As you know from my previous post as well as from my feeds on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, that my husband and I are working through an infertility journey. We have been trying for a baby for two years now and have been rather open about it. Our entire family knows we are trying as well as most of our friends.
When people learn that you are trying to have a baby, they almost instantly want to offer some kind of advice. Some of what they say is helpful while some…not so much. But we smile and nod and remember it for later on. If a person isn’t offering advice, they are making comments about our choices. For my husband and I, the most common comment was, “Well, it’s about time!!”. There isn’t much I can say in response. Yes, we waited. But we had good reason and it really isn’t of their concern.
We have been on this journey for so long now that we have had many conversations with family and friends that TTC and infertility do eventually come up. In these conversations, things have been said to us that really just rubbed is the wrong way. This post will give you a list of things that you just do NOT say so someone who is trying for a baby or is struggling with infertility.
If you are a friend or family member and are reading this, do not worry if you may have hurt our feelings, offended us, or bothered us in any way. If you have said something that we felt crossed the line, one of us would have said something to you. I promise. Y’all should know me well enough to know I don’t really bite my tongue on much.
What NOT to say to People TTC
I didn’t even know you wanted kids
We had some family members throw this out at us and we just stood there in shock. Yes, we have been married for a while, but we ALWAYS talked about how much we wanted children in the future. Just because we did not have a baby a year after marriage did not mean that we never wanted children.
Life happens and we did what we thought was best for our marriage and for our future children.
I have a couple of friends that flat out never want to have children. So, they just don’t understand the desire to start a family. So, when they ask why, I always just answer with, because I want to and be done with it.
We also have friends who have multiple kids, and they ask us that question in a more jokingly fashion. Like why? You will have to get up early on weekends for sports and have to feed them and play with them. IT NEVER ENDS!! Then they continue with, well the cuddles are pretty awesome. And hubby and I are like, “Yes, we want the cuddles!!!”
This piece of advice irritates me to no end. Oh, just relax and you will get pregnant. You know, if you stress out, it will impede on your chances to get pregnant. Thanks Linda, I already know that. But guess what, when I don’t track my cycles, I get more stressed out because I worry I missed my fertile window or did something wrong.
Just stop trying and it will happen
This is another version of just relax and it is really annoying.
I’ve also had people tell me to stop trying and just “make love” with my husband and all will fall into place. Well, Jim, if only it were that easy.
Why not just get a dog?
Well Martha, it’s funny you ask. We already have to dogs. We love them very much. Our fur babies are a part of our family and we will always have dogs in our house. But do you know what dogs aren’t? They aren’t children.
What NOT to say to People Struggling with Infertility
There’s always IVF
There are a lot of people who do not realize that IVF is actually a last resort type of procedure. It is also awfully expensive, not always covered by insurance, and procedures leading up to it are invasive. So, let’s not just instantly jump to IVF.
Also, morally, we are on the fence with IVF anyway. We believe life starts at conception. Learning that clinics will create and then freeze embryos makes me rather upset. What’s worse is that they will also throw them away!! So, if we are to look at IVF in the future, we will have to find someone who understands our beliefs and are also more ethical when it comes to the treatment of the embryos.
Well, have you tried…?
Listen, I am a reader, researcher, and worrier. If there is a book, article, or blog post to read about getting pregnant, it is likely that I have read it. We have tried different supplements, diets, and positions. Can’t say much else.
You could always adopt
Yes, we can always adopt. We talk all the time about adopting in the future. But just because we can adopt does not mean that we don’t want children of our own.
Well, *insert name* got pregnant so easily…
And I am so happy for her! That is great. But she is not me, plain and simple.
Are you taking your vitamins?
No Tina, I’m not doing the ONE thing that every single professional recommends. Goodness!!
You could have my kid
That’s called babysitting and is not even remotely the same as having a child of my own. I’m sorry you feel like you need a break, maybe you should talk with your spouse about that and plan a date night with a babysitter.
You’re still trying?!
Yes we are still trying. You would think that our desire to start a family will just go away? If anything, we want a baby more now than we ever have before.
Maybe you aren’t doing it right
*Stares deeply into their soul*
Someone actually said this to me and I just couldn’t come up with a response.
You’re so lucky, you get to have sex all the time!
Oh yeah, we are sooooo lucky.
My fertile window is only about five days long and I’m lucky to actually catch three of them. Then, with all the temperature checks, sticks to pee on and everything else that takes the romance away, we have to deal with the stress of performing well for the chance for a sperm to meet an egg finally.
There are cycles where this part of trying is so sterile like and becomes a chore. That’s the unfortunate truth right now.
It took me four months to get pregnant. I know EXACTLY how you feel
Wow a whole four months. That really must have been stressful for you. *eye roll*
I know that once you decide to actively start trying for a baby you want to be pregnant yesterday. But four months really isn’t that long. In fact, it is normal for most couples to take about six months to get pregnant.
It could be worse. You could have *insert disease*…
Oh, that is so true Samantha. I am lucky that I don’t have any other conditions. But don’t try to discredit my feelings because my struggle isn’t big enough of an issue in your eyes.
Everything is in God’s timing
This statement hits me a couple if different ways. I know everything happens in God’s timing and I have to just keep the faith and be okay with it. However, to be told that over and over again gets a little old especially when I have to remind myself of it over and over as it is.
But this phrase also makes me feel bad because I feel guilty for being so impatient about having a baby. Ever single time I feel down or depressed about our struggle, I get upset at myself for not trusting in the plan God has for me and I feel like I fail Him. I don’t like that I keep doing that, but yet here we are.
What TO Say to People TTC
That is so great to hear!!
When a couple announces that they are trying for a baby, this is the best way to react. If they are telling people, that means they are excited. It is also highly likely that they have talked about if for a while and really feel ready to start their family. This is not the time to try to talk them out of it for any reason.
If you have any questions, let me know
It is probably a good idea to not bombard the couple with unsolicited advice. They probably have a rough idea of what they need to do in the early days. But, let them know they have someone to talk to whenever they need it.
If you ever need to talk, I’m here
It is really good for couples TTC to have someone to lean on when times get stressful. They may or may not struggle with infertility, but it is a tough season for many couples.
What TO Say to People Struggling with Infertility
I’m sorry you’re having a hard time
Unless the person is actively asking you for advice, do not offer it right off the bat. It probably took a lot of effort to be able to openly talk about the fact they are struggling to conceive. They just need to vent and have someone to come to for some comfort. They are not looking for someone to fix the situation.
I’m here if you need to talk
Again, couples struggling to conceive do not necessarily always need advice. But this struggle can start to take its toll on them. They might start to feel isolated from friends and family because not many really know what they are going through. So, just to know that someone is there and willing to listen to them vent for a bit will be very helpful.
Hey! Let’s go get a pedicure and go out to lunch!
Because the infertility struggle can be so isolating sometimes, it would be great for a friend to call and offer a lunch date or pedicure appointment or anything that will get the person going through infertility out of the house for a bit and have a chance to relax for a couple of hours. For the men, inviting them over to watch the game or out for some kind of manly activity would do a world of good too.
Couples going through the infertility journey often find themselves cancelling on plans or declining invites for fear of becoming upset by something or boring people with baby and ttc talk. So, to have someone go out of their way to want to include them in something is so needed for many going through this struggle.
If you have a friend or loved one who has announced that they are trying to have a baby, or they are struggling to conceive, just keep in mind that some statements might not be as helpful as you think. The jokes are very likely not as funny as you think either. Each person and each couple are different, and it is really important that you understand that this can be an incredibly stressful and vulnerable time for them. Most wouldn’t want you to censor yourself around them. However, the couple would want their friends and family to really take their feelings into account when before offering advice, making jokes or statements about these topics.
What was the worst thing someone has said to you while you were ttc or going through infertility?