Sunday, September 09, 2007

How much is too much?

So, I went to the clothing sale this weekend. Did well, got lots of what I needed but not all (no snowsuit for Corinne, though I got a winter COAT and several Christmas dresses, and a new wardrobe for the winter). My sisters did great, and got a double stroller, play kitchen set, and all of the clothing they were both looking for. As usual, while working the sale, you tend to get paired up with another mom and you will spend the day chatting.

The mom I met yesterday was fairly nice, though she felt the need to roll her eyes when people would arrive at the check out and change their minds on an item, or be confused or whatever. Which I don't understand, cuz we're VOLUNTEERING so why do you care what they're doing? Just go with the flow. Anyway, we got to a lull at one point, as usual, and were left to work very slowly while chatting. We got around to my 3 and her 1 child. The normal questions for me, "how old, are you done, do you work, etc. etc." I then returned the questions and she started to go into great detail of her infertility issues for 10 years, their 7 plus miscarriages, her IVF that resulted in triplets that she lost at 12 weeks which almost killed her, their adoption of her son, now about 2 years old and the open adoption that they have with his birth mom.

So. My question to you all, is it just me, or was that verrrrry detailed information to share with a complete stranger? I mean, we weren't sitting on a park bench while our kids played. In THAT situation, I think introducing yourself and your history is important to a future friendship. But in a one-day working relationship? In a situation where she KNOWS for a fact that I won't ever see her again, until the next sale? Also, she began to cry when talking about the triplets, NATURALLY. Which I would have. I don't know that there's ever a time that I COULDN'T talk about the loss of even one child, let alone the numbers that she has lost, withOUT crying. Which is why I put down my piles of tags that I was adding and talked to her, without being distracted and rubbed her back (which sounds SO cheesy, but what else could I do? She was a STRANGER). I thought of all of the women online that I've met, and tried to picture them sitting next to me and to offer her the support that I'd like to give to my friends (you know who you are) but am unable to due to the limitations of the net. But it still comes down to, we were working, and I didn't want to cross any boundaries with her. While some women crave physical and emotional support, others get completely furious when people who haven't experienced their pain try to just listen and "help." (which is a ridiculous thought. As if I could help with that. I'm sure nothing could help but the return of her children.)I did the best I could, and I hope it helped, but I am left feeling out of sorts...

Anyway. Hope I didn't offend. I just felt completely taken aback at the level of information a person can give a stranger during what was supposed to be a quick introduction between customers.

Please feel free to offer any advice on what to do if I should encounter a woman with a similar experience.
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