Dec 18, 2011

Etiquette - such a strange word to spell and say

Infertility EtiquetteBecause of recent events I have decided to dedicate this post to things to avoid doing or saying to an infertile woman. 

1. Just relax - yea, because relaxing will cure her endometrosis, pcos, or make her husband's sperm swim. Please don't minimize the situation and I'll try my hardest to not minimize yours. We are all fighting our own battles. 

2. But you're soooo young! - Infertility doesn't care how old you are and it's definitely one of those things that doesn't get better with age. I sometimes think I can hear my eggs and ute shriveling up...might just be gas though. 

3. You should just adopt, then you'll get pregnant! - this is incredibly rare and condescending and please don't minimize the huge emotional and financial risks of adoption. That's a whole 'nuther can of worms. And did you know that of the people who DO decide to go this route, only ~5% of them end up becoming pregnant on their own? 

4. You should just adopt. - Oh, you mean that because of my barren ute, I am less worthy of the entire parenting experience? Is that what you meant? Because that's how it can come across, especially to a woman who may or may not be pumped full of synthetic hormones and ready to esssploooode with emotional rage. You're welcome in advance for that warning :) Adoption is a wonderful family building option (one that Mr. Slick and I have always planned on pursuing, even before our IF diagnosis) but it's not for everyone. Respect that, yo.

5. You should just enjoy your life as is! You get to sleep in late, don't have to save for college funds, don't have to deal with morning sickness or stretch marks! You're the lucky one! - Bish please. I'd trade places with you in a minute. Please do not take for granted the wonderful gift you have been given. And while we're at it, don't offer me your kids in a humorous way..."Wanna borrow mine? They drive me nuts!"...I may take you up on this offer and then run away to Mexico. Kidding...kind of. 

6. Maybe God doesn't want you to be a mother/parent or God will give you a baby when he thinks you're ready. - This one is the most hurtful to me personally and it's the one I hear the most often. Please don't let your infertile friends think that God is punishing them for some unknown sin and that they think crack whores and child molesters are better parental candidates than them - yep, because that's what I think when you tell me this. You are basically saying that God allows people like that, people in awful positions to become parents, people who beat and abuse their children are more worthy than I am to become a parent. I know you don't mean it that way, but that's the way it can, and does get interpreted. 

7. There are worse things in life. - Yes, there are. But why don't you just go shove it. And remember this advice the next time you find yourself feeling hopeless and worthless. Oh, and you better believe the next time you complain to me about anything you'll get this response riiight back. 

8. Oh wow, I would never pursue treatments, it's like playing God. - Unless you've been in this position, you don't have room to judge. And since you're throwing in the God card, you shouldn't be judging anyway. And if it were like playing God, then I would already be pregnant. My wonderful RE has created three wonderful opportunities for me to get pregnant and I still didn't. How is that playing God? 

9. Ya need a sperm donor?? ::waggles eyebrows:: - I haven't had anyone offer this but someone I know has. Unless you KNOW that they will understand this is a joke, please steer clear. For the record, I probably would have laughed in your face had I been propositioned to be sperminated by someone. 

10. Remember your audience while complaining about your pregnancy symptoms or children. - I don't have personal experience with pregnancy or children (besides my students) but I'm sure some things are downright miserable sometimes. Just remember, someone would trade places with you in a heartbeat if possible. That doesn't mean never complain, that just means if I just had another failed cycle don't say to me, "Well, at least you don't have to deal with this awful morning sickness and back pain, ugh!" And, yes, someone DID say that to me. 

This to do/say: 

1. I'm sorry. 
2. Give a hug. 
3. Share your good news, we're still capable of being happy for you! Even if sad for ourselves. 
4. Ask how they would like to hear your news of pregnancy (if there's a possibility you'll get pregnant first).
5. Remember the mother's of lost babies on Mother's Day. Even if they didn't get their take home baby that doesn't make them less of a mother (this applies to Father's Day also!). 
6. Support their decisions to start/stop treatments. 
7. Oh, and you can't go wrong with chocolate and pedicures. 


  1. I'm sorry for all the dumb things people have said to you. I recently wrote about things not to say to someone whose spouse is deployed. I get similarly ignorant comments at times. Hang in there. I'm praying for you!*

  2. Thanks Amy!

    You mean you don't want to hear, "Man, it must be nice to have him out of your hair most of the year!" and little gems like that?

    ;) Kidding! And thank you to your husband and you for all that y'all do!

  3. Oh man, I remember all of these when I was going through fertility! It was awful! Hugs to you! Such a great website, wish it was around years ago!