A friend of mine suffered a miscarriage. The following features the reactions of those around her. I admit I’m appalled, and dismayed, and just a little bit bewildered; not because I can’t begin to even know how something as sad as this feels, but more about the crappy behaviour of people who are meant to care.

So there’s the first judgement. I make no apology, I believe in calling shit out, and where behaviour has been unkind, thoughtless, or just plain insensitive I see no point in pretending it’s anything other than unacceptable.

Maybe it’s because we Brits are so buttoned-up emotionally, or completely hopeless when encountering the death of someone close, who knows, what I do know is how never to react to a woman who’s experienced this sad event.

Let me describe 

  • Never cross the street to avoid her
  • Never fake having seen her by keeping your eyes averted
  • Never ‘don’t mention it’ in case it upsets her
  • Never change the subject if she wants to talk about it
  • Never just ignore it ever happened
  • Never offer platitudes i.e. you’re young enough to start again, it’s God’s will, it’s not your time, it’s probably for the best, there was obviously something wrong with it …..
  • Never start your sentence with “at least”. Compassion rarely starts with the words ‘at least’
  • Never compare her loss with the death of your cat/dog/hamster/rabbit. It does not help
  • Never ask if the doctors have discovered something wrong with her ‘baby bits’

And so to end on what to do –

  • Send a card
  • Send flowers (or something more personal and thoughtful if you know them well)
  • Call her – reach out
  • Give her space to talk
  • Allow her tears
  • Sit with her pain. Do not seek to remove it, diminish it, or fix it
  • Be present
  • Be honest (if you don’t know what to say, tell them exactly that, it’s OK)
  • Be kind



The M-word Multi-tasking

I’ve made a realisation, and it’s epic! I’ve become a multi-tasker. I know, it’s worthy of the front page isn’t it? Although, before I continue I feel compelled to declare I’ve actually been training for this moment for years, quite unwittingly, but perfecting my craft nevertheless. More on this in a minute.

You see, I believed my memory and inability to focus had been high-jacked by the ever lovely Mother Nature (the menopause. Does wicked things with your memory. Renders you incapable of finishing one thing before starting something else, entirely unconnected to the first thing, only to discover 2 hours later what it was you were doing originally). I digress……my belief it was Mother Nature being a shit again was mistaken. I apologise. Turns out I was multi-tasking!

Looks like it’s nothing more than being able to switch my attention from speaking on the phone, while reading email, replying to a text message, dodging an interruption from him-in-doors, cooking dinner and sticking a broom up my arse to clean the floor at the same time…….and I’ve been doing that for years.

Increasingly I’ve felt like the 21st century has been bullying me in a direction I don’t want to go. I was too slow-witted to embrace the change of this new world order, namely, being able to switch and alter tasks in the blink of an eye. I’m old-school. I prefer focusing on a single task through to completion, something which has become ridiculously old-fashioned.

I much prefer to appreciate things one at a time. Well, mostly I do. The exception is when I’m out in public spaces, especially anywhere I can people-watch, and then my ability to multi-task becomes akin to a super-power. I can effortlessly have a conversation over dinner, while listening to an ‘animated discussion’ between the couple three tables away, observing the body language of another couple and deciding it’s their first date, and noticing how happy the serving staff appear. You’re impressed, I can tell.

Multi-tasking was definitely conceived of by woman. Apart from the ability to switch attention from cooking, cleaning and helping with homework it’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind. Ergo, it’s a female invention!