I just read a great article on infertility etiquette. It may sound strange…I mean, why do you need to “mind your manners” when talking to someone about infertility? Just ask anyone who had been trying to conceive for any length of time, and I’m sure they can explain!
I learned a couple of things the hard way.
1. Don’t continuously ask when someone is going to have children. My husband and I had a couple that we were close to and spent a lot of time with. They were a little younger than us, but not by much. We adored them and our children begged to spend time with them. Since my husband and I are both only children, this couple filled the roles of aunt and uncle for our kids. I inquired several times about them having children of their own…they would make great parents! I was always told, “soon” but after a while (and lots of prodding) she broke down and blurted out that they had been trying for almost 2 years and that my asking (along with everyone else in their lives) was NOT helping things! I felt terrible. Luckily, after a while, they finally gave in and went to a specialist and had a beautiful baby boy. As a matter of fact, they just recently added a second sweet boy to their family!
2. Don’t complain about your pregnancy. I learned this lesson in 2 very different ways. Before I was pregnant with my daughter, I had a good friend announce her pregnancy and immediately wanted to plan baby shopping trips and lunches with me. I was devastated. My husband and I had been trying for months and, as happy as I was for her, I just felt bitter and left out. Like I was getting left behind. Her complaints of morning sickness made my heart ache. She carried a copy of What To Expect When You Are Expecting with her to work and discussed the current style (or lack there of) in maternity clothes…I despised her. Why not me? Fortunately, it wasn’t long before I was expecting and was able to join in the celebration-so to speak. You think I would have remembered how that felt when, 4 years and 2 kids later, I find out that I was going to have a third bundle of joy. Ummm, what? Three kids?!? I didn’t want three kids! I had a girl and a boy and I was done! God has an amazing sense of humor. After spending so much time praying for both of my children (and getting them), He decided to bless me with one that I hadn’t even asked for! Now let me say, that 9 years later, my third child is the cutest, sweetest, smartest, funniest (and most spoiled) boy that anyone could ever ask for, but at the time…oh, my. I’ll be honest (this is just between me & you, right?)–I was DEVASTATED. I cried. And then I cried some more. I complained about every single nuance of the pregnancy with anyone who would listen. I made it very clear to everyone that 2 children was and that this pregnancy was not convenient for me. Unfortunately, there were 2 women that I had become close to who were both struggling with infertility. Now, in my defense, I did not know this. I don’t know why women choose to hide this particular issue when we will share so much about other things. Either way, my behavior was quickly reprimanded when one of them informed me that they would give anything to be able to have the “problem” that I had. Ouch. I don’t know if I have ever felt so very guilty/sorry/horrified over my attitude. I changed my tune–well not really, but I learned to keep it to myself. You never know what someone around you is experiencing. So even when some wise@** would crudely remark, “haven’t you figured out what causes that yet?” I would smile weakly and turn away.
Yes, I learned some lessons on both end of the spectrum. I was glad to see this article on correct etiquette when speaking to some one struggling with infertility. I think we all need the occasional reminder to mind our manners and remember that you don’t know what some one’s mindset/situation may be.
Have you experienced some of these situations? On either end? Go to our Facebook page and share your infertility etiquette story…what was the worst/hurtful thing said to you? What has helped you to be encouraged?