Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Things you Should and Should NOT say to a Person Struggling with Infertility

People mean well when they give you their advice, or say things to try and make you feel better, but these are just some warnings and advice of things NOT to say to someone who is struggling to get pregnant and/or dealing with infertility:

1) "At least you have a lot of free time and don't have to be tied down by kids" or "just enjoy your time together now"
Sure, having "free time" is nice, but a lot of that time is spent visiting doctors (if you're dealing with infertility), appointments and treatments. Not to mention the financial side.
PLUS, it's something that we WANT. We want kids. 
If someone was struggling to move up in their job track, or struggling to make ends meet would you say "well, at least your taxes are lower?" No. It's kind of the same thing.
And telling me to enjoy our time together is just annoying. If I didn't enjoy my time with my husband, I wouldn't be trying to have kids with him. We've had time to enjoy together--before we were married, and afterwards. That doesn't make me change my dreams any more than it would for you.

2) "Don't stress out. You just need to relax."
Ok, duh. We ALL know that stress doesn't help to make a baby. You know what else doesn't help people to not stress out? Being TOLD not to stress.
As my fertility doctor said, there's an innate amount of stress on your body anyway because it's in our DNA to procreate in order to carry on our species. That stress is programmed into you. Then add in something that you want desperately, and of course there is stress when it doesn't happen.
Relaxing is great, but sometimes it's a lot easier than just saying it.

3) "It took us a long time to get pregnant too" followed up by 2, 3, 4 months, etc.
No. That is the NORMAL amount of time it takes for people to get pregnant. When you've been trying for a year or YEARS, it is a slap in the face. We get that you're trying to relate, but just don't. 3 months is nothing compared to a year or years.

4) "You guys just need to have sex more"
This one is wrong on so many levels. One, it actually doesn't work like that since you don't ovulate every day. Two, what do you know about my sex life? Three, no...just shush.

5) "There are always treatments available. Or adoption."
Well, no kidding. Do you know the emotional journey going through THOSE steps are? IUI, IVF...they are both expensive (IUI less so than IVF) and it is a huge commitment--financially and time-wise. I'm talking about multiple early morning trips to the doctor before work for bloodwork and ultrasounds. Shots at night. Pills to take. It's not fun. There's nothing romantic about this process. In fact, it is probably some of the most UNromantic times you'll experience. And yet you do it anyway. There is some reassurance knowing these are available, but it's not an easy, snap your fingers kind of journey. And there's no guarantee with those either.
IUI increases your chances of getting pregnant to 20%. IVF is 60%.
And adoption is a GREAT option for people. But when you have your heart set on having a baby of your own, it's not an easy fix-all solution. It's still hard. And expensive.
(This is in no way knocking adoption. Adoption is wonderful and I'm thankful that it is available and out there.)
~.~.~
If you've said these things, it's ok. I know I've said some insensitive or stupid things in the past without intending to, or realizing it. We say things to try and help someone cope or make them feel better. But, this is just to increase the awareness. You never know what someone is going through, so just try and be sensitive, especially when you DO know there is a struggle there. 

What CAN you do?

Listen. Support. Let people know you're there.
You may not have gone through this before, and that's ok. Offering to listen or be someone to vent to is perfect. You're showing your support and letting someone know you're there. Sometimes that's all that we need.

Ask.
Ask how you can support them. If you don't know, ask. 

Check in.* 
This depends on the person and how close you are, and whether they said they want you to ask. I haven't met too many people dealing with this who don't appreciate someone asking how they are doing with everything.
I appreciate when my friends ask when our next treatment is so they can pray for us, or check back with me when they know I'm getting my bloodwork back. 
I've gotten this text before: "I know you had your bloodwork done today and I was just checking to see how it went. If it didn't go well and you don't want to talk, that's fine and I won't be offended. Either way, I'm here"
This is perfect. I don't feel the pressure if I'm upset and don't want to talk about it, but I know you're there when I want to.
I hope this helps all of us to navigate the tough stuff. Life isn't easy, that's for sure, and just knowing that people are there to support you is what matters.

51 comments:

  1. I had no idea this is something you've been struggling with for such a long time. I've learned through my struggles to never ask a couple when they are going to have kids because you never know how long they might have been trying. Praying for you!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

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  2. I cringe when I hear a friend going through this tell me or even worse when I witness someone say these things...it's no one's business!! Period. Thinking of you and MG sweet friend!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

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  3. Sweet pea, I did not know this but guess what, I have been there and now I have 3 teen miracles.. It takes time but it will happen for you!! I will lift you continually in prayer and know that so many of us share your struggle and I want to bop all those people with their remarks!!!!! It will happen sweet girl and you've got lots of compassionate support and people who got your back on the journey!!! ;-)

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  4. There are some good thoughts here. I think it's also worth mentioning that some people may really just not feel like talking about it at all. If they do, they'll bring it up when they're ready. Having a baby is such a personal decision and experience and I think when in doubt, let the potential parents take the lead. And never ask a couple why they don't have kids yet. They could be trying and if not, their reasons are really none of your business. Respect and support is always best :)

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  5. Number 4 is awful and so incredibly insensitive that it make me cringe. I am sorry that you have struggling so much with this. Thinking of you and sending hugs your way.
    xo, Whitney and Blaire
    Peaches In A Pod

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  6. #1... that makes me want to slap someone. Are you kidding me? Although there are two that drive me nuts you didn't mention "Are you ever going to have kids?!" and when parents complain about their kids in front of someone who is struggling with infertility. People just need to stop and think before they speak sometimes. Sending you all the love and prayers girl! <3, Pamela Sequins & Sea Breezes

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  7. First of all I just want to send you some extra love and *hugs* today sweet friend! Secondly, it blows my mind that people actually say such ridiculous things and actually think that it helps. I'm always amazed at how insensitive and unknowledgable people are and that they don't think before they talk. Love the tips you included on what you should say instead. Sending even more *hugs* <3
    Green Fashionista

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  8. I just don't know why people feel the need to pry into something so personal. Like we all know how babies are made right? Like I want to be openly discussing my sex life with you.....at work. Ughhhhh so frustrating. Also the comparison, oh yeah it took us a long time as well......like 7 months. Quiet. Thank you for the PSA, people need to mind their own sometimes right?

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  9. Prayers to you - for having to deal with this that actually say these things... But I guess people need to be reminded of somethings from time to time huh.... Very well put post. ❤️

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  10. goodness gracious. i mean i've heard all of these said to my friends that have and are struggling with infertility. and it shocks me really. i think so many don't think before they talk. i'd add that i've heard a lot of "it'll happen when it's meant to be" well gee thanks. that makes it easier ha. any who, i'm here for you! i may not get what you're going through but i've been a friend to many who have! all the love

    xoxo cheshire kat

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  11. Have each of these things really been said to you?! Yikes!! I guess there's offensive lines for every situation in life, it just seems like some are no brainers to stay away from :( I love your advice!! Thank you for sharing!! I know there have been times and situations where I don't know what to say and it's the best reminder to know that it's okay if I don't know what to say... just being there and listening can be enough! Praying for you guys!! xoxo

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  12. Gosh I just love this. I love that you are helping to increase awareness. Checking in and asking how we are doing is definitely the most important. I've been so hurt by some of my best friends who haven't asking once how I'm doing. Then I tell myself they have no idea how complicated this process is and probably don't realize how emotionally and physically taxing it is, because if they did, they would definitely be checking on me!

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  13. I forgot to add, I recently saw someone post on facebook how she and her husband are selling their house. Some fool actually commented "That would be a great house for kids.....when are they coming anyway??" My jaw dropped. People are crazy!

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  14. I love this!! Thank you for posting this. I know there is a baby coming your way :) God has a plan and a perfect little one for you :) Hope you are doing well!!! Chelsea @ http://thewilliamsjourney1.blogspot.com

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  15. I love you so much and hope that I am supportive.

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  16. This is so spot on. I know people dont mean to say the wrong thing, but they also just dont get it. :(

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  17. I am amazed at how rude some people can be! Do people just not think before saying things.. I mean ugh!!! Humans really need to be more educated on the success rates and huge expenses it is for fertility treatments! And adoption is often even more expensive (I've heard like $40,000?)!! It is also very brave to go through fertility treatments because I'm sure doctors visits & the way the hormones affect your body can be very scary and painful! And then having to work a full job on top of those things.. I bet its a lot. Women who go through these treatments really reallyy deserve a pat on the back for such strength and bravery! Many women are afraid to go through such things and choose not to go through with it! Thanks for sharing these comments with us so people can realize the right things to say! Sending good vibes to you guys!!! <3 theritzyglitzy.com

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  18. Thanks for laying this out for everybody, it's a good reminder to essentially shut your mouth unless you plan to be supportive. :) Thinking of you!

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  19. Love this post! We've gotten asked a lot lately about babies and it's a little much. If I were pregnant, I'd let you know, but I'm not going to tell you that we're trying. That's too personal.

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  20. Just tell people not to ask about your uterus! Haha! They don't know it! So don't talk about it like its you casual friend! I am here for you though!!! And if I have ever made a baby comment, please forgive me! Thoughts and prayers love! xoxo

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  21. My two best friends did IUI (both) and IVF (one) in the last year and a half. One was very open to talking about it and one was not. It's hard to be on both sides.

    It actually enrages me when people ask people in public when they're having kids, or make comments about it...you have no idea if those people don't want kids, or want kids and are having a hard time conceiving. Shut up.

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  22. Some of those comments are awful - I can't even think how someone would think that they're helping your or anyone when they say that. It's really none do anyone's business. Thinking of you and MG xx

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  23. One of my friends started trying about 9 months ago and is struggling! I think this is a great list!

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  24. Thank you so much for shedding light on this topic! You are in my thoughts and prayers!

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  25. It all goes back to people being insensitive and also I feel the internet has made things ten times worse because we display many facets of life so people feel "comfortable" asking us dumb questions. We struggled with getting pregnant and now I always get..."why just one child?" "you HAVE TO HAVE more than 1." "when is your next one?" and then I just want to throat punch people. Hang in there sweet girl!

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  26. Oh gosh, PLEASE tell me that people haven't said some of those things to you! Ugh, it really stinks that you're already going through this and you have to put up with comments like that.

    I have two friends who are struggling with infertility right now and I know they would appreciate this very much, so I will be forwarding your link to both of them. I pray for them and you every single night and I hope that you are blessed with your little miracle very soon.

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  27. It really is amazing how insensitive people can be! Like you said, I think that the best way you can be there for someone who's going through infertility is just to be there and listen to them. And you're 100% right about adoption and IVF being super expensive. It's not exactly in the cards for everyone.

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  28. I'm so glad you wrote this, it's an important subject. I'm sorry if people have said things like that to you. I never know what to say.. I've had friends, and family struggle and I always feel so helpless. I'm glad to hear that just extending my thoughts and love will make that person feel cared for. xoxo

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  29. It's really sad how insensitive people can be... I'm sorry for the hurtful/rude things that have come your way. My sister went the adoption route and had plenty of ridiculous things said/asked of her and her husband... Ugh! Know that I'm thinking of you♥♥♥ :)

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  30. This is so perfect! I have a close friend also dealing with this, and it amazes me how sometimes people just don't think of what comes out of their mouths. Your tips were great!

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  31. This is great advice to help with awareness! Sometimes people make the situation worse with the words they choose as opposed to offering support and comfort.

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  32. Just reading these is getting me all worked up, I'm so sorry you have to deal with this in person! I would probably punch people after a while haha. The WORST is people telling you to not stress or just relax (about any situation), it just makes me more angry!

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  33. Yes to all of these! My husband and I struggled with infertility for 7 years and these are things that would drive me crazy.

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  34. I'm so sorry that you've had to deal with stupidity like this, it's so ridiculous when people try to pry or give "advice". I'm sending you many hugs and prayers for you and MG!

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  35. We struggled for years to conceive and I thought that adoption would be our only option. I have tried IVF, and had 2 failed rounds, it was too expensive so we needed to check other options. Adoption costs a lot of money too. Tried different fertility treatments and medications. One day, I was searching on what to do to get pregnant and i saw a testimony share by Sandra Adams in Brooklyn NY, USA on how she got help to have a baby of her own today she now live a happy life with her husband and she also pregnant again and i quickly contacted the email and number wrote which is dr.osasogbesherbalhome@gmail.com and +2348148824524 now am pregnant after doing what this man ask me to do and the instruction he gave to me, am now 7months pregnant after 8years of marriage am so so happy and if you are out there having this similar problem quickly contact him now for your help.
    (WHATSAPP ONLY: You can also whatsapp him via +2348112252378) (CALLS ONLY: call him on +2348148824524).

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  36. Still praying for you on this! :) Sometimes people say silly things because they don't really know what to say, and I would hope that they are never intentional with their inappropriateness. I completely agree though that the best thing people can do is listen and support.

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  37. Thank you for this. There are a lot of women who are going through this journey and it helps others to better understand and how to approach it.

    Ashley
    acutelifestyle.blogspot.com

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  38. I think sometimes people say awkward things because they really don't know what to say or they have never dealt with the same things before- but you're right, it doesn't make things easier on your end! Just listening is sometimes the best way to go. I know many people struggling with infertility right now and you guys are always in my prayers! -xx Leah || Chasing Texas

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  39. Praying for you this morning, sweet girl. God's timing can be so frustrating, praying for peace and for God to hold you close to Him during this emotional and exhausting time. Trusting in Him and His ability to do all things! You're inspring and I know this post touched more people than you realize! Xx

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  40. Oh sweet lady, although I have struggled with recurrent miscarriage instead of infertility, there is so much overlap here. Especially with ASK! The week after a miscarriage, everyone wants to be your best friend and get all the deets. What I notice is the people who are STILL asking me how I'm doing a month or two later. Never asking intrusive questions out of morbid curiosity, but just how I am. I even more appreciate when people ask my husband how he is. He's going through it, too.

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  41. sometimes i get really mad at past me because she said some really stupid things.. i was young and had no idea about all the people who have issues, etc etc. now that i am older, i know better, and i hope to never offend anyone again. i can't even imagine. but thank you for sharing what we can do, because i am sure we all know at least 1 person who is going through something like this and we can only hope to be there for them and support them :)

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  42. Sending prayers! I know EXACTLY how you feel. I don't know your situation but after 2 years of infertility and struggles.. I got pregnant with TWINS! Less than 7% chance of having multiples and only 20% chance of getting pregnant with our treatment option (least expensive and invasive). So it can happen! Keep the faith and ignore all those annoying people! Believe me.. I remember wanting to slap people on a daily basis! Ha! Sending thoughts.. prayers.. and baby dust!!!

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  43. Thank you for sharing this! I know exactly how you feel. We've been dealing with this for going on two years with a recent loss. I don't talk about it much, but people really don't know how to respond and when they do, it often leaves me feeling worse even though I know they mean well. It's so easy to say God's timing is perfect (and it know it is), but it's hard to always live that way when you're dealing with infertility. Prayers for you!

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  44. Sending prayers to you and your husband as you begin this journey! What great advice to share with all of us too. Xo, Stephanie

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  45. So very true. I remember hearing it only took 3 months to get pregnant...I know how you feel. No you don't. Making a baby does become unromantic and it is tough on anyone and for people to say the things they say, it just hurts. I really hope everything works out for you two. I would love to hear what you guys are going to do (your plan) if you are open to talking about it. We did meds, opks, IUI, fertility tests, etc. Thank you for sharing what you have already.

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  46. This is a great post (although I'm sorry you had to write it. People are insensitive on so many levels). We're going through the same thing over here... woke up at 2am today for a trigger shot. So sexy. Not. And I swear I've held back from punching people who tell me to relax. Thank goodness for a supportive husband (and chocolate). -Rachel

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  47. This is seriously a wonderful post, but it is SO annoying when people try to offer advice on things they don't understand. xo, Champagne&Suburbs

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  48. Prayers for you from one infertile girl to another (9 years and counting for me). I'm just throwing this out there because it really helped me medically: NaproTechnology. (I'll put the links at the bottom :) It really found all of my underlying conditions so now I have normal cycles and am healthy again. I just wanted to share in case it could help you too. We're all in this together, right?!

    As an adoptive mom of 3, all 3 of my children are "my own". I'm not saying this in an angry tone at all. Just along the same lines as your post above (so please don't take this the wrong way :), it's something not to say to adoptive families. They are very much "my own" children even though we don't share the same DNA. Can you imagine being an adoptee and hearing someone say, "Why didn't you have your own children?" (which we get all the time). We're their real parents, and they're our real children. Love makes a family, not genes!

    I'm so sorry you have to go through this. My heart breaks every time I see another woman struggling with infertility. I have the same cross so I know how awful it really is. I'll be praying for God's will for you and how to build your family. Hugs :)

    Jessica, Sweet Little Ones

    http://www.naprotechnology.com/
    http://www.popepaulvi.com/about.php

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