This post is not a bitter post by any means. Sometimes when I read posts about fertility I sense this harshness that turns me off right away. This post has been requested so many times for me to do & I have now lost 5 babies so I feel like all 10 of these things have been said to me. You know, when people are trying to comfort me or when they chat with me on a normal daily basis. I never really take offense to any of it because honestly I personally struggle with talking to people who have miscarried or that struggle with fertility as well even though I have experienced it. I don’t know what to say most of the time. I never get angry when they say these things, but they do catch me off guard every time. But who knows there could be someone out there struggling with infertility that is more sensitive & these things could really hurt them. So, this isn’t a post about how I know everything you should say to someone on their fertility journey or about how perfect I am at comforting someone through the loss of a baby.. because I’m far from it. But it’s things that maybe we should avoid saying all the time to people that struggle with infertility or that have miscarried. Now, these might not be true for everyone, but these are things I have had friends share with me that they have heard & some that I have experienced myself. I hope this helps some of you who do not know what it feels like to go through any of this as you talk to people that are going through it. Or if you are like me & you have been through these things, but maybe just need a reminder of what not to say to someone who struggles with infertility…
1. “Just wait until you are a mom” – For me this one is a kicker. I’m sitting here having been pregnant 5 times, have carried these babies for a few months, have loved these babies, prayed for these babies, connected with these babies, & promised these babies the world. I am a mom. I carried a life inside of me five times, so let’s not say that one. & to the women who can’t get pregnant…That’s what they are waiting for.. that’s what they pray for.. let’s not rub that in that there is this wait. I don’t think there is another thing to say in place of this, but let’s avoid this one all together.
2. “Just stop trying & it will happen” – Nope. Nope. Nope. Not how it works. You have to keep trying. The trying is the most important part for us that struggle with fertility. Sure, maybe eventually it would just happen, but for most of us we need full medical assistance or at least a lot of planning, eating right, praying, & LOTS OF TRYING to get pregnant. Those words can be hurtful too for those that work so hard to gain control of their fertility, you are basically saying that because they are trying & because of all their work that’s why it’s not happening. Let’s maybe say… “You are doing so good & being so strong, keep your head up & keep trying.”
3. “You don’t need a doctor! My friend tried eating ______ & it worked”– Another big nope. A lot of us get poked & prodded with needles weekly. We have so many doctor visits that we can’t count them. We have legit conditions that no potato would ever cure. We wish! Potatoes would be a whole lot cheaper than fertility treatments, but for most of us it’s just not the case. Suggesting something isn’t mean though, & don’t get me wrong, but maybe just saying it worked for someone & not stating that it’s what’s going to cure who you are talking to. Because trust me, we’ve probably already tried it.
4. “It’s all in God’s Time.” – We know. We learn this lesson every month when it doesn’t happen. We know this for a fact. We don’t need to be reminded of it or get it thrown in our face over & over again. Everyone struggles with something. If you lose your job, or someone dies, or a child gets sick it’s not comforting to hear “It’s in God’s time”, but maybe we need to hear “We are praying for you” or “I love you & I’m here for you”. & this one I know is controversial because I know in my heart that God is in control of my life & everything that happens in it, & He reminds me of that. I’m just not comforted when someone else reminds me of that.
5. “Why don’t you just adopt.” – Ummmm this one I will never get. First of all it’s not “just adopting” Adoption is the most beautiful thing you could do for another human being & it’s not a thing you just do over night or on your lunch break. It’s a life changing long process that many I know are going through. Many people I know who have conceived children & many who are choosing adoption over trying to conceive children. It’s not the solution for everyone who struggles with infertility. Personally we have talked about adoption long before we ever knew we would deal with infertility. We would love that opportunity to have a child through adoption, but you have to know that you don’t offer up this as the solution like this person has never thought of this before. It’s not for everyone. It takes a strong courageous person to make the decision to adopt. & to me it kind of sounds like you are telling the person to just give up with their fertility journey & that’s not very supportive either. Though, supporting someone on an adoption journey is the best thing you could do, it doesn’t need to be offered up as the solution to their infertility or their miscarriages. Adoption is amazing & anyone who says things like “Oh it’s not their baby, they adopted” or “They didn’t have any babies of their own, they just adopted” I will never understand. Adoption is a struggle that far exceeds 9 months. There is waiting, heartbreak, more waiting, fear, pain & so much more that goes into adopting. It should not be looked at in any other way besides completely respected because those babies are their own babies. They carried them in their hearts, & forever they will be there.
6. “I hate being pregnant.” – Though this is true for many many women, it doesn’t need to be said in front of someone you KNOW who would love to carry a child. Now, once in a while complaining about pregnancy is fine, I mean you are carrying a 4 pound child in there that is kicking your ribs & making you nauseous, I get it! But the constant complaining in front of someone who struggles with fertility is a big no. It’s very inconsiderate & if you are close to the person it can be very hurtful. This is one I have really learned a lot from, I know when I carry to term [praying that God allows this to happen] I am really going to have to watch what I say in front of people & maybe save the complaints for my boo thang while he rubs my feet haha. Use your own transgressions on this one & maybe put yourself in their shoes?
7. “You will understand when you are a mom” – This one I can kind of get. I mean I don’t understand waking up in the middle of the night to change a poopy diaper quite yet or getting no sleep because of a baby. I mean I just get no sleep because of work, school, & other things at the moment. But I also don’t get it for the other 98% of the time. I had this one conversation the other day & everything that was said to the “you will understand when you are a mom” response were things that a normal functioning adult would understand being a mom or not. I am a human.. I am a responsible adult with feelings… 98% of the time that phrase is used I think it’s just being said, but I think a man or woman without a child would “understand” what you are talking about because we have normal feelings & we are normal people. I am also not going to tell you that I understand what it’s like to wake up for five feedings a night, I have learned that lesson through all of this. I know this phrase isn’t mean to hurt, but when you are waiting to become a mom or if you are not being recognized as a mom of angel babies.. it hurts. I think what you meant to say is “You will understand when you have a toddler poop all over you while the baby is crying in the bouncer.” but you know what, let’s not even say that… it’s kind of a put down & should also be avoided.
8. “Oh we didn’t invite you because you don’t have kids…” – I mean I love going to the zoo or the park, didn’t you before you had kids? I like sitting on park benches & sipping lattes or checking out the monkey exhibit. I mean, yes I don’t always make time to do these things because I’m busy with my own schedule, but an invite says a 1,000 words. It says.. “Hey, we want to hang out with you & we don’t think you need a kid with you to be fun.” among other things. & I also love being around kids too, it teaches me a lot for when I have kids here on earth & I think that by inviting someone that maybe doesn’t have kids it shows that there can still be a friendship. To be left our for struggling with fertility is hurtful & it truly makes that person feel that you are not supporting them on this journey they are on. It’s kind of like a scene form Mean Girls if there was a remake of it with them as adults. I’m getting flashbacks of the “You can’t sit with us!” scene. Let’s all play nice. Oh, & don’t be offended if your friend that struggles with infertility declines she might have something else to do that day, she might have to work, she might be busy, she might be having a bad day, she might be on fertility drugs that make her nauseous every second of the day, but PLEASE know that your gesture of inviting maybe made her day & that she is thankful.
9. “I hate my kids.” – Believe it or not this happened to me. This really happened. Now, they didn’t know what I was struggling with or what I had been through in their defense [if there is a defense to that]. But just in case you say this about your children in front of someone who struggles with fertility. Just don’t. Maybe you don’t mean it & your kids are giving you a hard time that day, but maybe choose some better words. Now, trust me, I know that kids aren’t always perfect & that they are the naughtiest little cutest things ever, but to really choose what you complain about in front of that person can make a world of difference. Most of them would give anything to have a naughty little rascal around so it just takes the joy & the life out of trying for that naughty little rascal to arrive when you constantly complain about your children.
10. “I know what you are going through, it took us 3 months” – Well, since it’s considered “normal” to take a year to get pregnant & most people who struggle with fertility have been trying for a 1+ years this isn’t something that needs to be said. Everyone takes their fertility journey differently. I have to say that I think I take our 3 year/5 loss fertility journey very well & don’t let it control my days or my feelings like I have known some people who have tried for 5 months to do. It’s not a bad thing either way, everyone handles things differently. This example just proves that any kind of comparison isn’t valid, & maybe that person struggling for 3 months is depressed, sad & struggling more than the person that has been trying for 2 years, but since it’s a comparison with so many variables, it’s just not necessary. To say you understand the hurt of loss & the struggle of trying is ok, but leave the time comparisons & all of that out. This is one I need to work on.. telling someone with one loss that I know the pain because I have lost 5 isn’t helping them more than just telling them I understand the pain of miscarriage & letting them talk about their feelings. Infertility isn’t the time or the place to one-up someone. I think this one goes both ways, maybe not always bringing up how long it took you & maybe not always bringing up the number of losses or failed attempts, & not always sharing how long you have been trying. Of course this information should be shared sometimes, but there is a time & a place.
Whew! That was a long post. I truly from the bottom of my heart hope this helps someone in some way. I know writing it all down made me think of things I could change as well. No negative feelings towards anyone who has ever said one of these things because we do not always know how to comfort someone going through such a hard thing, but we all could use the reminder. Hug someone that you know is on a fertility journey because they need to know that people are there for them, they are not alone, & that there are people out there that truly care. I hope you guys liked this post & that you can share it with someone in your life who you think would enjoy it. Praying for all of my readers on their fertility journey & who have experienced loss. Know that I care about you even though I don’t always know what to say. Leave me a comment below, find me on Facebook, & chat with me on Instagram. xx
Read more about our fertility journey…
All photos in the post by @RachLovesTroy