Dear Dr. Yael,
I am writing in response to your column of January, 2022. It is true that making comments to a woman who we thought finally got pregnant, but really didn’t, goes very deep. Once we know someone is suffering, we should do our best to keep it in mind, but until the speaker gets the information that his/her words can go so deep, how is s/he supposed to know to stop? I agree that it’s not fair to the “pregnant” women to hear this when she’s going through such torture already, but why should others who are not personally involved, call us inconsiderate? Shortly after my mother was niftar, I happened to mention to my 12/13-year-old neighbor, that the program director in her school is my sister. She said “You lost your mother?!” That was not fun, but how can I complain when she very obviously had no idea whatsoever how deep her words went? I don’t think we can hold others responsible for hurting others when they have no idea what they’re doing.
Thank you for your letter. While I understand what you’re saying and agree that we cannot bear a grudge or stay angry at people that hurt us unintentionally (or really intentionally, but that is more of a higher madreiga and not relevant to this column), I am not sure that I can agree with your response. We can expect others to think before speaking. We should never assume someone is pregnant until they tell us and we should never be commenting on other people’s pregnancies. So many people are struggling with infertility and we must be sensitive to this and be careful what we say in all situations.
Of course we are all human and can make mistakes, which can be hurtful, but we still need to all work on thinking before speaking. It is a very serious thing to hurt someone with your words, especially when someone is already suffering, which is why we devoted a column to this.
Regarding your 12/13-year-old neighbor, while you are correct that she said something unintentionally painful, she is still a child. I hope that she learns how to be more sensitive to others as she grows up.
Please dear readers, be careful what you say and how you say it. We also need to work on not talking about others, even if we think they are not listening. We can help avoid a lot of pain in this way. In this zechus, may we merit to bring Mashiach very soon!
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Dear Dr. Yael,
I read your column about making comments to someone who gained some weight about being pregnant and the hurt it caused. I, too, am waiting for a baby and have gotten many hurtful comments. Recently my husband and I have decided to adopt a baby. If we thought people were insensitive before, we were shocked by what family and friends have said to us now! Instead of basking in our pure joy of becoming parents, we got many nasty comments about shidduchim and how we were making a mistake. We love our baby and will raise it as our own. Why do people say such hurtful things? Why should we worry about our child’s shidduch when we are enjoying every minute of our delicious baby that we awaited for many years?!
I really appreciated your response and hope that by printing your column, people will learn to not ask questions and not say painful things to others. I know people mean well, but do they think I’m deaf? Even those who don’t say painful things to me, often talk about me behind my back. Every simcha is tainted by painful comments and others speaking about my pain when they think I’m not around to hear them. I know people really do mean well and there are some close friends and family who have always been and continue to be a source of support. I am very grateful for them and do not mean to appear negative; however, I do think it’s helpful to write these columns and help explain to others how important it is to be careful with everything you say.
A Mommy Who Feels Blessed
Dear Mommy Who Feels Blessed,
First of all, Mazal Tov! Thank you for sharing this unbelievably special news. May you have much nachas from your delicious baby. You are correct that I printed this column in order to spare others pain and to help people realize the power of their words. I hope that people will be more careful with what they say to others and to not speak about others behind their back. I am sorry for the pain you endured and hope that you only have nachas and mazal from now on. Thank you again for your special letter. Hatzlocha!