Chapter 5: What not to say

We try hard not to be overly sensitive. We understand that not everyone understands infertility. You may think you do. We also know that things that are hurtful can be said when people do not realize that they are in fact hurtful.

Here are the some of the worst things we have heard:

1)      Just relax, you will get pregnant

We have had in depth conversations with our fertility specialist. We trust his years of experience. When the specialist expedites your initial meeting because your results are so bleak he doesn’t want you to wait one more day to know the reality of your situation – that’s when you know you won’t get pregnant. When he sits you down and says, “You will never have children through traditional means” – that’s when you know you won’t get pregnant. This is not due to his opinion of our situation. This is the outcome of our test results. We grieve this every day and probably will for the rest of our lives. Please, we know you mean well, but implying that we will eventually get pregnant hurts. What if we never do? Stop saying it. We work every day to accept this reality. These words do nothing but break us down, remind us of what we don’t have and puts us right back where we don’t want to be – grieving. Instead, build us up.

2)      If you have enough faith you will get pregnant

Never, ever tell someone they don’t have enough faith.

One day in the depths of praying an overwhelming calm affirmed that it was time for us to grow our family. We faithfully acted upon that prompting. We had never felt that way before at any other point in the six previous years of our marriage.  We were supposed to start trying. Through faith, we know that this is how it is supposed to be for us. We have been placed in situations that have aligned us and prepared us for adoption. Faith brought us to adoption. It is part of His plan for us. We have faith in Him. Having faith is not limited to pregnancy and because pregnancy is not the way we are growing our family does not mean we are lacking it.

Never question our faith. It is insulting.

3)      You will probably get pregnant right after you adopt

Are you implying that adoption is a means to get pregnant? This isn’t what you’re implying – we know that – but can you see how it is inferred? This is commonly said, but is in fact a myth. There is no higher chance of us getting pregnant after adoption. Again, please see #1 to understand that this tears us down instead of building us up.

4)      What if [insert name] were to donate his sperm/her eggs?

If this was the route we had chosen for our family, we wouldn’t be trying to adopt. We would have come to you if we wanted your genetic assistance. But we didn’t. Why? Because we chose adoption. You may feel that you are being helpful in a situation that easily makes everyone feel helpless. Despite your good intentions, it hurts. Please assume we have researched all options and chosen what we feel is best for our family.

5)      I would gladly carry your baby for you if that’s the problem

Two points here: First, this is not the path we have chosen, so why bring it up? Second, you’re asking for specifics regarding our infertility. There are aspects we choose not to share because it is personal. Having a baby is personal. Your finances are personal. Adoption has taken a lot of that personal information and made it public. Please understand that if we can keep some aspect of our intimate life private, we will most likely choose to do so.

6)      Have you tried _________?

Oh the random wives-tales we have heard! What on earth. If you’re not a doctor, please, we appreciate your wanting to “help” but know that it does the opposite.

7)      I wonder what race of kid you’ll get

We can’t even begin – This one leaves us speechless. You might find it fun or even comical to fantasize or speculate as to what our future family will look like. We don’t find it funny. This is our family. Though we have not met our future children, we already love them and their race or ethnicity does not play a factor into our decision nor our ability to love. This is so personal to us. Whatever child God feels should be in our home we will graciously accept. It’s no laughing matter.

A very personal part of our life is now and forever public. In sharing this personal part of our lives we knew we would feel vulnerable and the risk of being hurt was high. Please try to put yourselves in our shoes. Would it bother you? Would it hurt if people kept bringing up the one thing – pregnancy and biological children – that you may never get to experience? Adoption is personal. Our family is personal. Handing out advice and opinions freely regarding issues that are very emotional and intimate is not something that should be done casually.

We love you all for supporting us. Please be mindful of what you say before you say it. The one thing you can always say to someone facing infertility is “I’m sorry.” That, and a hug, help so much more.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothin at all.