We have received an overwhelming response to the lists of things to say and not say to someone experiencing infertility issues. Some of these have been said to me during my journey and some where given to me by friends (R, M, L & E thanks for sharing). Here are ten more "unhelpful" things to say to someone going through infertility:
1. Maybe you just want this too badly…you can’t force these things. – What does that even mean? The fact that I want a child so much is preventing me from having a child? I can’t force it…Thanks for the reminder as I am not already painfully aware of the fact that I can’t “control” this!
2. You’re not getting any younger…maybe you should look at adoption. – WOW…Really? If only I had started this process earlier then my age would not be a factor. I guess I never really thought it would take 6-7 years to actually bring home a baby; If only I would have factored that into the equation when we decided to have children.
3. You are just too stressed. If you stop thinking about it, it will just happen. – Thank you Captain Obvious. Infertility is stressful? I was not aware! I don’t know why I can’t just stop thinking about it everyday. It’s not like I am getting daily injections and regular ultrasounds to keep my mind off of things. By the way if stressed people never got pregnant the human race would die out!
4. Maybe it’s because you are overweight. Try losing some weight. – Whew…thanks for telling me that I'm fat. I was unaware that I was on the heavy side. Don’t you think the doctor who I see 15 times a month would have caught the fact that I'm fat if that was the reason I was not getting pregnant? By the way…I have lost over 100lbs but thanks for the insensitive comment!
5. Wow, I never had any troubles getting pregnant. – Congratulations! I am sure that every infertile wants to know that your husband can just look at you and you get pregnant. Thanks so much for sharing your good news!
6. I understand what you mean. It took us two months to get pregnant. – Yes that is exactly the same thing. The fact that it took you two months must have been heartbreaking for you. I mean having to see the negative pregnancy test that one time must have been unbearable for you!
7. I bet you will be pregnant by this time next year. – Hooray, a fortune teller! You know what, I will accept this prediction with one condition. If by this time next year I am not pregnant, I get to punch you really hard!
8. Take a break and it will happen when you least expect it. – Oh OK, it not happening in the first two years when we were just relaxing must have been a fluke. Especially since I don’t ovulate without the help of Dr. L…so I am sure that will work!
9. You are too focused on this fertility stuff…you need a distraction. – I'm sure you are right. I should just stop doing the FSH injections and get a hobby. Scientifically speaking that has to be the answer to my infertility woes!
10. It will happen when it is meant to be – Quite frankly that is something an infertile or someone who had a miscarriage never wants to hear. Who determines if it is meant to be? What steps do I take to make sure it is meant to be? What if it isn’t meant to be? There is already so much shame, guilt and blame associated with infertility and this statement just fuels those feelings.
It's great that people want to be comforting and helpful but it is important to know what and when to say something. I hope this blog will help not only those who have been on the receiving end of these comments, but also those who are trying to support loved ones going through this journey. I look forward to all of your additions to the list!