Monday, January 4, 2010

Say What? What Not to Say to the Fertility Challenged.

As I was telling a friend tonight, one of my resolutions for 2010 is to drop my filter and start telling people what I really think. Now, to explain myself, I should say that if I think what you’re telling me is wrong, or if I think that you’re just being obtuse, I will tell you that perhaps you are wrong or that perhaps I think you should stop being a tool. I will do this politely (the first time, at least) but I will be firm and stand up for myself. My intent isn’t to be a bitch and jump down the throat of everyone I meet. I just don’t want to be anything resembling a door mat anymore.

In that light, I need to rant. As you may know from my profile blurb, or from knowing me personally, I (with my husband) am trying to have a baby. Since there is no baby in evidence in our apartment, obviously, things on that front aren’t going as planned. I’m not going to go into all the gory details as to why this is but we are seeking medical help and it is all proving to be difficult, especially emotionally, for me.

So, that combined with my new resolve, brings us to my rant (the first of the year! Yay!). Today I rant about infertility and the stupid things that people have said to me, or others suffering the same, seemingly regardless of whether they know my situation or not. I post this rant for myself and also on behalf of all those suffering from infertility or secondary infertility. Dealing with this is hard enough without also having to deal with the stupidity, insensitivity and/or mindlessness of others.

To make this simple, I’m providing a list (oh, the list is so much longer!) of some of the things you shouldn’t say to someone who may be suffering from infertility. You don’t have to know for a fact that the person you’re talking to is having difficulty. If you suspect they are, or if you just flat out don’t know, please, err on the side of sensitivity and utter NONE of the following:

1. Just relax and you’ll get pregnant (Oh, is that how it works? Because you know, I was just so uptight during my partying 20’s)

2. Go get drunk one night! That’s what happened for me when I got pregnant! (Oh, is that how it works? Because you know, I was just so sober during my partying 20’s)

3. Go on holiday! We got pregnant on vacation! (Oh, is that how it works? Because you know, blah blah blah)

4. I read that male infertility is on the rise. (Um, thanks Dad. That was really helpful)

5. Have more sex. (Crap! We have to have sex?)

6. Have less sex. (Um, you know basic biology, right?)

7. Elevate your butt after sex. (Could you give me a degree of elevation? Because I’ve actually tried this and nada. Should I just hang myself upside down from the ceiling?)

8. You could always adopt. (Wow. Thanks. Sadly, I’m not Brangelina so I can’t just walk into a Third World country and buy a baby)

9. Your mother never had a problem getting pregnant. (Thanks again, Dad! Your advise has been invaluable!)

10. You’re thinking about it too much. Stop thinking about it and you’ll get pregnant. (Uh huh. So, if I have a lobotomy, remove my heart, and cease production of all hormones, I’ll get preggers.)

11. At least you can travel/go to movies/sleep in whenever you want (What’s that? You’re sorry you had children because now you can’t take that weekend trip to Vegas? Give your kids to me, you undeserving twat)

12. God has a plan and you have to accept it. (As an atheist, that holds zero weight with me. As far as I’m concerned, God might be the crazy cat lady that lives two doors over. Pretty sure she doesn’t have a ‘plan’ for me)

13. Maybe it’s not meant to be. (But crack whores and Britney are ‘meant’ to be parents? No, I do not accept that)

14. Why don’t you just try IVF/Surrogacy? (Gee, I hadn’t considered that those might be my options. Mind if I exhaust every other avenue first?)

15. Oh, geez! Morning sickness/extra weight/overheating is SO hard. Be glad you don’t have to deal with the pains of pregnancy! (Um, I would gladly rip off my own right arm to be in your position. Do you hear me? MY OWN RIGHT ARM!)

16. Maybe you’re not doing it (sex) right. Hahaha. (Oh, man! You are funny! Come a little I can punch you in the face.)

If you think that maybe this is too much for you to remember, or if you think that maybe you're not capable of making a judgement call for yourself about what should or should not be said to possibly infertile friends, please, by all means, copy and paste the above list. Put it into the word program of your choice and print it out. Share it with other socially inept friends! Laminate a small version for your wallet! I, and other fertility challenged couples will thank you.


MissAlana said...

I followed you from FF. I love your list. Very well said. lol

Anonymous said...

OMG That is the best list ever!!!! I wish everyone could read that. Those are the exact same things I keep hearing. Kudos!

ChilkootChubby said...

Have a cup of tea, it solves everything... or so I've heard :) Maybe Mr. Ranter needs to elevate his butt after sex?

The Happy Ranter said...

Ah, Chilkoot, thanks for adding a British touch to the list! A cup of could I possibly not get pregnant? :)

Sadly, Mr. Ranter hasn't the time to elevate his butt after sex because he has to fetch me things while I lay there on my pile of pillows and phonebooks and such things.

RDuke53 said...

Sweet. Alana found you, too!

Today my boss told me I'm trying too hard. TRYING TOO HARD?!?!?!?! I have yet to do anything with a turkey baster, so I don't think I'm trying TOO hard yet.

Oh, and have you heard this one? "They make these things you can pee on that tell you when to have sex. I used them and got pregnant that month!" Yeah, I've gone through more than 50 of those things and I'm about to order another hundred or so. Still not pregnant!


The Happy Ranter said...

Ha! Turkey're a hoot, Red :) And if I had a baby for every stick I've peed on, I'd be up to my neck in babies!!!

Anonymous said...

So I shouldn't come by your desk waving a magic wand? Cause I've heard that works! Man people are stupid. Ignorance is rampant! Rant on, girl!

spongeknuckles said...

I had a good laugh at the list, especially the violent outbursts. I must admit this is a topic that makes me a bit uncomfortable. Now we know what not to say, but what DO we say? Your speaking so candidly sure helps open the discussion.

Have you looked into Chinese medicine at all? I've dabbled with it since moving and there's a lot they know about that our Western docs don't.

RDuke53 said...

spongeknuckles- When in doubt, it's best to say nothing. Otherwise, don't minimize someone's pain. If you must say something, the best thing to say to someone like me is, "That sucks and it's unfair. I'll be thinking of you." PERIOD. Validate feelings and let us know you care. Don't offer suggestions. We've heard them all and then some. Acupuncture, alternative medicines, iridology, ovulation predictors... we know our fertile times, check our cervixes (what exactly is the plural of cervix?)and related fluids daily and we've even had sex once or twice. I've had sex more than twice, actually. It doesn't seem to work for me.

I will never EVER again ask a couple, "So, when are you going to have kids?" NEVER. You wouldn't believe the things said with good intentions that have had me in tears for days.

Anonymous said...

Well said Red. If I hear "Well honey, God has a plan for you" one more time, I swear, I will be able to plead temperary(sp?) insanity.

I think the "That sucks, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you." Is really along the lines of the best thing to say. Anything else can get you on a hit list.