ Gabi's World said...

I am so sorry that she wasn't very kind in her words. I never think of things to say until afterwards either. But man I can chew them out in the mirror when I get home! LOL!

O Mama Mia said...

Some people can be so insensitive! I'm so sorry. :(
I have that same prob with creating the craftiest comembacks waaayyyyy after the situation is over. Unless its Hubz... then I can fire them off like nothing. Not such a great skill for marital bliss, right? ;)

LauraJ said...

You know how Staples has an Easy Button? Well folks should have a Tact button. So when they are tactless we can just buzz it and it zaps them some sense!!

My story is we once had an in home support worker come in to meet with us. She wants to learn about Aaron and his special needs. Then right in front of him she asks me does he have a life expectancy? With all the pride and courage I could muster (because I was learning at the time how to deal with people with my new way of approaching life situations) I told this lady That is not a conversation I have with people I don't know very well. That lady shut up. Last summer we were at the park another lady I dont know at all sees Aaron in this big disabled stroller type thing and asks me What's wrong with him? I replied I'm sorry but I don't discuss that with people I don't know. :D Go me! Believe me Kayla is only 4 years old... that mama radar for rude people will come into play sooner or later. ;)
I love the look on people's faces when I use tact and put them in thier places for having been rude in the first place. Trust me they feel like an ass. Not my intention but yet still helps folks to become aware of what they are saying and to think twice next time. (Sorry this got so freakin' long!)

Corey~living and loving said...

how totally rude and tackless. sigh...I agree...people really need to think before they speak.

Karly said...

Ugh, some people...I also hate that people always ask us if we had prenatal testing with our DD...like they are trying to see if we chose to have a child with DS or were just "unlucky." I know most probably ask because they know it could easily be them in our place and they are scared. I always tell them that we are forever grateful that we didn't know anything other than to expecting a wonderful DD...exactly what we ended up with.

amber said...

How is it that some people are just so socially awkward that most everything that comes out of their mouths in these situations turns out to be completely insensitive?

We have had a couple of people ask us why we haven't had the amnio done when the risk of miscarriage is so low, but the worst we have run into yet was a couple of weeks ago when someone asked, "Did you do something to make him this way?"

I had no idea how to respond because it caught me so off guard. We don't even know for sure if he has Down Syndrome yet or not (didn't have the amnio), but what would prompt anyone to ask that question? It was a family member, so I guess they felt a little more freely about asking their question, but good grief! You don't ask people THAT!

PEA said...

It always amazes me how some people have no tact at all...grrrr! Like you, I always think of what I could have answered, after the fact! lol I just LOVE those pictures of Kayla in your previous post, how very adorable she is in those poses:-) xox

Mommatude said...

Yes girl!!!
When I was pregnant with my second child-MY DR-told me that I should have an amnio in case I wanted to terminate-I thought "how is that for forcing opinions on me."Needless to say he wasnt my Dr for very long.

Dana a/k/a Sunshine said...

I am sorry you have to deal with such insensitive comments. I would be upset too!!! And yea, after situations like that is when you think of the best retorts. I think I might have said

"No, I didn't have an amnio...but if having one would cure strangers from asking RUDE AND INSENSITIVE QUESTIONS, I might consider it next time!"

I don't know, it was the best I could come up with at the moment.

But seriously, how RUDE!! And so NONE OF YOUR BI-NESS lady!!!

my--four--sons said...

Delurking to say people just don't realize what they are saying sometimes. Right after we adopted our little boy I found out I was pregnant. Well at my babies open house my husbands grandma asked me if I was going to give him back now that I was pregnant. I was totally taken back. When I found out this year that he is Autistic I tell ya I was nervous to hear what she would say. Luckily she has been very good about it.

Julie said...

I unfortunately have been coming across rude people like that more and more. It has actually made me really drill in my girls heads the whole "you must think before you speak thing." I can see me someday getting very rude back. By the way Kayla is beautiful and if I were in your shoes I would not have had one either.

chelle said...

awww hun people are so rude!!! Sometimes I think it is innocent other times I think they are just nasty people.

Christina said...

Man that was very rude to ask such a personal question! I got it a lot to when I was prego with Brittany. I can come back with tons of stuff after the fact to but I figure if it was important enough to have been said God would have given me the words...

Kerry said...

I am amazed at your story and the stories in your comments. I wonder if I ever said something I shouldn't have way back when when I was ignorant (and stupid) and young. I also hate thinking of the PERFECT response too late... it drives me crazy

Me said...

Ohh... that's really insensitive.. What is it with people who don't think before speaking? I see it all the time... and actually can think of the come back straight away, but usually don't voice it.

Trace

Leanne said...

Oh Michelle...
I have had such similiar situations..
"oh, at least you'll have YOUR OWN baby"...
"at least you know you can conceive"
are among my "favorites"...
People, especially women, do not think before they put their foot in their mouth at times...
It does remind me to be careful with my words!

Kari said...

I envy your ability to maintain your composure. I would have been rude back! You should be proud of yourself. When ppl say rude and ignorant things to me I always retaliate then later regret allowing them to get me so angry. Hopefully you won't have to run into that ENT again for a long time or ever! Maybe next time you go to ENT she will be in the OR having her foot removed from her mouth!

Nisa said...

I hate it when I can't come up with a "proper" response to rude people/questions right away, but I think your response was just fine. You said no, like it wasn't a big deal because it isn't a big deal. Also, I've always found that if you can't come up with a good response right away, giving the person "the stink eye" works too. At least they know you thought they were rude. I'm glad you've got this blog, so you can vent your frustration.
love you and Kayla!

Amy said...

Michelle, the older I get the faster I am on my toes with the comebacks. So hang in there! And, yes, that was quite rude because you know exactly why she asked that question.

There used to be a young woman that lived in our area with a child that had a deformed nose. The little girl was beautiful though and she would just smile and wave to people as they shopped. And it was quite obvious the young woman was very proud of her. One day I overheard another shopper stop and say, "Isn't there anything you can do about that nose?" I about died. The young woman politely smiled and said, "I haven't given it any thought." And then she went about her shopping! Good for her!

People are rude in all ways, unfortunately. And I can be too. When people stare at me walking on my cruches I've asked them, "Have you never seen a fat woman on crutches before?" I know it isn't christian like and I don't do it all the time, but if they are one of those that will stare you down then I will. Me bad!

Okay, I've rambled long enough. Start thinking of those comebacks Michelle!

Tara said...

I don't understand people. You're exactly right - if you hadn't have had Kayla first they wouldn't have asked. When I was pregnant with my second child, I had several look at me and say "I guess as soon as you have the baby they'll rush it and test to make sure it doesn't have williams syndrome?" Ugh - no. People are just rude.

Mrs. Mac said...

How insensitive and none of her business!

smileymamaT said...

You're right, a lot of people have absolutely no idea they've just said something that made you cringe inside.
Once when the girls were all very little (they all have different shades of hair and eyes), someone said to me very non-chalantly,
"Do they all have the same father?" I could not think of a thing to come back with!? I wish I had! I wish I'd said, "No, I've got sugardaddies all up and down the East Coast" or something!
:) Hang in there - the audiologist, I'm sure, did not intend to be hard-hearted.
-hugs-
T

Once Upon a Dream... said...

That was a very insensitive thing for the tech to say.

I never think of things to say until afterwards.

People are always asking me if Olyvia is adopted because her hair is redish-blond. And my hair is dark brown and Steve's is black.

camille said...

People like that drive me crazy. I can't stand those insensitive comments, but I'm the same as you, I don't think well on my feet. I stew in it later and think of everything I should have said. Ugh!

Mauzy said...

What is probably worse is the statement made by a nurse, in my baby massage class, when Nash was about 8 months old. We were chatting about our boys, and she was a "mature" mom like me. I told her I loved the massage class because of Nash's lower tone due to Down syndrome and she looked at me, at him, and said "why didn't you have an amnio"? PRESUMING of course if I had I would have aborted.

Yes, with her there was no thinking before speaking as there were no brains to contain thoughts.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

What kind of person says something like that????? What kind of office wants someone like that working there???? I know you're too nice, but I would have mentioned her comment to the ENT. I would have just told them that she got personal and you were offended.
I actually know someone, who shall not be named here, that would say something like that. She embarrasses my husband and I all the time. It's like she's missing the "sensor" gene. But that doesn't excuse the comments.
I'm sorry that lady was so rude.

Shelley said...

Definitely in the 'no idea' category isn't she? Still I can't help but be impressed and glad that you have encountered such comments only a couple of times - it gives me hope that Kayla and Hannah and all the other people with DS are really helping ot overcome old prejudices. Hope it didn't upset your day too much.

Lianna said...

Michelle, I haven't read all the comments here, so please excuse me if I'm repeating an idea.

The bottom line, IMO, is that she didn't have the right to ask such a personal question. She is working in a profession that requires tact, even if in an ENT setting.

I would definitely reconsider saying nothing and re-contact her to tell her that you've been thinking about what she asked and you found it to be unprofessional.

Or mentioning it to her if you do happen to cross paths.

Virtual strangers have no right to make assumptions and innuendos -- especially those working in the healthcare professions.

I'm angry for you.

Megan's got 47 said...

that might be asking too much these days. I can't believe all the things I hear coming out of people's mouths...that lady had some nerve to ask you such a personal question.

Beth said...

That wasn't very kind of her at all! I'm sorry you had to go through this! My opinion on "special" children is that God gives them to "special" people who he knows will give them the love and care they will need! Shame on her for asking you that and for all those that might ask what is "wrong" with anyone with special needs!!!!! I admire all of you that love and care for these special little ones!
~Beth~

Katie said...

ugh!
Seriously... some people.
I can never think of comebacks until later either.
sorry you had to hear that ignorent women speak!
xxoo

Jen said...

You know....when I pregnant with Miller my Dr wanted to me get an amnio....my first response was Why? She explained some things and I stil looked at her and said I will love this baby no matter what. I prayed for this child and God gave him to me. This is our adventure and I will not play God. She smiled and said you are so right. Michelle there are just some people out there that dont think...plain and simple. My advice to you is to laugh it off because you have the biggest blessing by far.....Kayla.

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

My daughter-in-law and I were just talking about how careless and downright stupid some people can be with their comments. It's a constant source of amazement to me just how insensitive and rude people can be! While I know you might have felt better if you'd have said something to her, you can almost bet that someone like her wouldn't have gotten it anyway. She just sounds too dense.

Karen said...

I'm sorry that people are so insensitive. I truly think they mean well, but it just comes across wrong. It still irks, though.

Princess Morgan said...

Sorry to hear the ignorant comments of others. I have taken it upon myself to educate those who either don't know what to say or stick their feet in their mouths. Being right behind you with my pregnancy I am choosing the same route. I prayed for a healthy, happy baby with Morgan & that is exactly what I got. I would not change a thing nor do I want someone sticking a needle through my uterus. Kudos to you Michelle. Never be afraid to educate the ignorant. It will only make a better world for our precious angels. :) How are you feeling? ANy new belly shots?

As We Sail... said...

After I had Stephen my doctor asked me if I would want to have an amnio if I had any more kids. I said no, because why take any amount of risk of miscarriage if you know you are going to keep the baby no matter what.
Others have asked me the same thing since, but I just figured that they really wanted to know my view on it, so I told them, no big deal. Maybe I'm just naive?
Now, you can also tell if someone is being judgmental because it shows in the tone. Many times children have asked me what's wrong with "that boy", and I'm happy to tell them a little about people who are different and how they can be a friend to them. Also, many times I've caught adults staring at Stephen, and most of the time they have come and told me that they have a relative or friend with DS and they are happy to see me take him out and about, because some are embarrassed to.

joan said...

I'm so sorry this happened to you Michelle but it sounded like you handled it well. I am the worst when thinking of something when someone is rude but for days afterwards I think of the best responses I could have said. I hope you have a great weekend!

Cheri said...

Oy vey. I'm a brand-new reader over here, in fact this is my first time. I posted once about when I'm asked highly personal questions about my child. (Sorry for the link, I'm not trying to pimp my blog, but I wanted you to see what I thought about it.) I will say that most times I think people are simply trying to connect, albeit in a lame way. In the case of the audiologist, she's just an insensitive, shallow, creature in a human disguise.

I'll be back to read again. I love the pictures of the beautiful blue-eyed girls. May you be blessed with another baby just as perfect.

Cheri said...

Oops. That was supposed to say "pictures of the beautiful blue-eyed girl." I can see there's one girl!

Killlashandra said...

Sometimes I think healthcare professionals are biased by their own bias. That was awfully rude and tacky of them to say to you. Very insensitive.

However, when I was on the phone with a nurse talking about my step son's surgery to have his tonsils out I asked my husband some of the medical related questions as I wasn't around at his birth and the woman on the phone goes:

You're not his mother?

I think if I could have throttled her through the phone I would have. When we went for the apt I complained to the charge nurse the woman lacked tack on the phone and treated me second rate. Of course I got the concilatory response of I'll talk to her about her phone etiquette....

I don't know maybe it's a new mexico thing too...

DeAnna said...

I too am surprised at how insensitive people can be. I wish I was a little quicker on my toes too, although I have to say I'm learning to be a little quicker with all the comments we've gotten. :) think your nonchalant no was probably the best response, probably spoke volumes to her.

Anonymous said...

How very rude and thoughtless! People can be awful, at times. My husband and I didn't have our son until we had been married five years. I can't tell you how many people asked me if I were infertile! My reproduction issues were none of their business. But, like you, I was too "polite" (and too taken aback by their rudeness) to call them on it.
You're right, she wouldn't have asked about your plans to have amnio if your daughter didn't have DS. I would confront her the next time you see her. She works in the health care field so she should, if anything, be more considerate and aware than most.
She'll probably tell you she didn't mean any harm and them get miffed at you. Too bad. I'd even consider speaking with her supervisor.
I know this is getting long, so I'll end by what I told a cashier at a pet store who complained that her credit card machine was "retarded" because it wasn't working properly: "That's offensive. Please think before you speak."

Kathleen Marie said...

I am so sorry you went through that pain. It was extremely rude and inappropriate. I think I would write her a very kind note telling her how it made you feel so she doesn't harm someone else.

My Sis-in-law went through a lot of stuff simply because she was 38 and it was her first child. The fear the so called professionals put her through was so uncalled for.

God Bless you and thanks for sharing from your heart!

Anonymous said...

What a rude person!!I am so sorry that you had to deal with that. I know how you feel about thinking of a comment later.You did handle it good, even though you wanted to say something else. I pray that you don't have to deal with that person anymore!I hope all goes well with her 4th set of tubes and I hope it will be her last time.
love ya,
mimi

Mom/Mil/GM said...

I really hate rude people!!!

Anne said...

EVERYONE wanted to know if I had/was having an amnio when I was pregnant with the twins.

I declined all testing, but I did have a high-level ultrasound because mine was a multiples pregnancy.

And of course everyone also wanted/wants to know if twins run in our family. The answer to that question is also no.

Melany aka Supermom said...

That is SO rude!!!! I can't believe she felt it's okau to ask such a personal question.

StephthefutrRxDr said...

Sadly most people don't realize that Ds isn't inherited! I just found your blog by the way, and my little sister has Ds and she's now 22, but anyways how often do you see families with 2 kids with Ds? Crazy lady..

Christina said...

I was over at Jen's blog "A good cup of coffee" and saw your comment and figured I'd check your blog out.

What a pretty little girl you have and I just had to comment on this particular post. When I was pregnant with my son I had gotten chicken pox and then a month later poisoning from a bug spray, the doctors kept asking me to have amnio since they couldn't be sure what was up with the baby after all this and I kept refusing. They just couldn't understand that I was having the baby no matter what so what would be the point in amnio. They were flabbergasted that I was just going to have my baby without knowing what was going on. How stupid can people be?

My husband is also in the military and I am a SAHM with 7 kids, but only 5 still in the house. 2 are grown.

Stephanie said...

Hi. I don't you at all, but looked at your blog after seeing the comment you left on Heidi's whom I know very well. I think that was the most inconsiderate thing ever. I am a speech pathologist and also had to applaud you for having the signing time link on your site. I so strongly believe in the power of sign! You have a BEAUTIFUL little girl and the sun is shining through those beautiful eyes!

Stephanie Berndt
babyhomepages.net/berndtfamily

Stephanie said...

I'm so sorry, I just re read my comment and I meant that what the audiologist said to you was inconsiderate...not what you said to heidi! I AM SO SORRY...when I re read it and didn't put the subject before i used a pronoun...how silly of me. I