Thank goodness John and I have a sense of humor. On a weekly basis I come home griping about the latest advice someone has given me concerning my body, my marriage, my future, etc. We always try to keep things in perspective and acknowledge that some of this advice really does come from a good place. (Although that doesn’t make it sting any less when I hear it.) I know that I’ve opened myself up to this unsolicited advice because of how public I’ve been throughout this process. And I haven’t changed my mind about that decision. Being transparent has supplied us with so much support and love, and we know this was the way our story was supposed to be told.
Some of the things that are said to us are beyond frustrating. We’ve created this list not as a personal attack on anyone. In fact, I highly doubt you (whoever you are) were the only person to have ever made that specific comment to us. We’ve created it with a sense of humor and as always with the idea that maybe we can learn from it. I know for a fact I’ve been insensitive to situations in the past. What makes us better is our willingness to hear each other out, and do better next time.
So here it goes…the list of unsolicited advice society gives to couples struggling with infertility.
- Are you sure you want this? (as a parent points to their kid who is currently acting like a deranged maniac) We know parenting will be the hardest thing we ever do. We also know we’ll be strict as heck, and our kids will still act crazy sometimes. And hell yes. We want this more than you’ll ever know, but we appreciate you second guessing the time, money, and emotional hell we’ve gone through to try to get there.
- What about adoption? John always says, “adoption?” like he’s hearing the word for the first time. (He’s not.) I think the thing that irks me the most about that comment is that 99% of the people who say it to us have never been through the adoption process themselves. It’s like because my body isn’t working correctly, the weight of saving those children in the system falls on women like me. I respect people that foster or adopt so much, but I never want to feel forced into it. It may be a decision we come to someday, but we are only six months into this journey and have no answers so far. Adoption is extensive and expensive, and we aren’t taking that decision lightly. Would it be crazy if we ended this journey with no children at all though? I need my family and friends to be open to that possibility.
- At least you’re getting to have fun making a baby! Insert so many eye rolls here. Peeing on a stick every single day is not sexy. Having to mark your calendar with every change in your body isn’t either. The stress of doctor bills, medications, and planning your whole life around windows of opportunity is overwhelming. And it’s just so fun doing this thing over and over knowing that it isn’t working. Thrilling.
- Well we had to try for x amount of time. One year is how much time Johns Hopkins defines infertility. When you tell us how you had to try for a few months with no added medication, no lab work, and for such a short time, it’s a complete slap in the face. I wouldn’t wish this wait on anyone. We don’t need you to be on this side of the fence with us. We need you to reach across and hold our hand. That’s enough.
- Have you tried _________. We’ve heard about clean diets, essential oils, strict sex schedules, and so many other things that may or may not be scientifically relevant to our situation. I think a lot of factors go into conception, so it’s great if one or more of those things helped you in some way. But let’s say it turns out I have a blocked tube. The keto diet wouldn’t have worked that out for me guys. I know your hearts are in the right place, but let’s not oversimplify things here.
- Just stop stressing, and it will happen for you. We’ve been together almost ten years. I promise we haven’t been stressed the whole time. Also, it’s hard not to be stressed when you’re spending thousands of dollars and constantly laying in a doctor’s office. Again if there’s a medical explanation to what’s happening then removing the stress wouldn’t really help. We try to stay positive, and we keep things in perspective. You telling me not to stress makes me stress though FYI.
- You will get pregnant. We are very realistic about this whole thing, and we know that in the end we may not be able to have children. It doesn’t have to be part of a bigger plan or even an explained medical condition in the end. In fact, maybe nothing will work, and maybe there will be no explanation at all. We’ve accepted that, and we need you too as well. It will be really devastating, but we will get through it. And you’ll help us.
- Asking about our situation when it obviously makes you uncomfortable. You owe us nothing. Seriously. I’ve chosen to broadcast this whole thing, but that puts zero moral obligation on you to ask about it. I can always tell who these people are because they ask about things, and then they quickly move on to any other topic. John and I are still human beings living our normal lives. We’ve traveled, attended events with family and friends, put effort into our careers…life is still moving forward. We can talk about anything besides this whole fertility thing if you’d like.
I recently read a girl’s post online where someone had basically cut her out of her life because they felt like they had to walk on eggshells to keep her happy through this whole thing. Maybe that’s what I’m becoming. Maybe I’m making you all walk on egg shells. I’m sorry.
We are all learning in this journey. So few people talk about the struggle in the midst of it making it difficult to navigate whether I’m being realistic or not. There’s no standard on how to deal with people who can’t have babies.
At the end of the day, you’re not wrong, and I’m not either. I feel things about this, and you feel things about this. I’m just processing the feelings as they come. I know you don’t set out to hurt us when you make those comments, and I hope you know that we never want to hurt you in our responses. But the hurt is there, and that’s just part of the journey. We hope to be back with better news and less criticism soon. We are still in the two week wait for those of you keeping up.