How To Talk To Someone Who Is Struggling With Infertility
My husband and I haven't been super public with our current situation, but a handful of people know, so we have had some really great and some truly terrible conversations about this whole baby-making process. It's not a fun topic by any means, but here are my do's and don't's for these conversations.
- •Do not say: "Well, I know it'll happen for you someday! It will!"I appreciate the sentiment, but you don't actually know that. Maybe we won't ever be able to conceive. Maybe we'll adopt. Maybe we'll be a family of two. But to say that you're so sure it will happen just reminds me of how unsure I am, and God knows I think about that enough without additional reminders.
- •Do not say: "Are you the one that's the problem or is it your husband?"Oh here, let me give you all of my medical records to peruse 😡That is just the worst thing to say. Also, I feel like there is way more judgment when there are male fertility issues present (thanks, society) and it's absolutely not anyone's business.
- •Do say: "This sucks. I'm sorry you're going through this."It's similar to when someone passes away; just acknowledging that the situation is terrible and you feel bad for me goes along way.
- •Do not say: "You can just adopt!"That's a super personal decision that you absolutely cannot be casual about at all. Also, do you have a spare $30,000 lying around to fund that adoption? Didn't think so. While adoption is great for some people, it's not some sort of infertility band-aid.
- •Do be mindful of invitations to baby showers, gender reveal parties 🤢, and kids' birthday partiesYou should still invite the person, because nothing is worse than your friends/loved ones opting you out of things before you even get a choice. For some people, it's too hard to be around these baby parties, and they'll decline the invite. For other people, it gives them hope or it can be a nice distraction. Give them the choice; they already feel isolated enough, don't pile it on even more.
- •Do not say: "My friend's sister's hairdresser's tarot card reader's optometrist was struggling to get pregnant but then she did X and it worked!"Thanks, Dr. Phil. People with infertility see specialists who (hopefully) know what they are doing and have medical training/studies/knowledge to back up those choices. I'm not interested in your distant acquaintance's weird-ass bedroom habits.
- •Do say: "How are treatments going?"Only do this if they have already told you personally about their struggles. Be receptive to their answer; if they change the subject, don't press for more. But sometimes I do want to talk about those things but I feel bad bringing it up in case the person doesn't care or feels uncomfortable, and all I want is a "How are you holding up?"
- •Do not say: "Just relax and it will happen!"Go fuck yourself. Would you say this to someone with a broken leg? Or with cancer? Only if you're a damn fool. Infertility is a disease and it's shitty and treating people like it's their fault for not doing something right is completely abhorrent.