Stop Saying These Things to Couples Battling Infertility
You have no idea what we’re going through
My husband and I have been trying for a baby for over a year and a half. It has been a long, bumpy, and emotional road. Infertility is one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve been through it yourself.
If there is one thing that makes infertility worse it’s people’s comments. Some are well intended and others just plain rude. These are a few I think most people in our boat would agree they could go without hearing, again and again.
“Just relax! Stop trying! Quit stressing!”
Or anything in that family is insane. You don’t tell someone with a medical issue that they can “relax it away” so why would infertility be any different. Infertility causes stress and depression, you can’t just make those things go away overnight by doing yoga or taking a vacation. Suggesting to your infertile friend that their stress is causing the problem adds to the guilt they already feel for not being able to have a baby.
“You’re young! You’ve got plenty of time.”
People are always saying this to me and it is such a pet peeve. Excuse me for being 21 and wanting children. These should be my prime years of fertility; if it’s not happening it’s worth figuring out why, no matter my age. Me getting older certainly won’t increase my chances of getting pregnant so frankly, what’s your point?
“Who’s the problem you or him?”
How about none of your business, person not close enough to me to know my middle name. Placing blame on the husband or wife is cruel and unnecessary. The majority of people dealing with infertility don’t know the cause of their infertility or who is the “problem.” Even if they do, they will share when/if they want to.
”It will happen when it is supposed to happen.”
Yes maybe that’s true, but after hearing it from everyone you know since you starting trying, that phrase loses all meaning. I know God has a plan, I know that everything happens for a reason, but hearing that doesn’t make my battle any easier to fight.
“Oh trust me you don’t want kids, borrow mine and see!”
I’ll do you one better I’ll take yours and keep them! It’s frustrating hearing people act like being a parent is such a burden when you desperately ache to be one. I know parents love their children and they say this as a joke, but it’s insensitive to say to someone who wants what you have. It’s like saying “Oh trust me, you don’t want to deal with my house’s upkeep!” to a homeless person.
*insert any complaint about your pregnancy here*
Having to listen to someone complain about their pregnancy is easily the most frustrating and infuriating thing I’ve dealt with since we’ve been trying. Yes, you’re uncomfortable but I would literally give up everything I own for some morning sickness and swollen toes! You get to grow your family, you get to bring life into this world! Do you know how many people would give anything to have some heartburn and cravings if it meant getting a sweet, little baby? Don’t take your pregnancy for granted and if you must, don’t do it around your infertile friends.
“Just adopt or do IVF!”
That sounds awesome! I can’t believe we haven’t thought that of that yet! Hey question, just real quick, can I borrow 30, oh maybe 40 thousand dollars? You don’t have that lying around? Weird, us either! Do some research on adoption and IVF costs, then tell me if we should “just try it.”
“I’ll donate some sperm!” or “I can be your surrogate!”
I know people really, really do mean well with this one. I know that because I’ve gotten it from friends who genuinely meant it, and if you’re reading this: don’t get offended or apologize!
The problem with people saying this is, you don’t know if the couple has thought about their options or gotten to a point where they actually have to. Personally for us, we would rather adopt than explore sperm donation or surrogacy. The point is, whoever you’re saying this to, unless they have said they need a sperm donor/surrogate, you don’t know where they are. It’s best to not say anything, without them prompting you do to so.
“Have you tried *insert here*?”
Fertility smoothies, essential oils, vitamins, special diets, you name it, we have probably tried it! As soon as people find out you’re trying to get pregnant they have so many remedies and tricks to share. We’ve heard keeping a certain gemstone in your window sill, yoga, eating sweet potatoes, many variations and combinations of vitamins, acupuncture, a Carnival cruise- we’ve heard a lot. We haven’t tried all of them, but we have tried quite a few (still waiting on my hubby to book that cruise though). Again, we know you mean well, but if you saw my google history you know I’ve read about every single trick there is.
“When are you having kids?” or “Are you pregnant yet?”
This should be common sense, but surprise! I’ve heard them both in the past two weeks. As for “when are you having kids?”, you really shouldn’t ask anyone that because you never know if people are struggling to get pregnant or not. Oh and because it’s probably none of your business. As far as asking an infertile friend if they are pregnant yet, no matter how gentle or well intended just reminds them of the fact they aren’t.
If you want to support your friend or family member on their infertility journey, ask them how they’re feeling. Give them an awkward hug or “I’m thinking of you” text. Let them know you’re praying for them. Those things do so much more for my husband and I than weird advice. As for everyone reading this on the same roller coaster we are- I’m praying for you too.