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Friday, May 17, 2013

Infertility and our conversations with loved ones

Melissa has some more insight into how our seemingly casual conversations with friends can actually be hurtful. Not that we can't discuss children with our friends; we just need to remember to talk about it from a place of support rather than judgment. No one's perfect, and we all say things we don't intend to be rude, but it's always good to have a reminder that there are better ways to approach the topic of family planning. This post can also be found on Melissa's blog, and you may also find her post about her C-section to be helpful (it brought me to tears).

5 Hurtful Things to Say to People Trying to Conceive:

1. When people say to other pregnant women AROUND ME, "You really deserve this."
What does that mean for me and my husband? We don't deserve it? It's just a weird thing to say. Doesn't every woman deserve to be a mom if she wants to be? Just say congratulations.

2. When people connect conception to faith, or lack there of, in ANY WAY.
I'm sorry, but no matter how hard you try, you can't relate my not getting pregnant to me not praying enough, no matter how "subtly" you put it. Just the fact that you allude to it shows 1) your ignorance on the subject AND 2) the fact that you probably got pregnant really easily, taking certain things for granted. God made science. I believe in science because I love God. Don't tell me to have faith and it will, my ovaries don't work, so while I don't doubt for a second that God does miracles, I do think that sometimes natural remedies or medical intervention MAY be helpful. Why can't those be considered miracles?

[And P.S. the reason this one angers me is because some of the most God-fearing, faithful people I KNOW have had losses, infertility, and death in their lives...are you telling me that it's because they lacked faith?? Hogwash.]

3. When people tell me to adopt.
Adoption is amazing. I still want to adopt. I think that had I never gotten pregnant, we would have opted for adoption and not medical intervention. I just didn't have the heart for IUI or IVF. But telling someone trying to conceive that they should just adopt isn't helpful. No one told Sarah, Abraham's wife, who was barren for most of her life, to go get another child and love it and that that would cure her ache.

4. When people complain about being pregnant.
Just don't do it. Save it for your mom. Or diary. There's a good chance that half the women you are talking to, or are even around you, would switch places with you in a second and you're torturing them.

5. When people give the infamous advice: just relax and it will happen!
Please don't believe this is valid advice. Although it may be true sometimes, it does not bring hope to those still trying. They feel desperate and broken. The last thing they can do is relax after 24 failed cycles.

5 Helpful Things to Say to People Trying to Conceive:

1. I'm so sorry.
2. I hope your turn comes soon.
3. I can't relate or imagine, but how can I help?
4. You'd make an amazing parent.
5. I love you.

They need no explanation. :)
I know I'm guilty of complaining too much about parenting, and that is something I'm actively trying to work on. In general, no one needs to hear that my kid is driving me crazy, whether they're struggling to conceive/adopt or not.

If you have an infertility story to share, please email me! (livytay[at]gmail[dot]com)


  1. Livia, you were one of "those friends" for me who always seemed to say one of the right things I listed. I remember telling you a LOT on a walk home from Vintage and you said, "I'm sorry." ...I waited for the next part...nope. Just I'm sorry. You know, that made ME respond differently. I found the strength to reply with "it's okay!" instead of "me too". So thank you.

  2. All of these things are so true. And so important to remember, since sometimes you may make a random comment and not even realize the hurt that it could create. It's just good to remember to be aware of other people's feelings around you in general, and these are good guidelines to keep in mind in regard to people about children. And you never know who is going through it.

  3. People also don't realize how painful/hurtful baby showers can be to couples struggling with infertility. I've heard all of the above comments plus-"just adopt then you'll get pregnant."


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