As promised I’m covering another collection of the crass, insensitive and downright rude things people say. I know that often these are said without malice of forethought: however, infertility is tough enough as it is without having to deal with this as well. I’m still struggling with my spoons at the moment so I’m going to be as economical with my words as I can. So let’s jump straight into the comments that help make infertility suck!
I actually wish I’d never had kids: it’s not all it’s cracked up to be
I’m not sure I actually need to write any more. This is just wrong on so many levels and you really hit the jackpot with this one. No excuses. There’s no room for leeway on this. There’s no possibility that it was said by a persona not knowing how to be supportive. There is no way of turning this into something that could have been intended as well-meaning yet was badly worded. This was intended to hurt. End of!
Being a parent is obviously not part of God’s plan for you
Now before I start on this one I don’t want to offend anyone who has a strong belief in a deity of any sort. It’s simply my opinion that religion, of any denomination, has no place in a discussion about infertility. I know some people who had a very strong faith to begin with and have lost it, whilst others have found their faith has grown stronger. Equally there are people who didn’t have a faith and found one because of their experiences with infertility. Now we’ve covered that let’s get on to the specifics of this particular comment. Not part of God’s plan? Are you serious? Grrrrr I feel a thump coming on: however, I know that it’s not an appropriate response to this comment. Far better to discuss this and point out the contradictions of the statement. So it’s not part of God’s plan for us to give a loving, safe home to a child and yet it is part of His plan for a child to be born to a drug addict? Where is the good in that? For that matter where’s the justice or sense in a plan that deprives a child of a loving home yet places one in a home full of abuse, neglect and even possibly murder? As for children born as a result of rape, where’s God’s plan in that? If all of these are examples of God’s plan, then it’s something I want no part of.
Oh really? When exactly IS the RIGHT time? Tell me because I’d love to know. I’m in a stable relationship. I’m married to a man I adore. I’m young and in good health (apart from the Endometriosis) … well I was way back when we were still trying to conceive. What needs to change in my life to make the timing better? Oh and whilst we’re on the subject of perfect timing for getting pregnant why is it that girls aged 13 or 14 fall pregnant? That’s surely NOT perfect timing. What about all the times when you hear about people who have just landed their dream job, or just bought a puppy or 2-seater sports car. I bet they don’t think their pregnancy happened at the right time!
Perhaps infertility is your body’s way of telling you that you’re in the wrong relationship
This is almost as bad as the “I wish I’d never had kids” comment: however, it’s not quite on the same level. The human body is amazing and one of the most powerful parts of our bodies is the mind. Mind over matter: we still don’t fully understand the extent to which our mindset or subconscious mind can affect other aspects of our bodily functions. Who knows perhaps your mind can prevent you from falling pregnant when your subconscious believes the relationship to be toxic. After all, a woman can have unprotected sex for years with a fertile man (already fathered children) and yet they don’t fall pregnant. The woman eventually leaves, starts a relationship with someone else and falls pregnant almost immediately. So perhaps there is something in the theory. However, there are also a huge number of women in relationships with abusive men who get pregnant. Finally, there’s me, and thousands of women like me, who are in loving relationships with men who treat them with respect etc… and yet we still don’t fall pregnant. Or are you saying that my relationship with Andrew is toxic and I’m in denial about that? Watch out I feel a THUMP coming on!
You must be at it like rabbits! (there’s almost a “lucky you” in there somewhere)
OK so I admit that there are times when there’s a lot of sex going on. Let’s face it, as far as rabbits are concerned sex is for procreation and infertility stands in the way of that. So it makes sense that infertility = more sex. However, what people don’t often realise is that sex should be about quality not quantity. Infertility means that sex becomes a chore! It’s done to order. You reach the peak of ovulation and WHAM BAM THANK YOU MAM. Sex HAS to happen THEN. However, what’s not appreciated is that to maximise the successes of THEN you have to abstain for a few days. No sex because you feel like it just before ovulation; oh now you’re got to build up reserves of the little blighters. Sex also becomes THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD and guess what that leads to pressure. Lots of it. Which isn’t great for the enjoyment levels. Each time you have sex around the time of ovulation you HAVE to think positively and then Auntie Flow arrives: positivity and hope go out the window and you feel a failure AGAIN. You feel a failure because despite everything you did to maximise your chances of getting pregnant it didn’t happen. He feels a failure because he couldn’t get you pregnant AGAIN.
So there we have it another five comments that people struggling with infertility have had to deal with at some time or another. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: not all comments are meant to hurt unfortunately they often do whether that was the intention or not. There are five more comments I want to deal with and then I want to turn my attention to a VERY IMPORTANT topic which is “what should I be saying instead?” It’s all very good me writing about what shouldn’t be said: however, that leaves people in a vacuum. Whilst they might think twice about saying some of these things they are still left wondering what they should be saying instead. People do want to be supportive yet are confused about how best to do that and it down to us, the infertile, to help them. We can’t expect people who have not experienced the devastation of infertility to appreciate how devastating it is. The only people who know what support will actually help is us. So we’ve got to start being the change we want to see in the world. If we want people to be more supportive and understanding, we’ve got to teach them how.