Sometimes when you are TTC people ask questions. Well meaning people. Well meaning questions. But they can be painful nonetheless.
So here are a few things that us TTCers (or even those who are not trying but are choosing to wait) get a little tired of hearing….
1. “When are you having a baby?” There is no good answer to this. If I say, “We are doing the deed every chance we get, I chart my cervical fluid, and I test obsessively, so I’m hoping that the answer is ‘any day now.'” you will be left embarrassed and confused. Or what if I AM pregnant? “Well, I actually am pregnant.” that’s not really the method or timing that I was hoping to announce the amazing news. I guess I’m left with the typical forced laugh and a nice but hopefully pointed, “We won’t forget to announce it when the time comes.”
2. “You’re still young.” I don’t know why exactly, but this stings. Maybe it’s the fact that I feel like it’s shutting down my experience and down playing the pain. Maybe it’s because fertility has to do with a lot of things, not just the year I was born. Maybe it’s the fact that I know I’m already past the average age of peak fertility. Either way, it doesn’t make me feel like that person cares to walk this road with me.
3. “Oh, so-and-so tried so much longer than you have. Just be patient. It will happen.” A) Telling me how my story isn’t that bad and other people have it so much worse is not helpful. I feel guilt and shame pile on me telling me I have no right to be pained by a negative pregnancy test just because so-and-so had a different experience than me. Experiences are different. Not worse, not better, just different. Please be with your friends within their experience. B) How much longer do I need to be patient? Please don’t slap platitudes on me. C) Thanks, but the truth is you don’t know that it will happen.
4. “Just relax. It will happen when you stop trying.” Really? I thought you DID have to have sex to make a baby. I’m pretty sure if I don’t try then I won’t get pregnant. Stress can affect fertility, it’s true. But the process itself and all that goes into “trying” is stressful. Plus, which came first, the stress or the infertility? Chances are, the stress about “trying” came once “trying” became difficult.
5. “Just have lots of sex!” A) Eww!! Why are you talking about our sex life?? 😉 B) If doing it like rabbits was the solution, we would have rabbits by now. C) The “trying” in trying to conceive can sometimes take the romance out of the act. Scheduling the act, peeing on ovulation test strips, and charting bodily fluids is not sexy or romantic. Not to say that the romance is gone from the relationship of those TTC….but trying is definitely not always the fun part as a lot of people like to think.
6. “He’ll always have friends/cousins to play with.” I am beyond THRILLED that the Wingman has cousins close by. But eventually we (or they) will move away. And his cousins don’t live in the same house. And I’m the one who hears my son’s delighted giggles when he is playing with friends and then sees him playing at our home all by himself…quietly. My heart breaks that he does not have siblings to play with every day.
7. “You’ve got it easy with just one child. Think what it would be like if you had two? Or three??” I obviously don’t know what it is like to have more than one child. But I read a fantastic article written by a Mom of multiples who pointed out that motherhood does not get harder….the challenges just change. Motherhood is always hard, whether you have one kid or five. Plus….girl, I would love that challenge of having more kids!! Bring it on!!
Ok ok it probably isn’t the best idea to get sarcastic or snarky. (Although sometimes I do think that a straightforward and honest answer is best.) Sometimes it is ok to literally practice a canned response at home in the mirror so that you are ready when these questions come up and you are able to maintain some grace (and your dignity!).
All snarkiness aside….here are some things that would be helpful to say to someone going through infertility.
- “I’m praying for you!”
- “How are you doing today?” And really mean it. Let your friend know that if s/he wants to talk, you’re available. If they don’t want to talk, that’s ok too.
- “You are a strong woman.” Sometimes we just feel broken and like falling apart. Reminders that it will be ok and we will make it through can be very helpful.
- “Want to go grab coffee?” Girl talk! Have fun doing something other than think about your home and personal situations.
- “I’m so sorry this is happening to you.”
I have come to the conclusion that unless you are bosom buddies with someone you probably shouldn’t ask them their plans for babies. There simply is no way to know what a person or couple is going through. Just because they put on a smile and give a vague answer doesn’t mean they are ok talking about it or that everything is ok.
What are some other questions or comments that you have heard? What are some gracious ways to respond?