I've had a couple of conversations over the past few days that have left me thinking and reflecting.
The first was on Friday at work. I was having a conversation with a colleague about how I'd like to try for a baby again in the summer. I explained that I'd now been trying for nearly 3 years (over this time I have had 3 miscarriages) and that I don't want to leave it any longer as time passes quickly. My colleague responded to tell me that she wished she'd taken the opportunity to have a third child and that it was now too late for her. She continued that she'd had a conversation with her sister in law last week. Her sister in law also has two children and is 31 so my colleague explained that she had told her sister in law that time was running out if she wanted a third child and she should try again now so she didn't miss the boat.
To be honest, to me who is 31 and hasn't got any children yet, this was very unhelpful. I think not least because actually in reality 31 isn't all that old but also comparing my situation to someone who already has two children just isn't a comparison to be made. I may have once dreamed for a large family but now I realise that one baby would be a massive blessing.
The second conversation was last night. We'd gone out for a meal with some friends who have been trying for a baby for about a year and a half. (They are the only couple who we know personally who like us are trying for a baby and struggling).
I got chatting with Sarah who out of the blue said "I wish I had your situation, your situation is so much easier than mine. At least you've had 3 miscarriages so know you can get pregnant".
I haven't found my life recently to be one that many people would wish to live. At times I've been grief stricken at the loss of three babies and I have felt deep despair. I hold on to a future of hope and live my life looking for the positives but I wouldn't say the past three years have been easy.
I also wouldn't say that my friend's situation has been easy either... she has suffered in different ways having to have lots of intrusive medical checks and interventions.
These two conversations made me reflect on my own thoughts and words. I've been really challenged to be careful about what I say to people and to try not to offer empty wisdom that doesn't offer any real support. I've been reminded that pain is pain! It's not good to look longingly at someone else's pain or difficult circumstances and think that somehow what they are going through is a walk in the park.
I've also been challenged to think about the advice I give... if it isn't helpful or being used to encourage or build someone up I should consider whether it's worth sharing it at all.
As a child I remember a teacher's favourite phrase was 'if you've got nothing good to say don't say anything at all'! I think this teacher was right.