First, a little humor:
Then, a little encouragement:
Now, onto my post 🙂
Going through infertility has changed me and my outlook in so many ways. It’s a grief process that just never ends. You go through it over and over until you think you can’t take it anymore. But it just keeps coming.
I’ve talked with several other ladies who are or have experienced infertility as well. We all agree that it’s truly shocking what people will say to you. Many times, they just aren’t thinking when they say it. They don’t understand what we go through mentally and emotionally every single day. After talking to these other women, I’ve compiled a list of things we wish we could say to everyone. My hope is that it will prevent strained relationships and a lot of hurt feelings.
- Please understand that it’s a big deal and the worst feeling ever for us
You know how a lot of women have dreamed of being a mom since they were little? Well, women with infertility have too. And now we have an empty room waiting to be a nursery. We have a house waiting to hold our children’s laughter, tears, celebrations, and memories. We have an SUV waiting to hold a car seat. We have a play room waiting to be played in. So here we are waiting and waiting and waiting to give our future children all those things we now have. And it’s not happening. We feel sad, devastated, ashamed, out of control, helpless, angry, lost, left behind, and lots and lots of other things. We rejoice in our friends’ growing families, but that sad pit in our stomach never goes away.
- Don’t tell me what you think I should do or what you think God’s plan is for me
This is my story. Everyone’s stories and journeys are different. I know you’ve heard other infertility stories from your friend, your sister’s friend, your grandma’s friend’s granddaughter. But that’s theirs. This is mine. What happened or didn’t happen for some people is different from what will or won’t happen for me. Please don’t tell me what you think I should do to “fix” my problem. For Example:
- Just Relax
- Don’t think about it or stress so much
- Change your diet
- Maybe God doesn’t want you to have kids
- Adopt, and then you’ll get pregnant
- Maybe God just wants you to adopt
- Have you tried *insert baby making sex advice*?
(Believe me we’ve tried millions of different “approaches”)
- Etc Etc Etc
Instead just tell me you’re thinking of me, praying for me, hurting for me. That’s all I need to hear right now. You have no idea what God has in store for my life. Just be there for me to confide my hurts, pray for me and my husband, and share in this unknown journey with me. You don’t need to have any answers or advice.
- Don’t buy or give me things for when I eventually have kids
It will just sit in my house and remind me I STILL haven’t been able to conceive a child. I would like to tell you I don’t want it, but then I might hurt your feelings. So instead I take it, say thank you, and die a little inside. I understand that you may have good intentions, but it’s a terrible, terrible idea. Just wait until we have a child on the way. Then it will be exciting instead of awkward and hurtful.
- Don’t tell me all the terrible infertility stories you’ve heard
I’ve been told about people who tried every fertility treatment possible including IVF and still failed to conceive, got divorced because it affected their marriage, never were able to have kids, had miscarriage after miscarriage. I already worry about these things people! You don’t have to tell me horror stories about it. Please Stop!
- Don’t tell me how my infertility affects YOU
I’m sorry that you feel awkward telling me you’re pregnant, being pregnant around me, or talking about baby stuff. But I would trade places with you in a second. So you feel awkward for a few minutes? I feel devastating pain all the time. Pretty sure you’re on the better end of this.
- Don’t brag to me about how easy it is for you to conceive
“We weren’t even trying. Oops! Haha! Fertile Myrtle!”
“He just has to look at me and I’m pregnant!”
Oh. My. Gosh. Just stop. You know how annoying it is when people don’t even have to study? They just walk in and ace the test. You study for HOURS and still don’t get a great score. Take that X’s a million and that’s how frustrating it is for people to say these things to you. Make jokes about it with your other friends. I on the other hand am more likely to burst into tears than laugh with you.
- Don’t ask random strangers or acquaintances why they don’t have kids yet
If you wanted to become friends with that person, you have now RUINED it. Their heart just sank into their stomach and they’re trying not to turn 10 shades of red. Or strangle you. There’s even less of a chance to conceive when you’re locked in a jail cell. So they don’t strangle you. But believe me, they thought about it.
- Don’t ask for updates on their infertility
If they want you to know, they’ll tell you. But more than likely nothing significant has happened or they’re just not ready to share it with you/others yet. Asking them (especially frequently) only hurts.
- Don’t ask us to go maternity clothes/baby shopping with you
It’s a knife to the gut. We wish with all our hearts we could enjoy that kind of shopping. But we can’t. Ask another mommy friend to join you.
If you’re struggling with infertility, don’t hold it in. Talk to someone you trust and pour your heart out. Let them pray for you. Get connected with someone else going through the same thing. Talking to someone who understands can be such an encouraging experience. It’s easy to feel like you’re alone when everyone around you is announcing their pregnancies and growing their families. But you’re not alone. 1 in 8 couples experiences infertility.