This post is slightly different from the ones I have written so far, I try to be mostly positive, looking for the best and happiest in all things but these are just my true thoughts and feelings on how people respond to infertility. Infertility is such a taboo subject, an awkward subject that I think most people have no idea how to respond to, so, and this has been my personal experience, they say some stupid and normally hurtful things. I know that no one means to cause any pain and I know they probably just want to comfort me or are just looking for something to say, but when faced with the subject of infertility or my childless state most people have no idea what to say. They normally end up saying something they think is comforting or try to give advice. Here are a few I’ve experienced during our journey
Oh you can just adopt!
Yes, that is the solution to grief… this one makes me mad! Yes, I can adopt if me and my husband agree this is the best route for us, but it is not the cure all solution to magically make my life better.
Think of all the children that need a good home why go through IVF when there are already children out there?
Oh, you wonderful person you! For you to think of all the poor children out there, very selfless of you but one question, why did you have a child? Why didn’t you so unselfishly think of those children? What’s that, you wanted a child that was you and your partner, so that when you look upon the darling baby you can see your aunts smile or your grandmother’s ears? Well guess what that’s what we wanted to.
You’ll try again, you wait, you’ll change your mind.
This one grates me, the decision to not go ahead with any more IVF and to live our life childless was the hardest decision we have ever made, we spent 6 straight months of emotional turmoil as we reassessed our whole life, it was not something we just woke up one morning and thought oh maybe the whole mother thing isn’t for me. It is a decision I am terrified I will regret so to have you so flippantly tell me I will hurts. Don’t think to know my mind and heart better than me.
At least you can sleep all night
Oh thank the heavens! I may never know a mother and child’s bond, I may never know the wonder and joy of that little life in my arms, I won’t witness first steps or be a nanny, but it’s okay… I can sleep through the night!! Lucky, lucky me!
Think of the holidays you’ll be able to go on because of the extra money you’ll have
Yep, I’ll have more disposable income to splash on things like holidays. Lovely, doesn’t help very much when it comes to the fact that I can’t have kids. I’d always had beautiful pictures in my mind of how wonderful our family holidays would be.
You have so and so for a day you’ll see how lucky you are (or you’ll change your mind) Mmm is your child really that much of a brat? Bet you wouldn’t trade them for the world though, wouldn’t go back in time and never have your little nightmares.
One way or another you’ll be a mother you wait and see
Are you hinting that you are going to steal a child for me? You know that’s illegal, right? Please don’t!
I know so and so, who couldn’t have children and they adopted then she found out she was pregnant
This one I think is trying to give hope, hope that I’m afraid I no longer have the ability to feel. I have no tubes, and part of my left ovary is not fully intact anymore, without IVF there’s no way for the little swimmers to get to the egg.
I think as a society infertility is so unspoken about that run of the mill and generic responses like these are considered what you are meant to say to your loved ones. I won’t speak about the whole just relax and it’ll happen mantra that I heard countless times through infertility as it still makes me mad! It is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard.
I think if I could give a bit of advice to anyone who knows someone suffering through infertitilty, and isn’t 100% sure of what to say, it would be: We don’t want generic quotes or half-hearted comforting words, if you truly want to talk to us, to comfort us it’s really very simple, just talk! If we have brought up our struggles it’s because we want to talk to you, we trust and value you enough to open up to you so just listen to us, ask questions, offer a shoulder if needed, but mostly just talk to us, like any normal conversations we have. We don’t expect you to have any advice or anything of real value to add so you don’t need to try and asking questions will not upset us, after all we chose to tell you in the first place and to us it will show you actually care enough to find out about what we are going through. You are taking an interest in finding out about infertility as we don’t expect anyone to have any real first-hand knowledge of it. This will mean a lot more to us then oh don’t worry I know you are meant to be a mum, it’ll happen type comments.