What’s the craziest thing someone has said to you during your infertility struggle?
The one that still stings is from a woman (whom I have met only once) who messaged me on Facebook and told me that she and her husband (whom I’ve never met) had it revealed to them that morning that my husband and I would be able to get pregnant if we just had more faith.
Anytime we make assumptions about the measure of one’s faith it’s always a bad thing. Add the tenderness of infertility to that and you’ve just assembled something nuclear.
I’ve actually had some other deeply scarring things said to me by people whom I love that I won’t put on the Internet for the sake of our relationship. But if you want to come over for lunch sometime, oh the stories we could share. ;)
Why do people say such offensive things to those suffering from infertility?
I believe that some people are just jerks. Others I think come from a misguided place of wanting to help. Infertility makes most people uncomfortable and they often don’t know what to say …so they fumble and say something that hurts the person that is already hurting.
It’s no fun for anyone …except maybe the jerks.
What should I say to someone struggling with infertility?
- “I’m sorry.” That’s it! That’s the winner. It’s all you need. Maybe a hug. Maybe a treat. Maybe a huge stack of paper plates delivered to my house with dinner. (No one likes to do dishes when they are feeling blue.)
- Don’t try to fix it and don’t give medical advice. You don’t know more than my ridiculously smart medical team who specialize in fertility. Resist the urge to fix it. This includes telling someone to adopt. You could even say, “I wish I knew how to fix this but I know I don’t. I’m sorry and I love you.”
- Don’t compare. No one wants to hear about someone who has infertility worse than them when they are grieving.
- Don’t make promises. To ease the pain, we often want to tell people that everything will be okay and prove it with stories of people achieving pregnancy miraculously due to x, y and z. While trying to give hope, we can often give false hope. And false hope is just that–false.
Enter a new project: What to RESPECT When NOT Expecting
Rebekah South’s project is a hilarious inspiration. “Its purpose is twofold – to give those going through fertility challenges an assurance that there are people out there who get it, and to give friends and relatives of people going through it a gauge on what not to say.” Genius!
Do you want to share your story? Maybe you need it for your healing? She’s looking for more stories. Email them to WhatToRespect@gmail.com.
You can also donate to her Kickstarter account.
Let the insane storytelling begin!