Two Good Eggs

Two cracked eggs find the sunnyside (and funny side) of trying to conceive

Suggestion Box at Maximum Capacity

on November 16, 2012

Deciding how and to whom we open up about TTC and fertility problems, and how we will deal with the responses is a real and difficult part of struggling to conceive.

I’m a very open person. Yes, I understand that’s a bit ironic since I’m writing under a pseudonym. 🙂 I find comfort in conversation, but this topic has been a tricky one for me.  Like many women, talking it out makes me feel better, but for some odd reason people squirm, avert their eyes, and blurt a hackneyed phrase as soon as the words “We have been trying for a while” leave my lips.  It’s as though I have told them I’m growing a tail and will be featured in a Discovery Channel documentary with my new appendage. “Weird Science: Woman grows tail, but no baby.” It’s SO awkward. Why? Millions of couples are struggling with the same thing, but if you talk about it in real life, you’re quickly led to believe infertility is a rare, horrible condition and you’re served a fat platter of pity and poor suggestions. Thank goodness for the blogosphere to keep us sane and help us realize we’re not alone or (completely) crazy.

I appreciate the genuine, heartfelt suggestions and words of encouragement, but they can be easily lost in the giant pile of crap dealt out by the majority.  Just when I think it’s safe to bring it up, it backfires and I want to shove feet in everyone’s mouth, including my own. After nearly a year, I’ve learned the hard way to keep my lips zipped more often than not. It’s unfortunate, really.

When someone shares a job loss, death in the family, or serious problem in their life, the responses are generally sympathetic, despite the sensitive and unfortunate nature of the situation. We listen, take pause, and carefully craft a loving, albeit brief, response. We often hear or say:
I’m so sorry. What can I do to help?
I’m here for you, no matter what.
What do you need right now?
Will it help you if I give you some space or would you like to talk about it?
I love you and I know you’ll get through this.
You’re a very strong person, but lean on me as much as you need to.
Do you want to go somewhere and get your mind off things for a while?

Why is the topic of infertility not dealt with in a similar fashion? I think any of those responses would be received well by most men and women struggling with conception.

Now, lets talk infertility. You share your story or mention your struggle to a friend, coworker, or family member. What do you hear in response?

Have you heard any of these?

I’m sure it will happen soon. 

At least you can have fun trying. 

Ooooh, fertility treatments are expensive. If you can’t afford that, how do you plan to afford a child?

Maybe you’re just thinking about it too much.

Maybe you’re trying too many things. 

Sometimes it just takes a while. Be patient. 

Have you thought about changing your diet? Exercising? Relaxing?

You guys are young. I’m sure nothing’s wrong. 

Are you sure you want to have kids? 

Are you sure he wants to have kids?

Why is now a good time to have a baby? 

Your job is too stressful. 

You can’t plan your whole life around TTC. Let it happen naturally. 

Oh, that sucks.  Did you see Suzie’s new baby? So cute!

You know being a parent is going to change your life, right? 

I know how you feel. I had an abnormal pap once.  It was so scary. (WTF?!)

Ugh! WHY do people think this is a good next move??

You’re lucky. I totally wasn’t expecting this pregnancy. I’m so busy already. 

Some people try for years and years. Why are you so stressed already? How are you going to handle it a year from now if you’re still not pregnant?

It’ll be okay. One day. At least you can sleep now. You won’t later. 

You can have my kids!

 

WHAT?! Can you imagine a variation of these statements being offered to someone who lost a job or loved one? I’m not saying that death is the same thing as infertility, but there is a common emotional thread that runs through both. We experience a degree of sadness, denial, anger, frustration, emotional outburst, failure, stress, loneliness, and a sense of loss with infertility, death, and job loss. I wish others better understood the emotional correlation. I know who to lean on now, after much trial and error, but maybe if people were more delicate in their approach, I wouldn’t be so reluctant to speak up. Until that time comes, my suggestion box is at maximum capacity. I can’t take another “just get over it, no big deal” offering. I’m at my limit.

What are your thoughts? (My suggestion box is wide open to you guys!)

(I just said my box is wide open.)

(Thats what she said.)

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5 responses to “Suggestion Box at Maximum Capacity

  1. theauthoress says:

    Thank you for this! I think people have told me most of the things you have listed here. The worst, “You’re lucky. I totally wasn’t expecting this pregnancy. I’m so busy already. ” Well, actually they are all pretty bad 🙂

  2. Georgette says:

    Well, the mind is so powerful– just think positively and you’ll get pregnant!
    Have you tried prenatal yoga?
    Maybe you’re working out too much.
    At least you get to have a lot of fun trying!
    Why don’t you just adopt?
    Get a puppy, everyone gets pregnant then.
    and my all time favorite….
    Oh, will you become the Octomom then?

  3. Megan says:

    Things I’m tired of hearing:
    -Enjoy trying! It’s never this fun again!
    -We can’t understand God’s timing (or it’s cousin, God’s timing is perfect)
    -At least you know you can get pregnant (Right, we just don’t know if I can stay that way)
    -God didn’t take your baby from you, Satan did (for reals)
    -Just be patient and pray
    -This happens all the time

    What I would love to hear:
    -I’m sorry you’re going through this, I’m here for you, whatever you need
    -If you need to vent, I’m willing to listen
    -I love you and will stand by you, no matter what happens
    -What can I do to help you? What do you need?

  4. […] about the ridiculous things people say to you about having a baby.  Whether it’s the “helpful” advice about how to get past your infertility issues or the Spanish inquisition about why you […]

  5. amazingreych says:

    They just don’t understand us. Been TTC for a while and then when I got my very first BFP, found out that U had chemical pregnancy and people are like;
    1. at least you know you can conceive
    2. it doesn’t have a heart beat yet
    3. ohh so you had a false alarm ( i did show her the HPT to make her understand that it wasn’t a false alarm)
    4. You know most TTC always thinks they are pregnant, maybe you weren’t really PG.

    The 4th one stuck the most!

    When I was updating my cousins with my follicle monitoring, she even told me, so how’s crocodile eggs doing?

    Times like that, I just cry and try to understand them coz they are poppin kids anytime they like 😦

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