Approximately 6.1 million couples in the United States, or 10 percent of all couples of childbearing age, have difficulty conceiving. But if you are one of those couples, you feel like you’re the only ones that are experiencing this pain.
Friends and family, if you choose to let them in on your journey, often mean well but don’t really know what to say. I don’t know if there is anything right that you can say. But, in light of recent events in my own life, and in honor of today marking the end of National Infertility Awareness Week, I humbly offer you some advice on what NOT to say.
1) It will happen when it’s meant to happen. How do you know? And if it is medically impossible for a couple to conceive without assistance, does that mean it is not meant to happen. Those of us who are “reproductively challenged” have a hard time wrapping our minds around the fact that our desire for children may not be “meant to happen.”
2) You think fertility treatments and adoption are expensive, you should see how much it costs once you have the kid. All due respect, but how many of you had to put a down payment on your kid before they were even conceived? I am allowed to gripe about how expensive it is, because it is!
3) Just relax and it will happen. Really? If that were the case, why wouldn’t my reproductive endocrinologist be writing me prescriptions for massages and spa vacations, instead of the thrice daily injections and multitude of pills he currently prescribes? We realize you mean well, but please don’t over-simplify what we are experiencing.
4) Are you sure you want kids? (usually posed after their own child has a meltdown) Listen, we don’t romanticize the concept of having children. We are very aware of the projectile vomit, the dirty diapers, the sleepless nights and the temper tantrums. But to insinuate that if we had a true taste of all that, we would suddenly wake up and have an about face, is insulting.
5) Just adopt, and then you’ll get pregnant. Now, I have heard that after going through a pregnancy a woman’s body changes, both physically and hormonally, thus possibly making natural conception more likely to occur. I didn’t know adoption did the same for a woman’s hormone make-up.
This post may come off as bitter, but please don’t take it as such. We know our friends and family mean well. This is simply meant as a beginning guide of how to best interact with the people in your life who are experiencing this. I know you feel you always have to be positive to keep our spirits up, but really that just puts pressure on us to put on a happy face. It’s ok if you tell us you think this sucks. We sure as hell think it sucks!
Todd and I have been trying for the past 7 years to start a family. It has been painful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, exhausting and expensive. We finally thought our dreams had come true when our most recent cycle yielded a number of positive pregnancy tests. I was pregnant for 6 weeks. We saw an ultrasound that confirmed a viable pregnancy with a strong heartbeat. And then, the world fell out from under us. We lost the baby.
We know how many people were praying and pulling for us. We love you all, and we will forgive you if you do say the above-mentioned things. 😉
We feel blessed to have you in our lives, and ask that you continue supporting us and praying for us, for our journey is not yet over.