I've talked about what I've learned from PCOS, some good, some bad, but today I thought I'd share some things I've heard.
Everyone has an opinion, and nine times out of ten they are trying to be helpful, or offering advice. However, the following are a few things you might want to steer clear of when talking to someone dealing with infertility. (Also, I feel like I shouldn't have to say this but I guarantee if I don't someone will email me about it. This post is not directed at anyone in particular - it's simply a compilation of things I've heard over and over again).
1. Just relax, it will happen. Saying this to someone going through infertility should be an automatic punch in the face. Okay not really, but come on! I understand the sentiment, but this is the least helpful advice out there - so much that I just laugh when I hear it.
2. There's a plan for everything. A lot of times this is comforting - but mid-rant about the despair you're feeling, it comes off more as a way to just fill the space with words. It's better to simply listen.
3. I was afraid to tell you I was pregnant. This one breaks my heart every time. No one should have to be worried to share this news. One of the biggest things I struggle with is trying not to treat myself differently and I want the same from you. Just because I'm not pregnant doesn't mean you can't be - I want to celebrate with you!
4. Why don't you just adopt? This often follows a conversation about different fertility treatments. It's like people think going through the adoption process would be less emotional, or not as hard, when that couldn't be further from the truth. Adoption is an amazing choice, and I hate hearing it relegated to a "have to" mentality.
5. When are you two going to have kids? Oh yes, this still happens - typically from strangers. (I talk about our struggles enough that if you are in my life and don't know what's going on you must be living under a rock). I've ranted before about how obnoxious this question is and it's because you never know what someone's going through. To a couple who have been trying, or want to have a family, this question can make them feel ashamed and upset all over again that it hasn't happened yet.
Here are a few things to try instead:
1. This sucks. I'm a fan of inserting an expletive, but even hearing an acknowledgment the situation is not what anyone wishes for can help a lot.
2. I don't know what to say. It's okay to admit this. It's pretty easy to assume the man/woman/couple in this situation doesn't know what to say either - and it kind of levels the playing field. You don't have to feel like you need to solve the problem and the person you're talking to knows it's okay to just vent.
3. I'm here to listen. Please please please only say this if you mean you will truly listen. Sometimes crying or venting is necessary and it's a natural inclination to want to suggest solutions or try to make that person feel better, but a patient ear goes a long way.
I think there are these kinds of sayings or questions no matter where you are in your life. What ones have you encountered?
(Psst - the 12 Days of Letter Writing is still going strong! Hop over to the More Love Letters blog to read the request for Winnie and to script her a letter!)