No Book, Blog, seminar, TED Talk or conversation about infertility could possibly be complete without discussing the well-meaning but ultimately horrible advice that every friend, family member, or stranger feels the need to give a couple trying to conceive.
First and foremost, everyone’s infertility is different. Let me repeat that again for those in the back. EVERY COUPLE’S INFERTILITY IS DIFFERENT! So please avoid the advice on trying ovarian drilling, a specific drug or anything else unless you yourself have been through it.
It will happen/ It’s just not God’s will / Maybe you just aren’t meant to be a parent – While on the one hand, I understand this is a well-meant spoken attempt to make one feel better about their situation, however, this one is particularly insulting. You mean to tell me I just read an article about some abusive A-hole parents that murdered their children, but I am not supposed to be a parent? …F.U.C.K Off! If someone has opened up to you about trying to have a child they are not looking for you to make them feel better about their situation; they usually are just wanting an ear or support, not for you to give them a reason.
Have you thought about adoption? – There are so many issues with this response that I have both a separate post and video to address it. The short version is, yes, a couple dealing with infertility is aware of adoption I can assure you that you have not stumbled upon some magical process that they were somehow completely unaware of prior to your mention of it. Calm down, put away your hero cape and understand that your well-meaning solution does not cure their infertility. Adoption does not cure infertility!!! The reality is that most people making this suggestion simply do not have a realistic understanding of the adoption process. A couple dealing with infertility has often explored adoption to some extent and either decided to wait or that it wasn’t for them. Either way, it is not a family decision for you to make.
1.) Many do not qualify for private adoption
2.) Adoption can be just as much of an emotionally draining experience as infertility itself.
3.) A family must be in the emotional state to view an adoptive child as their own and not as a reminder of the child they could not conceive and finally.
4.) Adoption can be a long, drawn out and expensive process. Unless a couple brings up adoption to you, steer clear of this suggestion. If you want to argue further, read the post “So you lost a leg, what’s the big deal, you can just get a prosthetic.”
Just relax – This dismissive response is another response that will induce a combination of eye rolling and pure hulk-like rage in your friend facing issues. Believe it or not, infertility is an actual medical issue that affects 1 in 8 couples. The causes of infertility are varied and usually require medical intervention. The truth is that just like cancer, a vacation will not cure a couple’s infertility.
You’re lucky / Are you sure you STILL want kids / You can have mine/ Kids are expensive anyway – Thanks but once again we don’t really need you to dismiss our desire to have children because you regret yours. We know children can complicate travel and other things but we likely took that into consideration long before deciding to have children. Besides, two months ago before you knew about our struggle, you were telling us how they are your whole life and you couldn’t imagine a life without them while asking when we planned on having ours, so spare me your reasoning on why I shouldn’t want one. We know about the temper tantrums but we also know about the cuddles, we know about the travel we miss out on, but we also miss out on the moments of pride at their school and sports functions, so just stop.
It isn’t like it’s cancer / It isn’t like you lost a child – Thanks for once again dismissing the issue and reminding us that there are worst things. This thought has never occurred to us and we felt a bit of guilt at times when crying after yet another loss.
My friend’s sister’s, brother in-law did x then got pregnant – Great for them and yes there are some people that adopt, stop trying, go back on the pill, get remarried and then BAM a baby, however there are just as many if not more with stories that end with acceptance that they never became parents. We know you mean well as always but everyone’s infertility is different. Telling a woman who just lost her second fallopian tube to an ectopic pregnancy that miracles happen isn’t comforting. There is a woman in Africa that was born without a vagina, got stabbed in the stomach after giving a blow job and got pregnant. Yes, that’s some shit that actually happened; look it up. Also thanks Joe Rogan…the more you know. My point is that we KNOW these stories and have prayed for our own miracles but we also understand how hopeful we should remain based on where we are in the process and our cause of infertility. It’s like saying don’t worry about your bankruptcy I know a guy that was homeless and won the lottery. Sure it happens, but this the norm.
Are you pregnant yet? – Fuck you. This is usually a comment made to a couple you don’t even know are facing issues. If you know a couple that have been together for a while or even just married a few months, mind your own business. It could be that the couple isn’t ready, doesn’t want to or has been trying and can’t have children. Each reason is okay and no matter the reason, they likely don’t appreciate the intrusion into their bedroom. If a couple simply hasn’t been open about their infertility, you likely just picked at a painful scab that may or may not result in a night of crying at home for them. So back off Brenda, if you want another baby so bad make one the way you did your first two, by finding some loser and hooking up in the back of their tour van.
Get a dog – Get a clue. A pet is not a substitute for a child. This is not a popular response, and I will admit that I myself am not a pet person, so hate away. That being said for all the pet people out there I want to be very clear when I say that an animal is not a child. Sure you may love them and care for them but I will tell you right now that in an apocalyptic situation where food is scarce I am eating the pet dog before another human. Also can you pet people PLEASE come up with a name other than Fur baby. You all sound like you are crudely referring to a 1970’s style un-shaved vagina.
I know how you feel – unless you have been through it yourself, no you don’t. Unless you have been diagnosed with infertility or suffered frequent loss yourself, just tell them you are sorry and hoping for the best. Whatever you do, please don’t compare your three or four months of trying to their years of costly procedures, losses and heartache.
Have you tried…? – I am going to stop you right there. Yes. Yes, we have tried that, written a blog about it, and have thrown it on the pile of things that shockingly didn’t fix my problem. We have eaten pineapple core, Mucinex, Pre-seed, tried every fertility diet, steamed our vaginas, tried acupuncture, worked out more, worked out less, relaxed, vacationed, got drunk and fucked, had ovaries drilled, tubes cleared, tried every powder, pill and snake oil sold by the internet, we have tried not trying, timed intercourse, monitoring BBT, cervical mucus and I can likely tell you to the moment when I ovulate, we have tried the medication, read It Starts with the Egg and a slew of other things out there that YOU have never heard of. So in conclusion, unless a friend asks for suggestions, it is likely they have already tried yours.
So what can you say when your friend or loved one is going through an experience that no words can describe?
Recognize that your friend’s experience is different than others and they have a team of medical professionals that are assisting them with advice so they just need your support. They want your ear, they want to vent, and they want to feel heard. Know they don’t want YOU to fix it for them.
They usually just want to you to be there for them.