There are many resources out there on supporting couples going through infertility. Namely, what NOT to say to them. The following are actual things people have personally said to me during the last three years. If you notice yourself saying these things to people, please stop right now.
“When are you two going to have kids?”
This is a seemingly innocent thing to ask the newly married couple. Let’s be honest, a thing to ask ANY couple. I will tell you right now, if you want an award for nosiest busybody, by all means, ask this question. For the rest of you, stop. now. Not only is this one of the most annoying things I can hear from someone, it is a fantastic reminder that I am infertile. NOT asking this question ever again is a great habit to get into because news flash: not all newlyweds are planning on getting knocked up on their wedding night. Some have no intention of ever having children. Some want to focus on their career. And some are trying their absolute hardest to be able to accomplish a pregnancy. In conclusion, at first glance this seems to be an innocent question. It’s not. It makes people want to slap you.
“Stop trying so hard. When you aren’t thinking about it, it’ll just happen.”
Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant within one year of actively trying. For someone who has been trying for four months, while you are still giving moronic advice, there may be some truth to this. For those who have been trying for years, this is just condescending. If this were actually true, I would have gotten pregnant sometime in the first two years. I used to be laid back. I was chill as I could get. I was in an RN program with plenty of girls who were just as stressed out as me. They still got pregnant. I didn’t.
“It will happen. God has a plan for you.”
Oh really? So God gives a baby to a 15 year old drug addict, but decides to withhold one from a stable, mature, married couple? This type of support usually comes from those who don’t know what to say to me. Keep reading. Actual, wanted support is listed below.
“Have you thought about adoption?”
Ok, the main reason this just pisses me off is the fact that even though its been three and a half years, we have only just begun actual infertility treatments. Maybe down the road when multiple inseminations and IVF treatments have failed, donor sperm or eggs are no longer an option, and surrogacy cannot occur, maybe we will then start the process of contemplating adoption. While I realize there are many children looking for homes, this statement belittles the fact that I may actually want a biological child like you have. Unless someone brings this up to you, never offer this as advice. You just cause people to internally go into a blind rage. It’s frustrating and ignorant.
“You can have one of my children!”
Wow. You.are.hilarious. Since I am way too nice of a person to deck you for actually saying something that stupid, I will always just kind of laugh awkwardly and make note to never mention my issues to you again. Thank you for reminding me that you have four kids that annoy you and I have none.
“Can you have kids? There’s nothing wrong with you, is there?”
Of course my friends and family would never dream of asking me something this hurtful. This has been asked by acquaintances that I will never ever confide anything to.
“Are you sure Chris is doing it right?”
Like the above comment about me getting the privilege to have someone else’s child, you may think you are being funny and lightening the mood, but you should be kicked. This is obnoxious. Stop.
“Enjoy the time you have living child-free. You have plenty of time.”
Chris and I have been together for eight years. We have been married for four. We have been on exotic vacations, blew our money on shit we didn’t need, and peed with the bathroom door open. We have lived child-free. This usually comes from people who have lots of children. Thank you for reminding me that my life is so fulfilling. I enjoy taking pills that make me bloated and emotional. I enjoy knowing that I will be giving myself injections, draining our savings account on fertility procedures and living with the fear that I will never have a child. Yes, I sure am enjoying my child-free life.
“This morning sickness sucks. Be thankful you don’t have to go through this!”
Really? I would gladly vomit for nine straight months if it means I have a baby. I would cut off my arm to be in constant discomfort of my unborn child pushing against my bladder. You are belittling me and you are belittling the miracle that is growing inside you.
“I know exactly how you feel! It took me six months to get pregnant. I thought it would never happen either!”
See: “Stop trying so hard. When you aren’t thinking about it, it’ll just happen.“
Unless you truly have been there, you cannot possibly know what I am going through. Please stop trying to relate.
So… now that you have read this, you probably are thinking, “Well what the hell am I suppose to say to her?” “What advice can I give without getting my head chewed off?”
Here is the best thing you can do: STOP giving advice. I guarantee you, there is no advice you can give me that I haven’t already heard. When you start offering advice you are just pushing me away and making me pissed. So. No more advice. Even if you think it is helpful, every women struggling with infertility has heard it all. We actually all get together to swap stories and make fun of you.
This is what you say: “I’m so sorry you are going through this. I’m here if you want to talk or just need a shoulder to cry on.” Enlightening, isn’t it? Any SO much easier than the uncomfortable comments you insist on making in order to make it less awkward for us. The truth is, there is nothing you can suggest to me that will make my journey easier. Unless you have your own story and can give me tips on emotionally surviving an IUI, or budgeting for IVF, you just being there for me is the best thing you can do to show you care.