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Bearer of Bad News

babysugar Diaries: Debbie Downer Couldn't Help Herself

Yesterday was a perfect San Francisco morning. The sun was out offering more warmth than usual. It seemed I was due for a pretty good day until Debbie Downer sat down next to me. She and friend, who seemed chipper weren't. I endured an hour long dialog of her divulging all sorts of horrific baby stories and tales of other health issues.

I tried my best to turn my ear from the conversation, but could hardly avoid it, as they were two feet away. Among the tragic stories she discussed: an eight-month-old twin who suffocated while sleeping with his parents, a child who severed her wrist at a playground, a nasty custody battle, and gout! Maybe I am extra sensitive to such topics as a mother — a pregnant one at that. After she made it through her list of "must tell" tales, she relieved me by leaving the cafe.

Some of those stories are good to hear — parents can learn lessons from other's mistakes. But, one after another was just too much to bear.

Join The Conversation
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I don't think it's a burden to be polite, I just don't think it's impolite to discuss these things in public.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
i dont think it's a burden to be polite... BUT, i also thought this story all occurred on a bus. And I dont know WHY exactly in a cafe it wouldnt bother me (yeah i would have gotten up and sat elsewhere in a heartbeat) BUT in the context of commuting it does. but it does. i guess meeting your friend for coffee & dishing & venting is expected, and i agree w/getting up & getting over it. i'm in a very different frame of mind about it when it comes to commuting (i guess i got issues w/that being a commuter)
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I think getting up and moving is excellent advice. Like others have said, it's not their fault you're pregnant, they shouldn't be limited in what they're venting about near you. If it's a one-on-one conversation, it's different. Seriously, "gout" is on the list. And especially if a pregnant woman is sitting and only 6 months along, how am I supposed to know she's pregnant? I don't think that falls under "visibly."
foxie foxie 9 years
It's not their fault OR their burden that someone else is pregnant and hormonal.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
it's tough for a pregnant woman to pick herself up and remove herself from the situation when she's on public transportation and pregnant (she was probably grateful for the seat in the first place), i also think it's horribly cruel and insensitive for someone to talk about infant death or birth horror stories while next to a visibly pregnant woman.... and i dont think the world revolves around pregnant women, i've been pregnant, it's not a disability but w/that said... i still wouldnt have thought it was acceptable even if i never was pregnant myself... i dont think people realize (unless they've been pregnant) the amount of thoughtless comments that people think are okay... comments on the size of your @ss... comments on due date.... and these are just the STRANGERS... and in sharing stories here... it's more of a venting i think, and that was always helpful to me when i was pregnant. i'm a little surprised that anyone thought... well get up &/or say something (some people arent comfortable being confrontational like that).... it's not their fault you're pregnant and hormonal....
sldc sldc 9 years
Just politely tell the person "I do not want to hear this" and stop the situation. Why would anyone opt to sit through an uncomfortable situation, then blame the other person as though they were held at gun point? Some people do not pick up on social cues, so do not just sit there and smile or give subtle hints if you are truly uncomfortable... speak up and move on with your day.
macgirl macgirl 9 years
babysugar, you're probably a little more sensitive preggers as I know I was. Actually I still am incredibly sensitive to these kind of stories. I think the best thing to do is just move your seat. I know it's annoying to have to do that as you should be able to sit wherever you like an not be subjected to INCREDIBLY INAPPROPRIATE BS. We can't control the world, only our actions. I like to be in a positive place and just remove myself from negativity.
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Offensive stuff, I do. But general sharing of stories, no. I mean, if I saw an obviously pregnant woman I doubt I'd be sitting there discussing infant loss, but I can see doing it with a friend who lost her child and not realizing I was near a pregnant woman. I don't think the stuff in the post is considered "offensive," though.
justanerd1975 justanerd1975 9 years
although, I would censor myself if I was near someone whom I though I might offend. Common courtesy, no?
Greggie Greggie 9 years
It's not uninvited when it's the topic at hand. You can't post a topic such as this and expect people to just say "Oh I agree" without sharing why. I don't see any hypocrisy in that. I had missed that it wasn't even someone talking to her, though. You're right, that's silly to be upset about that, and it's a totally different situation than the replies. It's silly to expect people to censor their conversations that don't even involve you.
foxie foxie 9 years
And I think it's funny that, on this post complaining about people telling pregnant women horror stories, several of you are telling pregnant LilSugar your horror stories! A little hypocritical, no?
foxie foxie 9 years
She wasn't even talking to you, right? She was talking to her friend, YOU were listening, so I don't see why she's to blame. I don't want to be harsh, but the world doesn't revolve around pregnant people. You shouldn't expect that everyone around you knows or cares what you do and don't want to hear about.
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 9 years
How sad. Some people are very insensitive.
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
seriously.... someone should compile all the stupid stories told to pregnant woman... and write a book... nine chapters... oh and dont forget the BONUS CHAPTER: when youre no longer pregnant and someone things you still are!!!!!
roxtarchic roxtarchic 9 years
it never ceases to amaze me... the STUPIDITY of people when they talk to... or NEAR... pregnant woman. when i was 8 months (or close to it) i was getting my nails done & the women next to me proceeded to discuss ONE horror birth story after another to her friend sitting across from her... one had the mother dying in childbirth.... i kept looking around me like "is there a camera, is this a joke" and then i decided i'd call my sister on my cell phone (who cares if i botched the polish i was so angry)... and proceeded to talk VERY LOUDLY about "these two old bats getting their nails dried w/me right now are telling horror birth stories, and they're SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME" before i knew it, their nails were dry & they were gone.... and that wasnt the only story like that i'd heard.... i was often SHOCKED at the things people said
SnickersBar SnickersBar 9 years
I know!!! When I was 8 months pregnant we went to a family party and cousins from out of state were there with their 3 month old baby. One aunt proceeded to tell me the story of how the mother didn't feel the baby moving a lot one day and when her husband got home and she told him, he made her go to the emergency room where the umbilical cord was wrapped around the babies neck 3 times and they had to do an emergency c-section. I really think she was exaggerating a bit, but I was SO freaked out after that. Every time the baby didn't move for like an hour, I was poking my belly and getting worried, and I was just like, why??? Why would you tell an 8 month pregnant first time mom that story? As if you don't already stress enough about having a healthy baby!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I don't understand at all how people think stuff like this is ok to talk about uninvited at all, much less to a pregnant woman. My mother-in-law called me when I was six months pregnant to tell me that her coworker who was due the same time as me had just lost the baby. Uh, thanks.
bluepuppybites bluepuppybites 9 years
Someone I worked with decided to enlighten me with a story about how it's becoming more common for people to stalk pregnant women then kill the mother and cut the baby out or else kill the mother after she returns from the hospital, with her newborn and take the newborn. This are not the kind of stories you tell an 5 month or any pregnant woman for that matter. I was so upset I had nightmares about this.
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