fertility, infertility, PCOS

What Not To Say To A Woman Suffering With Infertility

what not to say to a woman suffering with infertility

Now it’s no secret that I have been very open and honest about my fertility issues, in the hopes that I can provide some help or comfort for someone who is going through the same thing. Whether that’s by helping them feel less alone in a very dark situation by seeing that someone else has gone through something very similar, or just by breaking the taboo barrier that is talking about fertility.

However, my journey so far hasn’t been an easy one and unfortunately there is one thing that never helps – PEOPLE. As soon as someone finds out about your struggles they feel the need to contribute with “anecdotes” that they believe are helping, yet are actually having the opposite effect and can be very upsetting. I’m sure I’m not alone on this, but I’ve decided to share the top things people have said to me when they find out about my fertility problems, and the things I WISH I could say in response instead of politely nodding and saying “Yeah”.

“You should be more positive about it, you never know what will happen!”Well actually I do know thank you very much! I’ve not undergone extensive, invasive tests for absolutely no reason have I?! 

“You’ll just need to try harder than other couples, but hey more fun for you right?!”Firstly how the bloody hell do you ‘try harder’?! Secondly, I don’t ovulate! I could have sex 40 times a day for a year and still wouldn’t be able to conceive. No ovulation = No baby.

“If it’s meant to happen it will”Well gee thank you I feel soooOoooo much better now!

“You’re so negative about it, you’ll never have a baby with that attitude!” Ah yes because my fertility depends entirely on my mood.

“Are you just saying you can’t have kids because you’re too ashamed to say that you don’t want them?” –  How dare you! If I didn’t want to have children I would just say so, there’s no shame in that. Unfortunately I genuinely cannot conceive my own child and how rude of you to doubt me when I say that. Fertility issues are no joke and most certainly are not an excuse for not wanting children.

“There’s always adoption/fostering/surrogacy. Is being pregnant such a big deal for you?!”Yes actually it is. I want to have a child that is my DNA, that has grown inside me and I have formed an unbreakable bond with. Yes I know there are other options, and if it comes to it one day I may consider them, but how dare you make me feel bad for being upset that I may never carry my own child. If someone told you that you couldn’t do that, you’d also want to try everything humanly possible before resorting to alternative options

“My pregnancy was hell, trust me you’ve had a lucky escape!”I’d take a hellish pregnancy over never being pregnant, every single time. Please don’t try to make me feel better by telling me how “rubbish” your pregnancy was, it’s just making you seem ungrateful.

“If you lost some weight maybe that would help”I’ve been a size 10 and I’ve been a size 18. Trust me no matter what weight/size I am my body will not magically start ovulating. Thank you though for knocking my confidence while I’m already feeling vulnerable

“Have you tried ‘X,Y,Z’? it worked for *insert name here*”I’m glad these things worked for you/your friend, but they’re highly unlikely to work for me so please stop suggesting them.

“I know how you feel, it took us 6 months to conceive”Yep 6 months is definitely the same as infertility! I’m sorry it took you ‘so long’ to conceive but honestly 6 months is absolutely nothing, and believe me you reaaaally do not know how I feel.

“It’s okay because you weren’t planning on trying for a baby yet anyway” It doesn’t matter when I was planning on trying for a baby. What matters is knowing that if I did want to have a baby, I can’t.

“If it’s really that big of a deal you can just borrow mine for  day!”Cheers, because borrowing yours for an afternoon is exactly the same as having my own. Why didn’t I think of that before!?!?

“Trust me you don’t want kids anyway, they’re nightmares” I appreciate that you’re trying to make me feel better and make me see the downsides to children, but I want my own and everything that comes along with it, including the sleepless nights and bad behaviour. You saying that I don’t want children because ‘they’re nightmares’ again just makes you sound ungrateful and unappreciative of the children you have.

“You have a stepson so you don’t really need your own child do you?” (This one is my favourite…not!) Yes I may have him in my life and I will always love and treat him as if he were my own flesh and blood, but he isn’t. Trust me it’s NOT the same as having your own, as much as I wish it were. So no the fact Mitch has a son does not stop me wanting my own child and I would NEVER dream of turning round to you and saying something like ‘well you already have one child so you don’t really need to have another one, do you?’ so please don’t say this to me.

These are just a handful of things that get said to me, and I really wish I could respond with the things I have said above, however my ‘adult’ brain engages and just shuts up and nods in agreement.

When someone discloses their fertility issues with you, it’s because they trust you. They don’t want to hear any of the above, all they want is a hug, a friendly smile, and maybe a “I’m really sorry to hear that, do you want to talk about it?” We don’t need your “advice” or “helpful/inspirational words”  we just want to be heard.

So PLEASE next time a friend/colleague/family member tells you of their fertility woes, remember to be that kind person to listen, not the rude person who makes them feel worse.

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2 thoughts on “What Not To Say To A Woman Suffering With Infertility”

    1. Sorry for the late reply I’ve only just received a notification for this. People really do suck don’t they? We don’t expect people to be completely understanding but some compassion and support, and not being offensive would be nice

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