What not to say to an infertile couple

A few months ago I read a book called Making Babies the Hard Way – by Caroline Gallup. And in one section of the book she discusses a topic of what not to say to an infertile couple.  This section of her book was so spot on that it inspired me to write a post about all the annoying things people have told us, and this is exactly how I feel about your comments.

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Don’t tell me to relax: Comments such as “just relax” create even more stress. You make me feel like I am doing something wrong.  Please understand that my son is 14 years old.  I am 32 and my husband in his 40’s.  I’m pretty sure if things were going to happen by just relaxing they would have by now.

Don’t say there are worse things that could happen: Who judges on what is the”worst” thing that could happen to someone? Different people react to different life experiences in different ways.

Don’t say at least you have one child, be grateful:  This is the most hurtful thing people can say to me.  Yes I already have a son from a previous relationship. And trust me I feel guilty every day for “longing” for another child.  But please take in consideration my husband who has not had this experience before.  He is being stripped by the privilege of seeing his first and maybe only biological child come into this life.  Also think about my husbands parents who also have the dream of having a grandchild.  Also my son who wants a little brother or sister and can not have one, and you are not the person who has to explain to him why he can’t get to be a big brother.

Don’t ask why we are not trying IVF: Because most Medical Aids do not cover IVF treatment, many are unable to pay for the out-of-pocket expenses. Infertility stress is physical, emotional, and financial.

Don’t say, “You’re young, you have plenty of time to get pregnant.”: Before you choose to give pointless advice, know the facts. It’s recommended that women under 35 see a fertility specialist after being unable to conceive for one year.  We have been trying for 3 years.

Don’t gossip about your friend’s condition: Infertility is a very sensitive matter, which is why you should respect your friend’s privacy.

Don’t complain about your pregnancy: This is a big NO-NO for me.  One of the hardest things for me is to be around other women who are pregnant. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what I can not have. Your complaining makes it even harder for me, and I might just snap.   Trust me when I say I will take all of the morning sickness, aches, pains, swollen parts and mood swings in a heartbeat.

Don’t ask whose “fault” it is: Just don’t.

I’ll give you my kids for a day: you’ll soon change your mind: You are honestly making it worse.  And if you have any idea how much I want what you have you will think twice about saying this to me, besides I might just “take you up on your offer”, and take your kids. 

 

Please always remember, an infertility diagnosis can cause feelings of shame, depression and isolation. People with infertility often blame themselves for their diagnosis. Be aware and sensitive to what their needs may be, and choose your words wisely.

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