Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ten Things Never to Say to Someone Dealing With Infertility

People who have not experienced infertility will never understand the emotional, physical, and mental pain us infertiles endure in our quest to parenthood. Some Fertile Myrtles are clueless; others are just plain insensitive. So, for the sake of educating the fertile community (and hopefully providing some much-needed laughs to those of us still struggling with infertility), I compiled the following . . .

“Ten Things Never to Say to Someone Dealing With Infertility”:
Note: In order to protect the (not so) innocent, some names and details have been changed.

1. "I got pregnant the first month with all my kids. Just put on some lingerie and attack your husband when he gets home from work." Nice. Because I don't get enough sex advice from strangers.

2. From a former co-worker: "Just have more sex. That worked for us. We realized we were just off by a day or so every month, so we started having sex every day and got pregnant right away." Right, thanks. I hadn't thought of actually having sex!

3. From a “friend” who shall remain nameless: “Everything happens for a reason. Maybe you weren’t meant to have children.” Really? Maybe you weren’t meant to have an IQ of 40. Unfortunately, you won’t get any smarter. I, however, will have children.

4. From one of my treating physicians: "I know how frustrating infertility can be. My wife and I tried for FOUR MONTHS before we got pregnant!"

5. Similarly, so many of my girlfriends who tried to get pregnant for 4-6 months and *maybe* used Clomid: "I know how you feel." You are freakin' kidding me, right??

6. Lots of people have asked, “So how is the baby thing going? Are you pregnant yet?” Thank you to everyone for your interest in my uterus. I will let you know if and when I become pregnant. In the meantime, it’s kind of a sore subject, so please STOP ASKING!

7. From my well-meaning girlfriends with kids: "It will happen for you when it's your time. We just had to wait for God to send us the perfect baby for our family." Great theory. But why is it your time again and again, while we never get a shot? Did I upset God? Is our family not worthy of a baby??

8. From a neighbor: “I don’t know why all you young people feel like you have to run off and take all these fertility drugs. In my day, people just kept at it until they had a kid and that seemed to work just fine.” Well, us “young people” (and if I was truly that young, I don’t think I’d be having these fertility problems, thank you very much) now have the advantage of all the wonderful medical advances that have taken place over the last few decades. Thank goodness for modern medicine (and welcome to 2008!).

9. "If you decide to adopt, I think you should get a baby from Russia so it looks like you. Those Ethiopian babies are malnourished and will have lots of health problems that may not show up for years." My husband thinks concerns regarding the health of an adoptive baby are valid.* I agree; however, I think the above statement is ignorant and racist.

10. From just about every person who has heard about our adoption plans: "As soon as you start the adoption process, you'll get pregnant. That's how it always works." Really? Because I thought it had something to do with an egg, some sperm, my high FSH, health problems, etc. But buying another baby** will get me pregnant with my own?? Perfect. Done.

*For the record, I have the most wonderful husband in the world and he is 100% on board with, and excited about, our Ethiopian adoption.

**Please understand that this is a total joke. I in no way view adoption as “buying a baby.” I’m just being a smart ass because I am so tired of people who think adoption will somehow miraculously cure my infertility.

59 comments:

PJ said...

WHOAAA! You are doing IVF AND Adoption at the same time! I completely admire you. That's a lot!

I am waiting (uh, I feel like I am always waiting) for the nurse to call me back and work with my schedule for IVF#1 Round II. Knowing my luck, I'm betting that we go for retrieval (if we get that far) in early July. We have to work around a vacation in late June. Sigh... But yes, we'll be cycling around the same time! :)

Your last post reminds me of one of my old posts, Ten Snappy Things to Say http://infertilityonthebrain.blogspot.com/2008/02/ten-snappy-answers-to-when-are-you.html

Bon said...

HA! This post is hilarious! You are a busy busy lady! I can't stand morons, and they seem to pop out of the woodwork when it comes to IF. Everyone who's ever gotten knocked up suddenly feels like they are full of priceless wisdom that we obviously were too stupid to realize. Are you not having sex? No....I think we're just putting it in the wrong hole! It's pretty dark in our bedroom. hehehehe

MsPrufrock said...

Word.

Also, 107 comments on that one post? Damn woman!

PJ said...

Thanks for the add!

See latest post. Am freaking out now!

calliope said...

welcome to the blogosphere, chica!
I am betting so many of us have had to endure some stupid as hell comments from idiot & clueless people! But all compiled in a handy list like that it cracked me up. If only there was a drinking game for it. Take a sip every time someone tells you to relax...heh

p.s. since you are only allowing blogger members to leave comments right now here is my url:
http://creatingmotherhood.com

JamieD said...

I would be honored to be on your blogroll!

The endless advice never ceases to amaze. What is worse, is when it comes from someone you truly value as a friend. I want to shake them and shout, "Don't you realize how insensitive you sound?!?! Let's take just a second and pretend instead of having four kids, you have ZERO!! How does that sound?!?!"

JamieD said...

I would be honored to be on your blogroll!

The endless advice never ceases to amaze. What is worse, is when it comes from someone you truly value as a friend. I want to shake them and shout, "Don't you realize how insensitive you sound?!?! Let's take just a second and pretend instead of having four kids, you have ZERO!! How does that sound?!?!"

Mikenjane said...

Congratulations on your decision to adopt internationally! And good luck on your IVF! (Infertility meds never worked for me, but IA has been great. I've heard fabulous things about Ethiopia also.)

We have two beautiful girls from China and have heard the whole range of idiotic comments over the last 10 years. I just smile and nod my head and hug my children a little tighter. Really, all the idiots (even the ones in my extended family) have gotten the point over time. Being happy really is the best revenge, so just hang in there!

Best wishes,
moonwater

Fiddle1 said...

I'm sorry you've had to endure such hopeless, ignorant comments. I am so excited for you to begin your IVF and the adoption process. Hopefully as those around you get to know you, those stupid comments will cease and you'll find all of the support you need. You know you have ours!

Joanna said...

Ok, so #'s 3 and 10 are my favorites. I have heard every single one of these as well. Hubby and I did IVF and got our miracle. We have since tried 2 FET cycles and have gotten BFN's. We are looking into our next and final cycle of IVF and/or contemplating adoption (its one or the other at this point due to money). Its a decision I am having a difficult time making. In any case, I wish you luck. Those Etheopian babies are all beautiful! You seem to have a great support group going. We all need one of those. :)

andrea said...

love your list!

beautycourage said...

Oh, I hear you! Great list.

Io said...

Sing it sister.
Is that "friend" still a friend?

Good and plenty said...

A couple of thoughts. I hear what you say. Some of us never planned pregnancies and they just happened. (Maybe having sex had something to do with it - :-)

Three of my friends did get pregnant after they adopted children. This does happen some times.

You should adopt the child you want, that speaks to your heart. I'm hear to tell you that even children you birth come with surprises and, especially in the teen and young adult years, will do things that disappoint you and make you want to pull out your hair. So, birth baby or chosen baby, parenting is rigorous.

Finally, a former colleague at work who was wealthy, gave up on fertility treatments after some years and adopted two children. She said that she got to the point where she felt her fertility doctor wasn't pimping her and that sex had become such a mechanical process it wasn't worth it. She says, once she got her chosen children, she doesn't believe she could have loved birth children any deeper.
Happy journey to motherhood.

Larisa said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Someone once said to me, "Have you tried having more sex?" I didn't know what to say.

Hope said...

LOve the list and have heard a lot of those too...and in my brain came back with simular responses. Love your plans too...

Jocelyn said...

Very funny!!! Just wait, it gets better the further you get into the adoption process. I think I am going to start putting a penny in a jar everytime someone calls me Angelina...I will be rich by next year:-)

Michelle said...

Ha! People are really stupid, aren't they?? People were convinced we'd get knocked up once MAM came home. It's been almost three years. Idiots :)

Amy said...

I have heard EVERY SINGLE ONE of the above statements and loved reading this post! :)

Yah for Ethiopian babies and Yah for medical advancements to assist with infertility!

Stacie said...

Ah yes, I have many similar comments during my ttcing. The two toppers for me were 1) from the OB specializing in fertility "Oh, you're too stressed! You haven't really been trying for a year yet" because I was working on my master's degree during the year, and 2) from a coworker "You are meant to be a mother. I just don't know if that is for your own kids or just the kids you teach here at school" I hate her now.

Anyway, sorry you had to go through all of that. People are just idiots sometimes.

Rebecca said...

Yeah, those things are all pretty dumb things to say to a woman dealing with infertility. Ugh... :(

Hecticmom Undone said...

Thanks for the comment and the post. I love your 10 things!

How is this one: I'm so sorry that you have had to deal with infertility. It must be really really hard.

I hope that your adoption goes smoothly. I know that can also be very hard too.

luna said...

amen, sister. I've heard pretty much all of these things too. and don't forget, just relax; go on vacation; and when the time is right...

RB said...

FWIW, low birthweight (not extremely low birthweight) is rarely associated with long-term problems, and, in fact, rapid weight gain after birth is associated with heart disease in later life! I'd probably be more worried about attachment issues in a child from a Russian orphanage than a malnourished baby in ET...but that's just me. (I say this only because you mentioned it is something your DH is concerned about.)

Thanks for your comment on my blog! I am not participating in NaComLeavMo but I feel like I should be, since all of the blogs I stalk are on there :)

rachel
catchthetradewinds.wordpress.com

oh2btigger said...

You're right. Listen to what my DOCTOR told me.

"You've waited this long for treatment, you'll just have a to wait a few more months. What's another 3 months in the scheme of things?"

WHAT THE F***! She wouldn't prescribe Clomid, even though another Dr. had because she didn't know how it worked and she said, "Well, since you have Mono, I don't think it's a good time. I don't know what will happen if you reproduce while you have a viral illness"

It was the most INSENSITIVE thing anyone could say to me!

pamela.ilovemcdreamy said...

OMG! I've heard every single one of them!!!!!!!

And can I add this:
HAVE YOU PLACED A PILLOW UNDER YOUR BUM AND PUT YOUR LEGS UP IN THE AIR AFTER SEX SO THAT HIS SPERM CAN ENTER YOUR EGGS BETTER?

WTF is that?

You can read it on my post:
http://pamelageorge.blogspot.com/2008/05/infertility-etiquette-by-by-vita.html

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

Wow! Those are some winners. I remember getting some of those but there were definitely some that I haven't heard.

I have to warn you, and I think you already know this, but you'll hear some doozies before, during, and after you adopt. Because Lindy is Chinese she will be great at spelling, playing the violin, and gymnastics. Really?

I think there are people who are just ignorant and just don't think. I also think there are people who mean well, have no intentions of saying something hurtful/offensive but they just haven't a clue--never realizing a pat on the hand, a caring glance, or hug with no words can speak volumes...

I hope you can keep a good sense of humor during such a physically and emotionally painful process AND keep composing lots of good come backs with what you'd LOVE to say!

Samantha said...

People love to tell me I should *stop* trying, because then I'll get pregnant. No, then I would spot for 30 days in row... that's what happens when I don't take fertility drugs or BCP. But I also remind people that IVF does not equal pregnancy every time, and that while medical science is great, there's still a lot of mystery in the process, which is sometimes people get pregnant unexpectedly. If doctors knew how it happened, then IVF success rates would be higher.

KimboSue said...

I love it so much, I am copying it for my post today. Don't worry, your copyright is still there. I gave you credit where credit is due.

Also, 107 comments on your very first post EVER? That is amazing! Welcome to the club!

hopeful #1 said...

Love this post! It's amazing how dumb people can sound when they are trying to console an infertile couple! Ugh, the nerve... I would rather not talk about it... especially knowing that this is the kind of response I would get! Ugh!

theclam said...

*sigh* got to love those well meaning fertiles... I cannot believe your doc told you he and his wife struggled for a whole 4 months!! Like WTF???

msmiranda said...

Great list with some definite classics (and a couple new ones I hadn't heard). Comments like these are why I stayed in the closet for such a long time. I didn't think I could handle them or be nice to people who said them, no matter how well meaning, so I just didn't tell anyone other than my parents and best friend. And even with both of them, I still got ignorant comments -- my mom gave me the old "have you considered adopting, maybe then you'll get pregnant" gem, and my best friend kept telling me that stressing out/worrying about having a miscarriage could contribute to having one. So I've concluded that no one who's not in the situation truly gets it. (And maybe I don't either since I'm one of those Clomid people). Still yet, how clueless do you have to be to tell someone that maybe they weren't "meant" to have children? Even for people who believe in que sera sera to that extent, you don't tell someone "maybe you were just meant to die of cancer" or "maybe you were meant to lose your partner in a car accident," even if you think it's true. I guess people who aren't going through it don't understand exactly how devastating IF is.

Deb said...

Ok Loopie. This whole blog was what I was looking for. I am the fertile myrtle and sincerely (stupidly?) did not realize what a huge problem infertility is. Yes, I realize that sounds stupid and I apologize profusely to every one for my ignorance. I started reading y'alls blogs and have been overwhelmed with emotion for each of you.
I am one of those who got pregnant each time I was ready and never used bc in between with exactly 2 yrs 9 mo between my boys.
I have found several blogs which have been helpful with the lingo, but yours helped in a different way.

I hereby swear to never ever upon punishment of ummm locusts and ummm warts say any of those ten things and any others you or anyone else might be willing to enlighten me with.
I wish there was something I could do for each and every person out there struggling with infertility and my heart breaks/swells with each story be it sad or happy.
My wish for all is to be able to experience morning sickness, swollen ankles, no sleep, peeing at all hours and indigestion because there is a great reward after all of that (not one iota of sarcasm intended).

Sometimes I go to bed thinking about who has a procedure scheduled tomorrow or who is about to go through another cycle. Or who is beginning the research or well into the adoption process. My thoughts are with you all.

I hope this comment comes off as it was intended - I truly want nothing but happiness for everyone.

T&W said...

Here's one: " I decided to go ahead and try to have one SINCE you were having so much trouble."

Are you kidding me?! The kid that she was just trying to see if she could have is now 8yrs old.

Most of the time people are well intentioned. But some of them......


BTW, They are my babies. English Mastiffs.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

People say the stupidest thing..... without thinking! It is unbelievable what people say, and to your face.

When I was going through my chemo.....total strangers would stop me in public and ask why I had no hair! TOTAL STRANGERS....who knew nothing about me! You learn to get thick skin and just let these kind of comments go.

This post cracked me up....you need to laugh it off sometimes to get through it!

Have a good one!

Lisa

Debbie B said...

Someone from our agency was told by her GYN that she would never be able to adopt (domestically) because she was too old and no one would pick her!

We started going to Russia and we'd get comments about why are we not adopting from the US and then the opposite when we switched.
Whenever I got questions of why Russia and not Guatemala or any other country I would list our reasons but I would also tell them some basic stats about each country so they realize that we had done our research and didn't just wake up and pulled a country out of a hat.

ta3914 said...

I love it!!!

alison said...

Hey thanks for stopping by my blog! I admire your tenacity to "do" adoption and IVF at the same time. Lots of luck with all you have planned! I'll keep reading and cheering for you!

SAHW said...

LOL, that was hysterical! Is this copyrighted? :) I am tempted to send this on to a few people I know...

Hope2morrow said...

Oh, I just read this post. And while there were things I laughed at because I have heard similar comments, it hurt. It hurts so badly. I wish there was some way to inform people of their comments and lack of knowledge. How do we educate on infertility? It seems that only the infertile read the articles about what to say to infertile friends.

Geohde said...

People do say the rudest, and daftest things without any reflection at the cheek of it!

The people who think that 4-6 months of trying means they have a fertility problem just amaze me. Call me cranky, but talk about impatient. Under 12 months is NORMAL forcryingout loud :)

Good luck with both IVF#4 and adoption, AND fielding the daft comments,

J

docgrumbles said...

Arg!

I think we all have a list of our own.

# 8 - um, yeah, in your day, people started a lot earlier because women weren't expected to have educations and careers and all.

I have also gotten, after my second miscarriage, "Maybe your body is just a perfectionist. It won't accept anything but the perfect child!" Somehow that didn't make me feel better.

Trace said...

I HATE #10! NO, that would never happen because we need some sperm to get pregnant.

Sam said...

My favorite is the one about God and prayers and blah blah blah. Especially when something bad happens (think natural disaster) and someone says, "God heard our prayers and spared us." Because God wasn't listening to the other people, right? Or they didn't pray correctly? Or weren't special enough? GAW! I makes me crazy(er).

Jodi said...

Oh yeah. The "once you adopt you'll get pregnant" one is still my favorite...and the one I hear all the time. I just want to say (and some times do) well, "you kinda need an open fallopian tube to get pregnant. Seeing as I only have one, and it's 100% closed...not gonna happen. But thanks for the assvice." Jeez. Some people...

Bugged said...

OMW! I think I found the missing link! S.E.X

Have to run...

Claire said...

First, I adore your blog...
Second, I would like to add one more thing "to never say..." as it is one that irritates me to no end - "at least you can travel...I wish I could travel" (from the out-of-town visiting relatives as their children play on the floor around them)

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La eliminaciĆ³n de puntos negros said...

I very much agree with your way of thinking, I can not imagine the damage it would cause a person infertile encourage you to tell any of the things you mention, once you hear a guy telling a man to take buy viagra so that it could be children what the boy did not know was that the man was infertile which provoked a great discussion. These are stories that happen day by day, so it is best to know what we are saying to lasimar so try not to others, in this case with infertility

Marisa said...

So agree with these! Particularly struggling with #7 at the moment.

Worst "advice" I ever got was from a guy whose girlfriend accidentally - yes, ACCIDENTALLY - got pregnant with triplets (you read that right).

His advice were to just not think about it, and it'll happen, I mean hey, look at them. Yes, I'm sure when I STOP thinking about it I will magically ovulate!

I nearly punched him in the head. Douche.

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Dianne Grover said...

Dealing with infertility can be one of the hardest trials that married couples have to face. Having a family counseling can help in dealing with this matter. These tips that you have shared regarding wise choose of words in talking to those in such situations are very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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Gina Marie Kane said...

I love this blog and this post, thank you so much, I am only 22 and I have the same diagnosis as you, A lot of my friends are moving on and moving forward and it is really frustrating me and hurting me that I am not, actually its breaking my heart. My friends with and without kids don't understand why I am so worried about my fertility being that I am so young but it seems like it will be rough for me so I want to get a head start.