Monday, November 17, 2008


I was in the supermarket today. It appears that many of my interesting encounters and overhearings occur in the supermarket.

Today was no exception.

I was alone in the supermarket. That almost never happens. I had meandered through the store with no plan for the week's meals. I hate doing that. Even working on the fly I was able to keep my bill within $5 of my budget.

I had found all that I figured I needed for lunches and dinners this week and I was checking out. Because my children were not with me I was able to hear things around me. I was able to hear the silence of the checker as she slowly rang up each of my items.

I was able to hear the lead cashiers talking about their weekends and who was working until what time.

And I was able to hear the customer at the lane next to me and behind me. I don't know how this topic came up. I'm not sure if the cashier asked this customer how her day was or if there was something wrong. I really don't know.

All I know is that this woman's, the customer, daughter had just had a miscarriage today. She was sad for her daughter and her son in law. I was sad for her daughter. The cashier was wonderfully compassionate.

The woman went on to talk about her daughter and how she wasn't that far along, just over 10 weeks. She went on to talk about how hard she was taking it. She then started talking about ultrasounds and dopplers. And this is what upset me.

She began going on and on about how she blames ultrasounds and the dopplers. She blames the doctors. She blames the medical field for her daughter being so devastated.

Her words:
It's too early for ultrasounds. It's too early to hear the heartbeat. These doctors are getting people's hopes up and then killing them when they have a miscarriage. We shouldn't be doing ultrasounds and dopplers this early. It isn't right. We shouldn't be getting so many, either. Who knows what they are doing to babies?! When I had my kids ultrasounds weren't even really around.

I paid. I looked at her. I left. Upset. A little angry.

I wanted to stop that woman. I wanted to offer her my heartfelt sorrow for her daughter. I wanted to let her know how sorry I was that her daughter had to go through a miscarriage.

And then I wanted to go off on her.

Her ignorance angered me. Her opinion made me want to scream and cry all at once. Her words hurt me in some way.

If her daughter had not lost her baby would the ultrasounds still have been too early? If her daughter was not suffering this terrible loss would hearing the heartbeat have happened too early?

No, of course not.

If her daughter had started bleeding and the ultrasound showed a viable beating heart, would it have still been too soon? If her daughter had been exposed to radiation and an ultrasound at 6 weeks showed a living being growing inside, would it still have been too soon?


I get it. I do. This is woman is upset. Her daughter is hurting. She is hurting. She lost a grandchild. Her daughter lost a child. I understand that we speak out of pain in ways that we wouldn't normally speak. I know that we often look for people and things to blame when sad and senseless things happen.

I understand all of that.

I just was so upset by this woman in the supermarket. I was so upset by her words that, while understandably motivated by pain and sadness, were in so many ways ignorant.

Ultrasounds and dopplers saved mine and my daughter's lives.

Ultrasounds and hertbeats are incredible to here. They do give hope and sadly sometimes hope is taken away when what is meant and wanted to be seen is not.

I don't know why I took these words so close to heart. I mean I do know why, but they brought me to a point where I've wanted to cry. She was not speaking to me. She was venting and sharing and I overheard. Imposed. Eavesdropped.

I was nosy. Maybe I shouldn't have been. The words were not meant for me. She was not looking to upset anyone. She was expressing her grief as she is entitled to do.

And now I'm expressing my anger and sadness.

I hurt for her daughter and the pain, both emotional and physical, she is experiencing. I hurt for her and her anger at losing a grandchild in the making. I just hurt.


Kimmylyn said...

I understand your anger.. I do.. I clearly remember when I had to get an ultrasound every two weeks with my second how my mother would say that it was more harm than good.. the words really do hurt..but again..this women is probably just dealing with the pain.. we all grieve differently.. but I totally get why you it upset you so much.. xoxoxo

Momo Fali said...

I'm sorry. There is nothing I hate more than ignorance. People who don't know what they're talking about should just keep their mouth shut. I understand she was looking for someone or something to blame, but she needs to keep her feelings to herself...or she should start a blog!

Helen E.M. Wright said...

Totally understandable! Since moving here I find that I come into that kind of situation way too many times.

Hope you feel better after the rant!

Kate said...

I think it's common for people in our parents generation, who had no u/s, to feel that way. My mom would make comments like "how did we ever survive before u/s?" as if you were a wimp for having one. That would have upset me, too.

crazymumma said...

I guess you overheard her for a reason. So you could feel your hurt again. Sometimes we need to relive these agonies to remind us of what I do not know. All I know is that we do relive them.

clear as mud huh?

design by