Thursday, 3 November 2016

10 Things You Should avoid saying to Someone struggling with Infertility

So, as it is National Fertility Awareness Week, I wanted to do a post on the subject, and one thing that grates on me more than anything (And by grates on me, I mean drives me absolutely fricking INSANE), are the cliche things people say to you when they have no experience in dealing with infertility.

I feel I should make a quick disclaimer before I dive in to my 'top 10'... please take this post with a pinch of salt, I mean it all in good humor (sort of), and I'm well aware that more often than not the people making these statements are just trying to help, or that they wholeheartedly believe it will make you feel better - I know for a fact that the majority of my friends and family will have said one of these to me at some point, and I also know that they will have meant nothing but support and comfort in doing so. But the sad fact of the matter is, nothing anyone can say is really going to make you feel any better, and the more you hear these statements uttered in your direction, the more you begin to hate the very sound of them. As someone that has listened to people expel these words of wisdom for the best part of 2 years now, I can safely say, for me at least, these are the most frustrating things to hear as someone who is struggling to conceive:
  1. "It will happen when the time is right" - Okay this one REALLY gets to me, more so than any of the others. Surely if you have taken the decision to actively try for a baby, that suggests the time is right? What is making the timing 'wrong'?
  2. "Just relax and it will happen" - Surprisingly, it is not that easy to 'relax' and 'not think about it' when everyone around you seems to be getting pregnant without even trying, and you can't understand why it still isn't happening for you, however many years down the line.
  3. "I know it will happen for you eventually!" - Whilst this is clearly meant with the very best intentions, I really have to resist the urge to scream "You don't know that!!" every time someone says it to me. I wish it wasn't the case, but sadly not everyone can biologically carry a baby.
  4. "You're still only young, you've got loads of time!" - It really doesn't matter whether you're 26 or 46, if you are ready for a baby, you are ready for a baby. 
  5. "Things could be worse" - Yes, things probably could be worse, things can always be worse, but to a woman going through the pain of not being able to conceive, it doesn't feel like anything could ever be any worse than not being able to have a baby.
  6. "I know exactly how you feel" - Telling someone struggling with infertility that you understand how they feel, because it took you 3 months to conceive 1 of your 6 children, is not the most comforting knowledge you can thrust on someone who is desperate to have a baby.
  7. "God works in mysterious ways!" - Now this is a tricky one... I am not personally religious, but I feel I need to point out here that I have absolutely no issue with people that are, I'm actually quite jealous that people can have so much faith and belief. But what does really get to me sometimes, is when I hear people suggesting infertility is a direct result of God's will. To me, that makes it seem as though it is something that is completely out of our control, and if it is out of our control, does that mean that all of the invasive tests,  all the time spent researching, all the hard work and treatment provided by doctors, is all completely pointless if God simply doesn't will it to happen?
  8. "You are so lucky you don't have kids to worry about!" - Yes, you are right, I am so so lucky. This to me is probably the statement I find the hardest to understand, on what level does anyone think that this is going to be comforting to someone who is so desperate for a child of their own? 
  9. "Have you thought about IVF?" - People seem to think IVF is the cure for all fertility issues, sadly it's not! The devastating fact of the matter is, even if you are eligible for IVF, it is only successful in approximately 30% of cases.
  10. "Guess what? I'm pregnant!" - Okay so I appreciate this one is pretty unavoidable, I was possibly clutching at straws here to make it to a nice round 10 statements, but there is nothing quite like the knife-in-heart feeling of finding out someone you know is pregnant, to remind you that you are not.
So there you have it, my list of the top 10 things that are hard to hear when you are struggling with infertility! I am reading back through this list and wondering to myself 'So what is someone actually supposed to say?' but unfortunately I don't think there really is a right thing to say. All you can do is offer an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on. Nobody expects you to have all the answers, all you can do is try your best to understand, and to offer your support when it's needed.

Becca x

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