Mar 29, 2012

Struggling With What to Say

I spent HOURS writing this post the first time and it was one of my favorite posts I had written. I am not sure what happened to the content of this post (published yesterday) but now it is just a title with no content. Oh blogger!  My attempt to recreate is below:

Since "coming out of the infertility closet" over the past few months to friends and family and to all of the interwebs this past week, I have received hundreds of e-mails, facebook messages, texts, phone calls, and comments. All of your well wishes and support are really appreciated (so please keep them coming!) I am working hard to take all of the comments in the well-meaning spirit they were intended. But you should know that some of the things you say don't come across the way you mean them.

A few things not to say to me (or any other infertile myrtle you may know):

1. Just Relax.
We tried relaxing. We (obviously) started trying to conceive thinking it would happen for us any month. We enjoyed each other’s company and knew it would happen when it was supposed to happen. And then the months ticked by. And still not pregnant. At that point we stopped just relaxing and sought medical advice. It turns out we have a medically documented problem. You wouldn't tell someone with pneumonia to relax, you would advise them to seek medical attention and follow the instructions of a doctor. Relaxation is not going to magically make us parents. Telling me to "just relax" has the opposite effect -- and well-meaners who say this need to know that infertility is a medical problem with medical treatments. Relaxation isn't one of them.

 2. Get drunk.
I understand that Sally got pregnant one drunken night in college. I agree that LOTS of babies are conceived on NYE when people are drunk. BUT it isn't the drinking making people pregnant. A quick biology lesson: alcohol doesn't make people pregnant. It takes bit more action than that.

3. Go on vacation.
I don't understand this little piece of well-meaning advice. Maybe people need a more specific biology lesson. There are only a few days a month a woman can get pregnant. Conception requires ovulation. There is absolutely nothing miraculous about the Caribbean. Sitting on a beautiful (and relaxing – haha) beach doesn’t cause a woman to magically ovulate every day. If you want to test out this theory, Casey and I are accepting all-expense paid vacations to the location of your choice. We’ll see how it works for us!

4. You should just stop trying.
Mary might tell everyone she got pregnant as soon as she stopped trying. But I promise, she was still trying. Back to that basic biology lesson….

5. Have you tried.....
  • Having sex? Ohmygoodness! Why didn’t I think of that?
  • This herb? No. I’m taking the medications my doctor gives me. (although we have tried a few homeopathic solutions)
  • That medication? No. See above. I’m taking the medications from my doctor. The one who spent years in medical schools. And has a specialty in infertility.
  • Cough medicine? I don’t have a cough…. But as soon as I do I’ll take some Robitussin.
  • Using an egg? You want me to put an egg WHERE? Ugh Gross! No. Just No.
  • Whole grains? Yes. I eat no simple carbs and very few sugars. I lost weight, but didn’t get pregnant. Sadly, all of these fertility medicines have put all of that weight (plus some) right back on.
  • Acupuncture? Yes. Never again. Never again. I really dislike needles. It’s one thing to shoot myself with drugs. It’s another to sit and “just relax” for 30 minutes with needles sticking out of my forehead.
  • Massages? Yes. But if you want to say this, loudly, in front of Casey I’d appreciate it. I don’t think it will get me pregnant, but it would be nice to do that every week.
  • Chiropractor? Why?
  • Handstands? Have you met me? I don’t have that kind of coordination! And – there is NO medical evidence that holding your legs above your head does anything to aid in conception.
6. Just adopt and then it will happen.

This comment is wrong and insulting on so many levels I don’t even know where to begin. Actually I do.

My best friend and MOH was adopted and the bond she has with her parents in incredible. In every way that matters, she is their daughter. That family has been bound together by God.  When a child is adopted (s)he becomes a part of a new family.  If the path God is leading us towards is adoption I have absolutely no doubt that it will be a glorious blessing.  That adopted child will be the perfect addition to our family and the perfect expression of our love.  (S)he will be loved.  Cherished. Desired.  Perfect.  To tell us that if we "just adopt" we'll get pregnant is to diminish that blessing.  It makes adoption sound like a second best option.  It isn't.  Adoption is a blessing.  It isn't a second choice.

In fact, if adoption weren't so gosh darn expensive we might be traveling that path now.  But, adoption is $30,000+.  Infertility treatments are covered by insurance and so cost a whole lot less. 

 7. It will happen in God's time.
I know that this is true.  I know that God has a plan for us.  I know His plan is greatest.  I know His plan is everything that I need.  I know that God knows what Casey and I need.  He knows the greatest desires of our hearts.  He loves us and hears our cries.  But, I don't know if God's plan includes children.  I don't know if God wants us to go forward with treatment or start saving pennies for adoption.  I don't know what God's time is.  I know these words are meant well.  I know the words are true.  But unless Gabriel appeared before you and gave you a date and a specific message for Casey and I, these words aren't comforting.  At all.

8. (My favorite) If you just enjoyed sex more...
If anyone ever says this to me, I am now prepared with a detailed answer.  I will give you more information than you ever wanted to know.  I will make up details to make sure you are uncomfortable as I am. 

So a few suggestions as to what to say:

1.  I'm praying for you.
But actually pray.  We welcome your prayers.  We believe in a God who answers prayers and who values persistence.  More voices speaking on our behalf can only be a good thing.  God is great!  God listens!  And we would love your voice added to our chorus.

2.  I love you.  I support you.
Casey and I are making medical choices that make a lot of people uncomfortable.  And the choices aren't getting easier.  You might not agree with the steps we are taking.  Please don't tell us that.  We have spent hours in prayer and reflection getting to the point we are at.  None of these decisions have come easy for us, but they are choices we have made.  We are pursuing medical intervention.  Tell us you love us.  Tell us you support us. 

3.  Nothing.
Sometimes the greatest thing you can do is be there.  There will be tears.  There will be heartache.  We will want to vent.  We might want to be distracted.  Instead of talking and offering advice, just be there for us.  Listen to us.  Hold us.  Hug us.  Love us.


  1. So true on all of these!!! I have tried most everything you listed above... Mucinex (cough syrup), whole grains only (no refinesd sugar), massages, vacations, and I have us both taking a handful of vitamins everyday. Not sure what the egg thing is about- sounds like I don't want to know!

  2. We are praying for you both (really)! - Charles & Lauren

  3. You know, I felt the same way after we announced the miscarriage. A lot of "God has a plan," "It just wasn't the time," "It'll come soon," "Maybe you weren't ready yet."
    Well-meaning, but backhanded comments nonetheless.

    There was one doozy, though: Someone said, "it's a sign that you should be doing something else with your life right now."
    Uh, what's "something else" more important than wanting to be a mommy? -_-

    I totally understand where you're coming from with this post.. Even though we're not having the same emotional journey, I think they share similarities. Thinking and praying for you guys. ((hugs))

    xoxo, Kim

  4. Amen. People said some of the dumbest and most hurtful things to me when we were trying to get pregnant. My favorite...just relax. Relax my butt; why is everyone getting pregnant and I'm not? I wish I could tell you something comforting, but there is nothing to be said. I just want you to know that I'm thinking and praying for you. We're in the same boat again, and it's still hard.

    Your blog is an amazing thing; it brought me to tears.

  5. Amen. People said some of the dumbest things to me while we were trying to get pregnant. My favorite was "Just Relax" or "we weren't even trying to get just happened." I did and still do want to punch those people in the face.

    I wish I could tell you something comforting, but there is nothing to be said. You will be a mom and that is all that matters...the journey to get there will be a bit of a mystery.

    Thinking and praying for yall. This blog is an amazing thing; it brought me to tears.