Should I send flowers and a note? Or pretend nothing happened?

  1. A friend of mine had her husband call me yesterday and tell me that she'd had an elective abortion. (This is not the gal I'm planning a baby shower for in another thread, BTW.)

    It was a painful and difficult decision and they are grieving.

    I'm concerned and I only want to know--if this was a friend of yours, and you knew the intense grief and anguish that this couple were going through, would you send a tasteful (read for the home, very understated) floral arrangement and sympathy card? Or a "Thinking of You" card?

    Or not?

    PLEASE, if you decide to respond to this thread, PLEASE do not make this into a Pro-Choice versus Right-to-Life thread. This is NOT what this thread is about.

    Just yes or no and what you think is appropriate.
  2. 26 Comments

  3. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I would send a thinking of you card, and write something like 'i'm here if you need anything, or need to talk" because what the probably need the most right now is zero judgment (not saying you would), but plenty of unconditional support.

    A floral arrangment might be a bit much, since there might be a few people who don't know about it, and might ask what the flowers were for (last thing they'd want to do is answer for flowers).

    I think part of what i would decide to do would be based on what this procedure was done for.
    Last edit by Marie_LPN, RN on Sep 23, '06
  4. by   sirI
    I think I would send a 'thinking of you' card. A sympathy card might be too much, IMO. Obviously, she wanted you to know and yes, it would be perfectly o.k. to acknowledge their decision.
  5. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Maybe give her a call first and see what you think after talking to her. More than a card or flowers, she can probably use a friend.
  6. by   dianah
    Nice of you to care like this about her (and him). I'd call or go by. In person is so much warmer and personal, IMO.
  7. by   rjflyn
    Depends on the reasons for the elective AB. If it was for health of the mother or the child reasons I would probably do something as mentioned.

    If it was just because she didnt want to have a child at that time I would probably leave well alone and let her feelings and actions dictate your response.

  8. by   UM Review RN
    Thanks so much for your responses. I'm such a social klutz! I didn't want to do the wrong thing.

    To respond to a couple of your posts:

    Marie, I never thought about the flowers thing. Perhaps you're right, but I'm sure her family is aware of the situation and supportive.

    Dianah, I wish I could just pop in, but she's a few thousand miles away from me and it's simply not possible for me to fly there right now.

    rjflyn, Yep. The first reason. So tragic.

    As for calling her, she's just not able to handle it yet, and he's in almost the same emotional place. Of course I'll be calling her when she's home in a few days.
  9. by   donsterRN
    Angie, I think a "Thinking of you" card is a wonderful idea. She'll cherish it.
  10. by   Katnip
    I'd go with the thinking of you card or a visit.

    I agree, flowers would be a bit much.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I'd hold off on the visit, until i knew it was OK. Maybe they need a little alone.

    Or how about making them something for dinner? They might not even feel like cooking right now.
  12. by   dianah
    thanks for the clarification, Angie. I do agree, a "thinking of you" card would be cherished by the couple, in this instance. Too bad you're so far away. I hope their family or friends who are geographically closer are being supportive. -- D
  13. by   JentheRN05
    I'd go with the 'Thinking of you card' it means more than words can say - just let her/him know you are available to talk if they need an ear and mean it sincerly. Thats what I would want is an ear. I personally have never had an abortion - not against it or for it either way, but I think if I ever were in that situation I would want someone non-judgemental to talk to. Losing a child -by choice or not is tragic one way or the other
  14. by   rehab nurse
    After losing three babies, though not going through an elective ab (can't imagine having to make a decision like that ), I received a few very nice cards and a few bunches of flowers. Usually short and simple, mainly "I'm here if you need to talk or need anything". I still have all letters and cards and flowers I received. I think they would really appreciate whatever you decide to send.

    Some people may view flowers as overboard, but I don't. I don't know how far along she was, but she (and her hubby) are grieving for a child who died. It made me upset when some people would just talk about me and not my baby. Though I also understand how ackward it is to talk about something so very sensitive. I just didn't want to forget about my babies. Even though two were first trimester, one was a second trimester loss. They were my children, and I still miss them. If you want to send flowers, I say send them. I think they will really appreciate that you thought of them.

    On another note, I am very close to an MD who (he and his wife) decided to electively ab their daughter at 19 weeks because she had a severe defect (no lungs, no kidneys). He was very emotional (and I really don't know his wife more than an acquaintance) and upset, and he had to come by and do rounds one last time that day. I went out and bought a nice card for him and his wife, gave it to him before he left. We had a quiet talk about it in the conference room. He cried, let out his grief, and thanked me for the card. I did send flowers as well as they did have a very private memorial/funeral for their daughter, and had her cremated and she sits on their mantle along with a picture taken the day she was born. His wife actually kept the flower petals that sit in a small glass sealed container as well. I saw this while house sitting for him a couple years afterwards while the family all went on vacation.

    You are very kind to be so thoughtful of them, Angie. Whatever you send will be appreciated, I am sure of it.
    Last edit by rehab nurse on Sep 23, '06