Based on the comments and messages I’ve received over the past few days, my previous post obviously touched on subject matter that while quite sensitive, deserves much more attention and awareness.
Therefore, I decided it was time to write a post with a few things that should never be said to married couples. These are appropriate for both couples you know are trying to have a baby and for those you aren’t quite sure about. I really should let my friend, and former college roommate, Amy write this post. It would definitely be a lot funnier. And a whole lot more sarcastic. 😉 We were talking about this subject matter a few years back (sidebar- she and her husband do not want to have children, but are constantly asked when they are going to have kids) and she decided we should co-write a book on the topic. Amy came up with the witty and hilarious title of: Please Exit My Uterus; A Guide to Minding Your Own Business. I feel confident it would be a best-seller. If you did not laugh at that title, then you should probably stop reading at this point. I am going to try not to come off as rude or offensive in my rules below, but I am also going to be brutally honest. I’ll try to do so in as lighthearted and funny manner as possible, but you never know how people perceive tone in the written word.
That being said, I have one more thing to share before we get started. And I’m pretty much going to be more brutally honest than funny for a minute. I have been on the receiving end of all the following comments. I’m sure they were said with the best of intentions and never thought to be hurtful by the one’s speaking them. But even so, they were like daggers to my heart. I don’t say that to make you feel bad or because I want an apology. Although some of you have come to me over the past year because you’ve realized things you said, and I do appreciate that. As for the rest of you, please don’t feel obligated to do the same. I just don’t want you to ever say those things again. To anyone. Ever. I should also add that before going through infertility, I said some of the same things to people. Then when I experienced the comments firsthand, I wanted to kick myself for being such a moron.
So without further ado, What Not To Say:
1. For the love of all that is pure and holy, stop asking couples (especially the women) when they are going to have children. Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for two months or two years, this question makes the person you asked want to punch you in the face. We all know the rule about assumption, but in this case it’s safe to assume that all married couples are going to try to have children at some point. Especially if the couple is getting older, have been married more than a year and have stated at some point and time that they want children. (This also comes in handy for folks like my friend Amy who don’t want kids. I actually have several friends with no intentions or desires to have children and that’s ok. Please leave them alone too).
2. For couples you know having difficulty getting pregnant, please don’t ever tell them to relax. Or go on vacation. There was a whole year between the two years of us actively trying to get pregnant and starting the adoption process, and I would say we were pretty relaxed. We still didn’t get pregnant. We’ve also been on about 8 vacations in the last four years. And we’re still not pregnant. That advice is useless, so stop handing it out like candy.
3. You need to try harder. Ok, so this wasn’t actually said to us. But something along those lines was said to some friends of ours who went through an even rougher bout with infertility than we did. I’m not even sure what it means to try harder. Trust me when I say, married couples that want a baby more than anything in the world are doing all they can to get pregnant.
4. Once you stop trying, it will happen. Again, what does this even mean? In case you’re not sure, there has to be some form of trying involved in order to conceive a child. And if “stop trying” means to stop thinking/obsessing over getting pregnant, well you can just give it up. That would be like telling a crack addict not to think about where his next fix was coming from.
5. It’s all in God’s timing and/or God has a plan. While those are true statements, it’s sometimes the last thing you want to hear. I realize that probably sounds very un-Christian like, but it is what it is. This rule can be applied to numerous situations; divorce/separation, cancer, job loss, adoption, etc. Sometimes people just want you to listen to their struggles without offering any advice. And sometimes folks don’t want to talk about it all and that’s ok too.
Those are the main comments we’ve heard more times than I care to remember. Please do everyone you know a favor ,memorize this list and never again commit the transgression of breaking these rules from this day forward. If any more no-nos come to mind, I’ll be sure to write What Not To Say, Part 2.