Thursday, March 31, 2011

Things You Really Shouldn't Say to An Infertile Woman

We've all heard them. The thoughtless comments or advice given by complete strangers and even our own closest friends or family. They say them trying to be helpful, but end up rocking your world with how rudely it came across. Words hurt even when they aren't meant to. I have heard these more times than I can count and I just want to scream every time someone says them to me!
10. You're still young, you've got plenty of time. You really shouldn't worry that much about it.
             --Thanks. I've been infertile since I can remember and will still be as long as I live, but you're right. I am young. Maybe it will happen in a few years for me. Oh wait, nope. I'll still be barren.

9.  Just adopt. I hear stories all the time of people adopting and then they end up pregnant.
             --This is a very real possibility for me and I don't take it lightly. I will after I continue to try to have my own baby that comes from the love of my life. We can't get to that point yet and how can you use those words so matter-of-factly? Have you ever faced the decision to adopt? No? Then don't give advice on it.

8. Just relax! You're trying too hard! 
            --One of my favorites which I am SURE you have all heard. Do you know how complicated conceiving a child actually is? For everything to magically line up at the exact right time is basically a miracle all by itself. So don't tell me to relax. If I relax, it doesn't mean my eggs will suddenly drop. It's not a matter of relaxing, it's a matter of saving up the money to grow follicles, which hopefully have eggs in them. Then hopefully those eggs are of good quality and so is the sperm. Hopefully they fertilize and create good quality embryos, which hopefully survive outside your body for a matter of days, only to be transferred back inside your body to hopefully attach like their supposed to if the environment is conducive enough for them. It's not a matter of me relaxing, it's a matter of science, but thanks!

7. Take a vacation. That's what I did and I ended up pregnant in no time!
          --Seriously? Let me refer you back to my response directly above! Being on vacation does not make my ability to conceive any more probable other than the fact than we would have more time to "try". But that wouldn't help, now would it?

6. Kids are overrated.
          --This one was a jaw-dropper for me. I couldn't believe what just came out of that person's mouth. How insensitive can you be? No, kids are not overrated, and how dare you say that to someone trying so incredibly hard to have them. If you have children, you are blessed! Accept it! Even if you said this to someone not knowing they are struggling with fertility, it's a thoughtless and unnecessary comment regardless.

5. My kids are driving me crazy!
         --I get it. Kids can be nuts sometimes and you do need breaks for yourself, your spouse and general relaxation away from kids. But honestly, I would give anything to be in your shoes. So if you could not complain about your kids to me, that would be great.

4. I have "X" number of kids, take one of mine!
        --Okay, this one strikes nerves every time I hear it. Again, insensitive. If you are a friend of someone who struggles with infertility, you really need to be more careful about what you say. Do a little research about infertility. Even though you won't completely understand it, it might help you to not be so careless with your words.

3. Have you prayed about it? Give it up to God.
        --Done and done. I assure you I have a strong faith and that I pray about it every day. Thanks for asking though. Feel free to pray all you want, and I know it is up to God's plan, but come on. Don't ask someone that question without truly knowing them first. I am a strong believer and in fact, newly elected leader of my women's group at church. I understand that I have to do the work of relying on Him in this struggle, but these procedures wouldn't be available, in my eyes, without God wanting them to be. Therefore, praying to naturally conceive a child won't work. I know I am physically "broken" and need extra help in that area to conceive a child. My faith in God will help me to understand this path I have to take, not magically make it disappear.

2. Do you have any children? Not yet. Oh well, enjoy it then!
        --I mean, really?!? This is another comment you should never make to someone whether you know them or not. You never know their reasons for not having children. Don't assume it's by their choice.

1. Are you pregnant?
       --Never really wanted to hit a woman so hard in the face before this comment. This one was actually directed right at me during my many attempts at IUI. Now, again, NEVER make this comment to someone AT ANY TIME! In case you are unaware, women can gain weight during fertility treatments due to many factors. These can include but probably aren't limited to: hormone fluctuation, no ability to exercise, bloating from hyperstimulation and retaining water. There, now you know. Don't ever be that rude, ignorant, insensitive, careless or thoughtless again. Thanks for ruining my day/week/month, I really appreciate it! You have a fantastic day though!

While it's not necessary to tip-toe or "walk on eggshells" around us, just try to use some common sense. As I mentioned above, if you are friends with someone going through this, do your homework. Don't pass judgment because YOU REALLY DON'T KNOW and don't give blind advice that probably wasn't asked for in the first place.  What we really need is someone to listen, someone to be there for good days and bad days. Infertility is such a hard struggle because it is so completely emotional and hormonal and it changes day to day. One day it could be a mood-lifter to search for baby clothes or items you "might" want on your registry. The very next day or week those same items can make the person want to bawl their eyes out for hours. Be sensitive and intentional with your thoughts and actions. Please. You don't know how much your words and actions can affect and/or hurt someone with infertility.


  1. love love love you took the words right out of my mouth.

  2. I absolutely relate to every one of these! My least favorite that I hear most are "just relax!" and "have you considered adoption?". Most of the people suggesting adoption are those who have their own biological children already. there is no possible way for them to understand what it feels like to not be able to have a baby with their own flesh and blood. Well meaning, but still insensitive. Loved this blog entry! Thank you!