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Can you be proud of someone who hasn't done anything?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Sillow, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    A cousin of mine recently posted on social media that she was proud of all three of her children. Sadly, she has only two living children, having suffered a miscarriage at around twelve weeks pregnant, last summer.

    My initial thought on seeing her post (and I do not wish to offend, but want to be honest about my reaction) was that she couldn't be proud of an unborn child as it, sadly, never had the chance to "do anything". She can be proud that the child was conceived but that isn't the same thing.

    Now, I have never had the joy of being pregnant (although I live in hope) so I am hoping people here can help me understand her thinking a little better. I love my cousin dearly but I'm afraid I just don't understand. I hope you see this for the genuine request for enlightenment it is and not me trying to hurt anyone who has suffered in a similar way to my cousin. I just want to try to understand so I can empathise with her better.
  2. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    i'm with you.
  3. cuteinpuce

    cuteinpuce Star commenter

    I fully understand your cousin's feelings. I am immensely proud of our children, not for what they have done but for who they are. We were very fortunate in not losing any of our children before birth but at that stage they were very real and dear to us and very much part of our family.

    Good on your cousin.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    To put the other side of the coin. Just because one hasn't done anything doesn't mean something isn't precious.
    Perhaps that was what she was trying to say?

    We lost one in-between our two and I always think of having 3 children rather than 2. Just because we never got to see his/her face and know their personality doesn't mean it is insignificant to us.
  5. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    i can understand the child being precious and dear and part of the family psyche. that's a given, for me.
    i can't understand the being proud bit.
  6. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    It may be that's what she meant, @Lara mfl 05 . I just didn't want her to think I didn't care if I asked her what she meant by posting it, hence my posting on here! I can understand an unborn child being precious, for sure.
  7. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Sillow, I do understand your dilemma. When I was pregnant, I had a bad fall, landing on my stomach. It was quite early in the pregnancy but I felt a terrible fear and sorrow that I might have hurt the baby. Luckily, I didn't. I think your cousin might be feeling a bereavement for what might have been. Also, she is acknowledging her 3rd child.

    I've just reread what I've typed. Does it make sense?
  8. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Yes, makes sense, @Dragonlady30 ! I know she's still grieving, as is totally natural. And I can appreciate she will always acknowledge her third child. I suppose it was her being proud that kind of threw me.
    Lara mfl 05 and Dragonlady30 like this.
  9. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    I would have read it as her not wanting to leave the child she lost unacknowledged. Not necessarily that she's 'proud' as such, but that it's too painful to write 2 rather than 3 children as it feels somehow disrespectful to the memory of the child she lost. That sort of makes sense to me, as a coping mechanism for grief (especially when you bear in mind the guilt that it was something you did that often accompanies miscarriage).
  10. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Yes, now some of you have suggested it this way it makes more sense.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  11. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I do agree with this.
  12. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    Is the confusion here about being proud of the children for their achievements or being proud of herself that the children arrived and bring the world less grief than other kids do?
  13. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Exactly that @Lara mfl 05, as having had a miscarriage you are never very sure whether to acknowledge it at all. I lost a baby and although my eldest sister in law sort of dismissed it (+ put the fear of God into me after telling me it was deformed..... something in my ignorance I never checked up on/asked about - I had lost the baby in her downstairs cloakroom so never disputed that comment which made my 3rd very troublesome pregnancy even more nerve wracking !) Even though that baby was never born and as such "didn't exist" I always feel it isn't right to say I have had 2 pregnancies - I had 3. I had 3 babies just not all of the 3 were born.

    I think your cousin is just meaning to acknowledge the baby she lost..... and it isn't any kind of "proud" bragging. My miscarriage was 38 years ago and I still feel sadness.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  14. Orkrider2

    Orkrider2 Star commenter

    Sorry, just to add to what I said earlier, as I've been thinking about it, I think posting about her 3 children, and deliberately bringing it up, could be a means to keep acknowledging her grief and maybe to alleviate a sense of guilt as a result.
    I've never lost a child myself, but I have several close friends who have. One in particular mentioned the child she lost frequently in the months afterwards, almost to the point of it being rather morbid and obsessive. But hers was a particularly harrowing situation and I think it was out of a sense of guilt that she felt she had to prove to that child that she was willing to give him as much love and attention as her other children, even though he wasn't physically there. It did lessen over time and she now, 5 years later, only tends to post on facebook about that child on the date of his death and on what would have been his due date.
    Another friend of mine lost twins at 13 weeks, and she finds it really difficult when people ask her how many children she has. She doesn't want to leave the twins out, but she's also aware of how awkward the conversation becomes when bringing up topics like this with people she doesn't know well. It's been nearly 10 years now, but I know she still struggles with the guilt of not acknowledging them every time.
    But then, I have other friends who have lost children who have never been vocal about it and in some cases not told anyone other than a small circle of friends about their loss, so I guess it's a very personal reaction.
    Either way, it's nice that she's got a supportive cousin in you.
    Sillow likes this.
  15. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I know ours was 30 years ago and I still feel sadness too @HelenREMfan.
    You're right and we probably do worry why a child naturally miscarries and whether we may have done something or whether we are at fault in some way.
    I love your comment "I had 3 babies just not all of the 3 were born". We acknowledge their existence however short that is. I know I had a friend with a stillborn child and the nurses at the unit suggested they had a photo taken with the child. That may seem a bit morbid, but that photo became very precious to them.
  16. xena-warrior

    xena-warrior Star commenter

    Now wishing to make light of anything, but "I'm so proud of you" is one of things that people say considerably more often now than they did when I were a dinosaur. I suppose it's one of those self-esteem-raising things we're supposed to do with our kids, whether merited or not by any of their achievements. I think people use the phrase in an effort to be nice without really considering its actual meaning.
  17. dumpty

    dumpty Star commenter

    The lady is grieving and needs to be cut some slack. We all grieve differently, there is no magic 'time heals' date for anyone. I do agree relatives and friends need to be watched when grieving as it can become a dangerous form of depression but just being there, listening (laying off the cliches) and offering comfort will help.

    She probably knows she is being irrational deep, deep down in her brain.....that thought will edge its way out as the process unfolds and she should come to terms with it.

    However, there really is no time frame or deadline for anyone.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  18. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Nineteen years after the death of my child (who was eighteen) I still can't bring myself to say that I don't have children when people ask me if I do. Sometimes it causes embarrassment, but that's better than denying his existence.

    As for the pride thing, I tend to agree with ena. Whoops, sticky x typo, but I like it so I'll leave it!
    Sillow, your cousin is just coping. Let her be,
  19. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    Oh absolutely, I know she's still dealing with this and I make no demands on her "getting over it". I just need, as someone with no experience of pregnancy, to understand where she's coming from, to support her better.

    I had hoped to make it obvious in my post that I want to support her. No slack-cutting needed here, she has me to lean on whenever.

    Of course, hence my trying to understand on here, rather than asking her.
    aspensquiver_2 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  20. racroesus

    racroesus Star commenter

    On the face of it, it's a minor foible. If it isn't interfering with her general life leave her to it.

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