Under the category of "Things Well-Meaning People Have Said To Me Thinking They Were Being Supportive" here's my list of what not to say...
...to a woman who has just undergone a miscarriage (circa 2002):
- "It was probably because you were on the Pill."
Intended meaning: "It won’t happen again; there’s nothing wrong with your body."
What I heard: "You should have known better than to use the evil abortifacient BCPs; if you had just used the rhythm method you would already have seven children by now."
- [in response to my explanation that very early miscarriages usually occur because of insufficient genetic information] "I knew there was a reason this happened! God would only give a disabled child to those who can handle it."
Intended meaning: "This might seem meaningless and cruel to you right now, but really it’s all for the best."
What I heard: "You are a selfish, immature woman who lacks the moral stature to parent a disabled child."
...to the mother of a speech-delayed toddler (circa spring 2006):
- "Yes, my daughter is highly verbal, but you shouldn't use her as a standard of comparison - Angelica is abnormally advanced because we’ve been using sign language with her since infancy."
Intended meaning: "Your son’s speech development is normal and nothing to worry about."
What I heard: "It’s too bad your son wasn’t fortunate enough to have a dedicated sign-language teaching mom. His speech delay could have been prevented if only you shared my enlightened parenting practices."
...to a wife who is taking five minute to blog while her husband chops vegetables for the grill (circa last night):
- "I was listening to Leonard Cohen’s 'Democracy' on the way home from work and I had to laugh when he sang about 'the homicidal bitchin’ / that goes down in every kitchen / to determine who will serve and who will eat'."
Intended meaning: "Democracy won’t hit this kitchen until the kids are old enough to make their own meals."
What I heard: "blah blah blah blah Get off your butt and make me some supper, woman."
My response in every case? Blink, blink - change of subject.
(Except for the last one - then it was more like: Blink, blink - stirrings of homicidal rage, curtailed by hubby's hasty explanation and timely offer of a nice dessert.)