Span has written a great post on those who are “invisible mothers” – those who are infertile, have had miscarriages or still births or have suffered the death of a child. She speaks of the need to be sensitive on occasions like Mother’s Day.
It’s a particularly pertinent reminder after Senator Heffernan’s recent inappropriate comments about Julia Gillard’s “deliberate barrenness”. How does he know? How dare he presume?
I’ve seen some terrible examples of insensitivity – eg, someone asking a girl who’d had a miscarriage whether the pitter-patter of tiny feet was approaching… I felt like hitting the person who made the comment. The questioner wasn’t to know, but I knew the question would be particularly painful, especially as my friend had fertility issues to begin with.
It’s an important reminder that (a) motherhood is a privilege, and (b) that things don’t always work out. People should always be sensitive to this possibility.