October 6, 2014 by CassieCravings
My husband and I are coming up on that 2 1/2 year mark of trying to conceive this go-around (It took about a 1 1/2 years before we found out we were pregnant with our son.). Throughout the process, we have had some really lovely encouragement from people around us as well as some really ignorant remarks. Honestly, the most hurtful comments have been from the people who love us most. None of them have been said to cause pain, but they still cut deep.
It can be difficult to know how to respond to a couple who is telling you their trying to conceive woes. While walking on eggshells isn’t the answer, it is necessary to be aware of how not to make the ache of empty arms even worse. Here’s 5 things not to say to an infertile couple:
1.) If you would quit trying, you would get pregnant.
This tends to be comment numero uno when we get asked why we only have one child or when I open up about infertility. This is also the comment that makes me have to choke down some serious snark. The reality is that our degree of trying has not rendered me infertile.
This comment is a “no” for couples who have been trying for a whole day or for a whole decade. It’s insensitive. Yes, I realize that lowering stress and being physically relaxed helps couples to conceive. That may even be the case for those in your life who want a baby, but I’m going to be very bold and un-moving on this: It is not your place to say it.
2.) You should try to adopt! That always works.
This comment can be lumped with any extreme diet or any herb that can be ordered from Amazon. Trust me. If it’s out there (whether over-the-counter or Rx), we have tried it.
The “adoption” advice is doubly offensive, because adoption is not a consolation prize to a biological child.
3.) Why don’t you do IVF? Are you going to quit before you have tried everything?
IVF runs around $10K. My insurance covers none of it. It’s not that we’re quitting before IVF. We would prefer to throw our $10K at something besides the wind. Unfortunately my latest doctor has given me very little chance of success with IVF. As a family, it was decided that this was too much of a process (emotionally, physically, financially) to risk it. This was also decided about a year into treatments. We were both tired. It was time to hang it up for us. To me, that wasn’t quitting. It was recognizing that a chapter was closing, at least for now.
4.) I don’t think fertility treatments are right. Maybe God’s trying to tell you something since they’re not working.
First: Rude. Second: cool trick to get chosen to speak for the Most High
IVF and any other fertility treatment is a very personal decision. There isn’t a right or wrong answer. Each family has to make this very personal decision on its own. As a bystander, it’s unfair to insert the “what you would do” or to throw God’s Will around willy-nilly. While “If you would quit trying, you would get pregnant” advice makes me the most angry, this comment makes me the most sad. It’s damaging and just plain dreadful.
5.) You should just be thankful that you at least have one kid.
Every single time someone says this to me, I’m shocked. Of course we’re thankful for our sweet little boy! Of course we praise God every day that I was able to carry this miracle, this medical mystery, to term and deliver a beautiful, sensitive, curious, witty joyful spirit of a child! Thankful isn’t the issue. Our family isn’t complete. The end. That’s it. One of the reasons we are so adamant to expand our family is because our 4 year-old wants a sibling very, very much.
The bottom line is: I nearly expect these kinds of comments. I put myself out there. It is no secret that my ovaries are janky, my uterus is weak, and that we have spent the majority of our marriage trying to conceive. But when someone comes to you and personally pours out her heart, treat her gently. When she shares her deepest hurt, her greatest fear, her biggest wish, there is only one appropriate response: I am so sorry.
Infertility hurts. It hurts physically and emotionally. It puts a strain on the very soul of a person and on a couple. Be aware of that hurt. When you’re not sure what to say, it’s perfectly okay to say nothing. It is absolutely acceptable to just hold the person and cry with him/her. A prayer and/or a well-wish is always welcome.
It has nothing to do with being politically correct and everything to do with exhorting a person who is in desperate need of some encouragement.
Use the power of your words to lift up a couple who needs it today.