When someone confides in you about the fertility issues they are having, they are entrusting in you something very personal and very painful. Lots of women never tell anyone because they feel ashamed or broken. That somehow, this is all their fault and they can’t bear to let anyone know that they are unable to do what everyone around them is doing without a problem.
When someone does confide in you, most of the time, you would want to try and comfort them person. To try and help them and make them feel better. I understand that whatever anyone says comes from a good place. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to say.
1. Don’t worry! It’ll happen for you, I know it. This is like a “you can do it” cheer. Which brings us back to how broken we feel about not being able to conceive. It’s not like we’re not trying. Also? It might not happen. Six million women have fertility issues. Two million married couples are infertile. Two. Million. (reference)
2. I’ll pray for you. Okay so this one is mostly my issue, being an atheist, but others may relate. By all means, pray if it makes you feel better, but don’t tell me about it. All prayer does is make the person praying feel like they are doing something, then they feel good about themselves and move on. It does nothing for me or any other person having fertility issues. It’s like the slacktivist facebook statuses we see all over the place “Repost for cancer awareness!” Really, who isn’t aware of cancer?
I try to remind myself that this is a religious person’s way of saying “I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that things go your way,” which is actually what I would rather hear.
3. X was having a problem getting pregnant and then X stopped trying and bam! X was pregnant! Um. So? What does this even have to do with me? So X is more fertile than I am and didn’t need to get hormone filled needles stuck in them every day and endure vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests every 3 days. X just stopped trying and got knocked up. Oh wow, let me congratulate X on their fertility.
4. X was having problems and went through x number of IUI and IVFs and none of them took and then she decided to do one last one, and she got pregnant – with twins!! I know you are just trying to give me hope. That after so many failures, this person had their dream come true. But what a lot of us hear is just one more statistic against us. One more person beat the odds which means we drop down one more number in the statistical pool of fertility treatments working. One less chance that we get moved on over to the successful side of the numbers and we get closer to being part of that Two Million number.
5. Why don’t you just adopt? Do you know what it takes to adopt? For starters, you have to qualify. Have you ever been treated for depression? Yes? Forget it. Do you have a chronic disease? Yes, rheumatoid arthritis. Forget it. Some places require you to own a home. I am 40, some places won’t allow me to adopt a baby because of my age. I could adopt an older or special needs child, but that is a discussion for another blog post.
Domestic adoption costs range anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000 or more. International adoptions range from $7,000 to $30,000, and depending on the country, you may have to stay there for x amount of time (which I think is a great idea, don’t get me wrong on that, it’s just expensive). (reference) Also, countries have been cracking down on people from the US adopting because of baby “factories” and shady dealing with kids just being taken by greedy brokers and much more horrible things.
6. Are you pregnant yet? When we go to a family gathering or party, the last thing we want to hear is this. If we were pregnant, believe me, you would know. You are only reminding us that we’re not.
7. Whatever was meant to be will be./It’s all part of god’s/the universe’s/insert whatever here plan. Nothing was “meant to be”. Do you really think that telling people that their pain, hardship, feelings of worthlessness and utter dispair were meant to be? Or are part of some pre-determined plan? How cruel. Nothing is meant to be. Shit happens. There is no reason, there is no plan. The universe is random. It sucks, but there it is. Telling me that somehow this crap is planned or meant to be? Cruel. Cruel. Cruel.
I know I was a little harsh in some of this, but I thought it would help relay the emotion behind it all. We know you mean well, we really do. But I can guarantee that on more than one occasion, someone has left your presence and cried because of something you well meaningly said.
You may be wondering “Well geez, that’s a long list. What on earth can I say?”
How about: “I love you.” “I am sorry you are going through this.” “I am here if you need to talk.” “If there is anything I can do, let me know.” Or what I had written above, “I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that things go your way,” but only say them if you mean them. And don’t bring it up, unless we bring it up first. Sometimes we just can’t talk about it.
Thanks for sticking around to read this very long post. I hope it has given some insight.