I understand that not a lot of people understand exactly what infertility is or know someone personally who is experiencing infertility. I certainly didn’t understand the prevalence of infertility until I was experiencing it first-hand. The media doesn’t touch on the topic nearly as much as they should. Because of the lack of awareness and education, I have received many, many comments about my experience with infertility. Some have been helpful. But, most have been shocking.
These are actual things that I have heard from people. Most think that they are offering support or advice, but as someone who is going through this pain-staking, depressing disease, these comments are not helpful.
- I know you’re going to get pregnant. (Really, like how do you know?)
- Maybe you need to try harder.
- Maybe you’re not doing it correctly. (Think I know how to do it. Thanks.)
- You just need to relax a little.
- Maybe you need to stand on your head. (Yes, that seriously happened. What do you even say to that?)
- You can have my kids. (No, thanks. I don’t want your rugrats. I want my own.)
- I got pregnant without even trying. (Thanks, that’s so not helpful or encouraging.)
- Spend a day with my kids and you won’t want kids anymore. (Nope, pretty sure that’s not true.)
- Why don’t you just adopt? (That’s not a decision to take lightly.)
- Maybe you’re just not meant to have kids.
- Maybe you’re not meant to be parents.
- Oh, you’re only 27? You’re so young. You have plenty of time! (This one hurts. It minimizes my sadness and struggles.)
- Maybe you need to pray more. (My relationship with the Lord and my infertility are none of anyone’s business. Nor do I think that the Lord gave me this trial as a punishment.)
- I got pregnant on a drunken night. Maybe you just need to get drunk.
- You’re trying too hard. You’ll get pregnant as soon as you stop trying.
- I had a friend’s second cousin’s nieces aunt get pregnant after she adopted. (Wow, thanks. That really, really solves my issues.)
- I know exactly how you feel. It took me two months to get pregnant. (No, you actually don’t know.)
- Well, no wonder you get to travel so much. You don’t have expensive kids. (No, no I don’t. But, I sure wish I traveled less and had those expensive kids.)
- You’re not trying hard enough. It’ll happen. (Uhm. A) Pretty sure we’ve been trying for two years. B) Don’t minimize the fact that I have a DISEASE that will not just go away.)
- Are you pregnant yet?
- What happened to your face? Where did all that acne come from? (Thank you, PCOS.)
These are just a handful of things that I have heard in the past two years while trying to conceive. I am not writing this as a bitter, angry post. I am writing this post to hopefully educate others as to how painful these remarks can be to someone who is going through infertility. It is impossible to know exactly what to say or when to say it when you have someone you know who is going through infertility. But, please, read these above comments and recognize the fact that they could be painful. Please, if you take anything away from this post at all, please recognize that infertility is a disease and will not just go away on its own. It is not about how well you’re having sex or how much you want a baby. It is a medical diagnosis that has no cure, only treatments. (Praise the Lord for those scientific advances!)
In my next blog post, I’ll try to point out things that are helpful to say to someone struggling with infertility. More than anything, thanks for listening to your friend or loved one when they talk about their infertility. Thank you for trying to support them. Thank you for educating yourself about the disease. And know that if you’ve ever made a comment like the ones above, it probably isn’t the first time they’ve heard that comment and they do forgive you.
Research has shown that women with infertility have the same levels of anxiety and depression as do women with cancer, heart disease, and HIV.