Infertility Etiquette and Other Suggestions

October 22 2015

Infertility sucks. We struggled some with infertility before conceiving our son. At the time, it felt like a major battle, but as I reflect, a few doses of medication and some shots were really a drop in the bucket.

Then, for nearly two years we went through an even tougher journey as we tried to conceive #2. As an educator, I was reminded of children constantly. I saw parents that frankly never appreciated the blessings they were given, and I felt fury. Friends and acquaintances would ask innocent questions that cut me to. the. core. Yes, we wanted our son to have a sibling. Yes, I was aware we should “probably get on that.”

Ouch. Secondary infertility was awful. When I finally broke and started saying, “We’ve been struggling with infertility” one of two things usually happened. 1) The inquirer felt immediate remorse and slinked away 2) I heard the cringe-worthy words “well, at least you have your son.” Yep, I certainly did. I love him to pieces. But those words made me feel guilty for wanting more. Since it wasn’t happening naturally, I felt like I was ungrateful for wanting more.

The biggest thing I learned from our battle with infertility is that we were NOT unique. Our story is mild in comparison to many couples I know. There is so much heartbreak out there for the couples struggling daily with infertility. I am now pregnant with the help of modern medicine and God, but I still have a mindset of an infertile woman. I do not forget where I have come from.

I really wasn’t sure what to write when I found out I won, but today one of my dearest friends found out that her best hope for conception was IVF or adoption. Infertility is always on my mind.

I leave you with a few suggestions. The first is to stop and think before you speak-particularly in the case of infertility.

Avoid saying:

1) You can adopt/do IVF. --- Did you know this is outrageously expensive and not always successful? Yes, adoption too.

2) Relax and it’ll happen when you least expect it. --- Trust me, my thickened uterine lining and reproductive system failing to ovulate were not remedied by a good massage.

3) If it’s meant to be, God will make it happen. --- I fully believe God is the reason we did conceive, but when you say this it makes us feel like God doesn’t find us worthy to conceive. Then we start thinking about all the negligent parents out there who did…

Try this instead:
1) Lend an ear. Listen to your friend and let them know that you are always there for them. Give them a hug.

2) Remember them on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Those holidays hurt the aching, longing hearts. A simple text is sufficient.

3) Show that you are interested. Do some research on infertility. Offer to attend a difficult appointment or watch their other child/children.

The last thing I will say is to “always be a little kinder than necessary” (J.M. Barrie). It doesn’t have to be infertility, guys. People are struggling every single day. Each person is fighting a battle that you may know nothing about. What I do know is that if you were to hear each person’s struggle, your response to their actions might be different. Take a moment to inquire about someone’s day and offer a smile. We can all use a bit more of that in our lives.

Tell me your story or let me know what you think at [email protected]

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