Disclaimer: I have not personally been on the receiving end of all of the comments below. This post is meant to bring awareness, but is also meant to be a tongue-in-cheek post. This is not meant to make anyone feel badly. This is written with the understanding that these comments are intended to be helpful. If I have insulted you, I apologize. However, I am blunt. I will not apologize for that. Here’s the thing: I get that you can’t know our situation unless we tell you. But once you do know, please just try to be sensitive. Just like you wouldn’t want me telling you to just relax when you find out you lost your job or say that “your loved one is in a better place” after suffering a loss.
Every infertile knows a Sally. (name not chosen for any particular reason)
Every infertile has a list of suggestions or comments that make us cringe. I personally rate them at three levels:
1. Eye roll – the mildly annoying but forgivable. These include:
- “Just relax and it’ll happen” – yeah, tried that
- “Oh my gosh if I even LOOK at my husband I get pregnant” – great for you
- “Just get drunk and it’ll happen” *cough* tried that *coughstumble*
- “Take a vacation and it’ll happen” – first, you have to take a vacation at the right time of the month, and if you happen to be like us and trying to save for an IVF, we can’t afford the vacation. Trust me, we WANT a vacation! (and may be able to get both thanks to IVF Vacations!)
2. Huge sigh – the moderately annoying but forgivable if its understood it came from the right place
- “Just adopt” – I GET where this one comes from, and unless you’ve had any education on what adoption entails, it seems like a fair suggestion. I’ve considered adoption and in fact would like to adopt in the future. Just not right now. Adoption, however, is extremely costly, time consuming, and overwhelming. You have to go through a home study, a background check, answer questions about your relationship etc. There are no match guarantees. They can fail just like fertility treatments. On top of that, you really have to be READY in mind, body and soul before taking that step. Just try putting yourself in our shoes – if the children you gave birth to never existed and someone said this to you, would you be ready?
- “Just do an IVF” – although this is our current plan, sometimes I want to say “Ok great, you willing to give us 15k?”
- “Take mine for a day – you’ll reconsider” – really? REALLY?
- “Just be glad you get to sleep in” – I wake up at 6am on weekends anyway. Plus, come on!
3. Death stare – did you seriously just say that?
- “Maybe you aren’t meant to be a mother”
- “Maybe that’s just the way it’s supposed to be” – I’m sorry, who died and made YOU God?
So back to Sally. (conversation is fictional)
You’re at a gathering, glass of wine in hand (thankfully), when Sally,who is more than likely no more than an aquaintence, walks up and starts a conversation. It begins honest enough. She introduces her husband and you introduce yours. You talk about how you met. She shows you pictures of her kids (probably on her Iphone – who has wallet pics anymore?) and then asks the infamous question – “so, do you have any kids?”
I’m an open person, so I typically respond something to the effect of “we’re trying, but haven’t had much luck”.
“Oh my Gosh!” Sally says, “if my husband even LOOKS at me I get pregnant. I mean, I was barely off the pill and BOOM!”
You stare, unsure of how to respond. She continues.
“You know what you should do? Just drink that wine and go get it on! You’ll get pregnant in no time. Just relax!“
At this point I usually offer more detail – it’s been several years,we have a condition, etc.
“Oh, well why don’t you just adopt? Or do IVF? Technology is so crazy these days”
Insert short blurb about expense and stress of IVF and adoption here.
“Oh, well don’t worry, you’re young, just enjoy being able to sleep in. It will happen when its meant to. In the meantime, you can take my kids for a couple of days – you might change your mind then! Maybe you are meant for something else – maybe this is the way its supposed to be.”
By the end of that conversation Sally has been on the receiving end of 3 eye rolls, 3 huge sighs and 1 death by stare.
Don’t be a Sally.
Death by stare is no fun.