After struggling through more than five years of infertility, I think it's safe to say I've heard it all. Every single wacky and horrible things people say to women struggling with infertility has been uttered in my direction, so I'm here to give you just a hint of what they are so you can mentally prepare. You know, just in case some well-meaning family member or friends slips up. Nine times out of 10, in my experience at least, people don't mean any harm when they say these things. It's just that, well, they don't think before they speak or even stop to consider how their words will make other people feel.
I have to be honest and say that before I joined the ranks of the infertility crew, I didn't really think much about the way women must feel when someone says something thoughtless about such a challenging, personal experience. For that reason alone I can say that I'm, honestly, a little grateful to be part of this crew. I never could have understood what it felt like struggle with infertility without personally experiencing it. It's not something I'd wish anyone to go through, but it does have a particularly compassionate upside. I'm glad I now think about the ways in which my words come out of my mouth, more than I ever did before, because I think we all should. Rather than just say whatever comes to mind, I think we need to think about how our words will be heard and received. Plus, there is never, ever a good time to point out how short your trying to conceive journey is when you're talking to someone whose journey is seemingly endless.
So, with that in mind and because we should all think twice before we speak, regardless, here are just a few things you should think twice about saying to someone who is struggling with infertility.
"Weird, It Only Took Me A Month To Get Pregnant"
You don't say? That makes me feel so much better. I actually had someone say to me, "Isn't it funny that you've spent so much time trying to get pregnant and I spent all that time trying not to get pregnant?" For the record, this woman had five children. What possesses people to say these things, honestly?
"Are You Sure You're Doing It Right?"
Oh does this one opens a whole can of worms. My partner and I have been "doing it right" for many years we could teach a class, you guys. If the biology doesn't line up, no amount of "doing it right" is going to make much of a difference.
Anything To Do With Mucus
Oh, well would you look at that! Yep, we've crossed a line. In fact, if you look behind you, you will see the line. If you start talking about mucus or fertile temperatures, just know that I will find the fastest excuse to get the heck out of this conversation. I don't want to talk about mucus with anyone. Full stop.
"You'll Probably Get Pregnant As Soon As You Adopt"
Well, that would have been nice, and I know you can tell me about many people for whom this has happened. However, and unless it's a guarantee, it's not terribly helpful. Especially if you know I've already adopted and am clearly not pregnant!
"So Which One Of You Is The Problem?"
No one is the problem. Biology and science and things far, far beyond our control is the problem, but thanks for trying to put the blame on an actual person.
"What's Taking You So Long To Have Kids?"
"You've been married for how long? What's taking you so long to have some kids?" Oh jeez, this has happened to my husband and I so many times, but is always said by people who aren't aware of our infertility struggles. Nonetheless, it's really exhausting trying to figure out how to explain why it is that we haven't just popped out a few kids by now.
"Maybe It's Not Meant To Be"
Not. Helpful. At. All. In no way, shape, or form is it beneficial to hear that maybe, just maybe, my infertility is a sign that I'm not meant to be a mom. And honestly, not true. If I know in my soul that I was meant to be a mom, please know that I will do anything and everything in my power to become a mom until I feel my family is complete.
"At Least You Have Your First Baby"
Or, better yet, maybe you're only meant to have one child. Look, secondary infertility is a real thing and it's just as tough as primary infertility. Just because I have one child does not mean I shouldn't want to have another child. Honestly, why does this comment always come from people who have about five kids?
"My Cousin's Stepbrother's Wife's Mom Got Pregnant After 10 Years Of Trying"
Oh, and did I mention she was 53! Ugh.
I do not need to know every miraculous story about conception, thank you very much. Yes, people do get miraculously get pregnant. All the damn time, it seems. Thank you so much for making me feel so much better that I might get pregnant by the time I'm 53 after 10 years of trying.
"Maybe You're Trying Too Hard"
You mean I'm trying too hard and focusing too much on trying to get pregnant, and that's why I'm not getting pregnant? Right. That's, um, not how pregnancy works. It's not how science works. It's not how real life works. So, you know, kindly back off with your opinions and unsolicited advice, I certainly have enough of those stored up.