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Am I being insensitive?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A coworker just told me he has to go home early because his wife is upset because their son and DIL suffered a miscarriage.

This is a sad event to be sure, and if it had been his wife who had the miscarriage certainly he would need to go home. But he had to go home because his DIL had a miscarriage??

Their DIL is fine (health wise). This would have been the first child for their son and DIL together but they both have children from previous marriages. They are both young. They were able to get pregnent soon after they started trying.

Is it insensitive of me to not understand why his wife would be so upset that he had to leave work early to go home and comfort her???
post #2 of 11
I see it as a fine line. In this case, if you don't know how close he was to his son and DIL, so you really can't judge. I usually support people who have illnesses in their families, unless they are the type to overuse excuses to get out of work. If this person doesn't typically do this, then I would look the other way.

It does remind me of a recent situation I had at work. A coworker's daughter had cancer and he was taking her for chemo. He missed enough work that they told him he was unable to do his job and fired him. I spoke up about that one cause what they did was absolutely insensitive.

That's why I see this as a fine line. When is a family illness so disruptive to the family that it justifies time off of work?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I see it as a fine line. In this case, if you don't know how close he was to his son and DIL, so you really can't judge. I usually support people who have illnesses in their families, unless they are the type to overuse excuses to get out of work. If this person doesn't typically do this, then I would look the other way.

It does remind me of a recent situation I had at work. A coworker's daughter had cancer and he was taking her for chemo. He missed enough work that they told him he was unable to do his job and fired him. I spoke up about that one cause what they did was absolutely insensitive.

That's why I see this as a fine line. When is a family illness so disruptive to the family that it justifies time off of work?
He's very close to his son.

The leaving work early part isn't a problem. Our company is pretty lax about that. We can leave work early for reasons a lot less serious than illness.

It is the part about him having to leve because his wife was so "upset".

Maybe I am being insensitive.
post #4 of 11
Some men hide their emotions. I'll bet he left because he was upset and not because his wife was upset. He lost his grandchild. That has to be emotionally painful.
post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
He's very close to his son.

The leaving work early part isn't a problem. Our company is pretty lax about that. We can leave work early for reasons a lot less serious than illness.

It is the part about him having to leve because his wife was so "upset".

Maybe I am being insensitive.
He may have worded his reason to leave that way for any number of reasons.

Maybe he couldn't easily put into words how upset he was, either given his closeness to his son, or because he feels that he's lost a grandchild he never got to know - and many people do view miscarriage that way - but doesn't know how to articulate that. Maybe his wife feels she's lost a grandchild. Maybe his wife and he went through a miscarriage - or numerous miscarriages - themselves before they were able to have their son.

I would strongly encourage compassion in this situation.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Satai View Post
He may have worded his reason to leave that way for any number of reasons.

Maybe he couldn't easily put into words how upset he was, either given his closeness to his son, or because he feels that he's lost a grandchild he never got to know - and many people do view miscarriage that way - but doesn't know how to articulate that. Maybe his wife feels she's lost a grandchild. Maybe his wife and he went through a miscarriage - or numerous miscarriages - themselves before they were able to have their son.
Yeah, I guess.

Quote:
I would strongly encourage compassion in this situation.
Don't worry, I said all the right things. I'm not a complete doof. A partial one maybe...
post #7 of 11
i guess it's very possible that his wife & DIL were very close [friends]... if this was the 1st grandchild-to-be & wife is unusually sensitive... but it'd be quite strange if that were to happen in my family - & we all love each other deeply.
post #8 of 11
I can see why his wife was upset. She lost a grandchild; after all, it;'s her son's baby.

Perhaps she
(his wife) was having severe emotional problems that were triggered by the miscarriage--for example, threatening to kill herself, etc. Maybe he didn't feel comfortable telling you that part? Do you know the wife at all personally? If not, you don't know what's really going on with her emotional state. Perhaps he felt he needed to be there for her own safety? Just an idea.

Last year, DH came down with a horrible, severe stomach virus. In the 6 years I've known him, he never took a sick day. He did that day, partially because I insisted he do so--he had a fever, the runs, and chills. I also took a family sick day to be with him. I thought I'd have to take him to the ER (or that he'd try to drive himself, if left alone--I didn't want that). His runs were so bad, he often didn't make it the few feet to the master bathroom. He really shouldn't have been left alone, in my opinion. Whereas his illness wasn't life-threatening, someone needed to stay with him. I'm sure some co-workers thought I should've been at work.

Then, 2 days later, I came down with it! Another sick day from work. (Mine was mainly the vomiting version.) I had to wing it on my own, though! (He was back to work by then.) I spent 3 days in bed, almost 24/7.
post #9 of 11
For many a miscarriage is a death in the family. Our family still calls my SIL on the anniversary of her still birth to see how she is doing and it has been six years. It was devastating to her to lose her baby and it didn't matter that she already had a child. A miscarriage is a little different but they still lost a part of thier family. If your co-workers absence does not affect his work then I would consider it his family business and something that if very personal to them.

Just as I would expect no one to question me if I take off if one of my cats got sick I wouldn't question anyone elses emotions on a family event.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by MargeCat View Post
I can see why his wife was upset. She lost a grandchild; after all, it;'s her son's baby.

Perhaps she
(his wife) was having severe emotional problems that were triggered by the miscarriage--for example, threatening to kill herself, etc. Maybe he didn't feel comfortable telling you that part? Do you know the wife at all personally? If not, you don't know what's really going on with her emotional state. Perhaps he felt he needed to be there for her own safety? Just an idea.
That's a very good point. For people who are recovering from anxiety, depression and certain mental illnesses something like that can be a huge trigger that sends them right back into it. And if she is engaging in some kind of destructive behavior he would definitely need to be there for her safety..
I would understand in that case. If not, it is kind of strange to go home to his wife, maybe he wanted to be with her while they go and check on their DIL to see how she's doing.....
But also a lot of times grandparents take miscarriage more seriously than parents...
post #11 of 11
I think it is wonderful he is sensitive.
He will be back to work as usual soon enough. A miscarriage is pretty emotional
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