A few days ago, I was going back home from work in our office-provided cab. There were 2 other employees as well. I know them. Acquaintances. One of them, let’s name her X, has worked with me in my previous team, so I know a bit more about her & vice versa. The other, Y, a mother of 2 – she shares the cab with me once in a while, and that’s about it.
During casual conversation, X turned towards me – “Did you see Z? She’s back from her maternity leave.”
“Ya I saw. Didn’t get to talk to her though.”
Y pitched in to ask about Z’s childcare arrangements when she’s at work, etc. A small discussion between X & Y on newborns & sleepless nights followed. Slightly uncomfortable for me to sit in the same space as them & listen, given that they are not my friends & I don’t share emotions with them.
At one point, Y, with whom I haven’t spoken to beyond the casual Hi’s & hellos & thank yous, asked me “How’s your health now?”
“It’s fine.” I didn’t have anything else to say.
The only thing that was wrong with my health in the recent past was the C-section, post-partum issues & a messed up mental health. So, in all probability she must be asking about my C-section (she wouldn’t know about my mental health because I always smile to her. That means I’m fine, right?), which means she knows I had a baby, which also means she knows that my baby died because she didn’t ask anything about that baby. Now, that “how’s your health now?” seems very misplaced.
This wasn’t a first.
Once someone asked me “Is your backpain therapy helping you?”
Nothing before or after. Again, the same context.
I’ve been asked out of the blue by people on how my backpain was, or how my health was in general. If they know about my bad health, they should be knowing about my baby & the trauma that followed. Maybe, those questions & concerns would be better placed if there was an “I’m very sorry for your loss” or similar to precede them.
Ideally, something like this:
“I heard about your baby. I’m very sorry”….. ….”How’s your health though?”
I don’t blame them completely. Nobody wants to talk about death. Neither did I, until about a year ago. We’ve been conditioned to heavily filter our queries & concerns in a socially accepted format, even if it doesn’t make sense. Taboo. And, that filter takes away all the emotions that could have made that statement or question a bit more sensible.
Use filters only where it matters & makes sense!