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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Things People Say...

I have shared the following items with several close friends and family and thought I'd put them up on the blog for other folks to see. Innocent comments and genuine showings of support can become more hurtful than helpful at times so it's nice to be able to put a little perspective into things. I've never felt as though anyone said hurtful things on purpose because I do understand that most things in life just aren't fully comprehensable unless you've been there and done that. So, to give a little peek into things infertile couples hear often that just aren't helpful, here is a compilation of things gleaned from the internet.

Comments Infertile Couples Hate to Hear
  • Guess who's pregnant--again!
  • It will happen when you're ready.
  • So-and-so prayed, and they got pregnant right away.
  • You're being too sensitive, or, Maybe you're not meant to have children, or, Just accept it and go on, or, Stop crying, or, We all have problems.
  • Do you want me to give you a few pointers? (ha, ha!). Are you sure you know how babies are made?
  • I get pregnant so easily! My husband just looks at me and a baby is on the way.
  • You're lucky you don't have kids, or, Why do you want them, anyway?, or, I'll gladly give you a couple of mine, or, You don't know how nice you have it--your house never gets dirty.
  • You're not getting any younger, or, When are you going to have kids, anyway?, or, Are you really so selfish that you don't want any children?
  • Adopt! You'll get pregnant for sure.
  • Just relax! You're trying too hard. Stress is bad. (Or, Take a cruise or go on vacation.)
Things that people would NEVER say to a parapalegic but they DO say to people trying to conceive.
  • As soon as you buy a wheelchair I bet you will walk again.
  • My cousin is paralyzed, but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.
  • I guess God just didn't mean for you to be able to walk.
  • Oh, I know exactly how you feel. I have an ingrown toenail.
  • Boy, I wish I were paralyzed. I get so tired of walking, if I were paralyzed I wouldn't have to walk anywhere.
  • Sorry, we don't cover that treatment because it isn't a life threatening illness.
  • You're so lucky...Think of the money you save on shoes!
  • I hope you don't go on those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.
  • Look at those people hiking...doesn't that make you want to hike?
  • Do you want to rub my legs? That might help you walk and give you luck.
  • Take a vacation and you'll walk!
  • I ran a marathon and won. Let me tell you all about it and show you my medal and tell you how much everyone is doting on me.
  • You are just too worried about walking, it's all in your head!!If you stop thinking about it so much, it will happen.
Things We Wish You Knew
*adapted from the American RESOLVE web site

  • That it is probably the most devastating thing that we will ever experience
  • That it ruins our self-esteem
  • That it affects our relationships with everyone that we know
  • That it interferes with our day to day functioning
  • That the medications make us moody and emotional and cause us to gain weight
  • That it makes us feel violated
  • That it is very expensive to go through treatment and/or to adopt
  • That it is emotionally draining
  • That it changes our lives forever-we will never again be the same people that we once were
  • That people experiencing infertility have depression rates that are equal to those experiencing cancer
  • That it is a life-altering experience
  • That it makes us question everything we ever believed in
  • That these are medical issues, not lifestyle issues. Talk to us as you would someone who has heart disease, diabetes, or any other medical condition. Be a sounding board for the tests, results, side effects, etc of the treatments. NEVER suggest relaxing or having sex more often
  • Realize that a pregnancy that results from infertility is not the same as others. Infertile couples may have a hard time easing up and enjoying their pregnancy. After being used to receiving disappointment, pregnancy is not yet the end of the road
  • Even though your intentions are good, you will probably say something that is offensive to us because this is such a sensitive subject
  • No matter how close the friendship, it will be hard to completely connect with fertile friends.There is always something there that others cannot understand, even when you do try so hard to empathize
  • Infertility affects all aspects of your life and the pain is inescapable. You are confronted with it at work, at the mall, walking down your street, on television, with family and friends when they don't even know it. Kids are life's common denominator. When you can't participate in these conversations (and they are everywhere) you just don't fit in anywhere-
  • Baby showers are one of the most painful events that we can be asked to attend
  • In this day and age people need to be more cognitive that some people may want kids and are having trouble and some people may not want children for certain reasons. It is not up to family/friends to provide a running commentary on the issue. You never know the situation of the person you are talking to (some people are not open about their infertility treatments) so it's better to err on the side of caution and not make a lot of pregnancy comments/questions
  • To remember that if I am acting mad at times, I am not mad at you, I am mad at my life
  • That I will talk about things that are happening with my treatment when I am ready
  • It's hard to know what I will be doing next. If there were a script, it would be easier to predict the future, but everyone is different.
  • That unless you have done what I've done and been through what I have been through, you can't possibly know how I feel and can't possibly know what to tell me to do about the pain and frustration that infertility brings.
  • That I will be okay again, but I don't know when. So when I seem okay, just accept that as a good thing for the moment, and don't press me, because I don't know how long the feeling okay again thing will last.
  • Going through infertility is like being on a roller coaster-there are constant ups and downs and surprising drops. We never know what is around the next curve and work very hard to just stay fastened in our seats.
  • Infertility is a journey that will take us to many places we never thought of or knew about and it will shape us into new people (some of our newness will be good and some will not be) and change how we look at and deal with everything in our lives. Once you've been on this journey you are never the same again.
  • That the sadness that accompanies infertility sometimes comes unexpectedly and at the most awkward moments. I wish I could plan my depression! But unfortunately, it just doesn't work out like that. Of course, these moments come when I'm surrounded by other people-- watching TV with a group and you see a commercial with a couple holding a baby-- totally unrelated to parenting, pregnancy or whatever, but it's just the image that is devastating.
  • For me (as I'm sure it is for a lot of people experiencing infertility) the greatest fear is that I will never have a child. Each failed treatment cycle, especially as your treatment gets more high-tech, makes this fear even larger. If we could just somehow know that we would have a child, a lot of the stress would be alleviated.
  • I wish family and friends could understand why holidays, baby showers, and just hearing about or being around other people's children and pregnant woman, can be so hard sometimes.
  • That medical treatments are very painful, emotionally and physically.
  • That infertility is a degrading experience-we often feel like failures, like our bodies are not our own, like everyone in the world has touched us, and most especially that the most private part of our lives (our physical relationship with our spouse) has been completely invaded.
  • That infertility treatment is very clinical and definitely is not "fun".
  • That treatment cycles move very slowly, so try to be patient.
  • That we are at the mercy of the medical world.
  • That grief is a VERY important part of the healing process for us- please let us be sad when we need to be. We have to mourn our losses.

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