Having received an amazing response from my “Why Don’t You Just Adopt?” post, I’ve decided to write in more detail about the things listed in my “What Not To Say To A Woman Suffering With Infertility” post. Initially I only skimmed over them briefly and somewhat sarcastically, mostly because I think some of them were still raw and painful. I’ve since realised though that they all need proper acknowledgement. While these may be the first sentences that come to peoples minds as a way of support, the reality is that they hurt and they aren’t okay to say. My aim here is to educate people who have never experienced infertility and help them understand what is and isn’t okay to say, but I also want those struggling with infertility to feel less alone. I want them to be able to read this and see that there are people out there who are told the same things they are, and that they aren’t overreacting when they get upset over something that’s been said.
I’ve found that one of the sentences Mitch and I hear most frequently after telling someone about my infertility is “well, you never know…” Now we know that this is meant with good intentions, it’s meant to give us hope and positivity, it’s meant to give us something to strive for. We know that we really do. Unfortunately all it really does is make us angry, upset, and leaves us feeling like we haven’t been listened to.
You see the thing is we do know, and unfortunately for us it just isn’t going to happen, not naturally anyway. My periods stopped completely when I was 18 years old, since then I have undergone five years of extensive testing. Five. I’ve had internal and external examinations , been poked and prodded within an inch of my life, and had more blood taken than you could ever imagine. The results of these tests? PCOS, Amenorrhea, and Chronic Anovulation, meaning the chances of conceiving without medical assistance are 0.001%.
We appreciate that you’re trying to make us feel better, or just have no idea what else to say, but please refrain from saying “you never know, it could happen!” In those moments we’d much rather that you just said “I’m sorry to hear that” or just said nothing at all. It’s nothing personal and we really aren’t trying to be rude if we stand there in silence looking like we may cry, we honestly aren’t. It’s just that we’re already trying to deal with devastating effects of infertility without being told to hold on to hope that isn’t there. It just takes us right back to square one and we have to start processing all over again, something we fight so hard daily to move forward from.
Under no circumstances do I want this post to come across as rude, ungrateful, or snappy. I just need to get across how hurtful hearing those words can be. I’m constantly fighting a battle with my body every day, while feeling like a failure of a woman and that’s soul destroying. Mitch is constantly having to deal with something that effects his whole life and isn’t his fault, and how he does that I’ll never know. Some days I can barely look at myself in the mirror because I feel so ashamed of myself, so how he manages to look at me with the same love and respect he always has is a mystery to me.
There is nothing I would love more, than to believe that one day a “miracle” could happen. That all the GP’s, Endocrinologists, and Gynaecologists are wrong and that I can have a baby with no problem at all, but I know if I think like that I’m only going to destroy myself and fall apart when it doesn’t happen, and it’ll destroy Mitch too. It takes every ounce of strength I have to accept my diagnosis and not break down every single day, it’s hard and exhausting but I manage it because I know I’m strong and I need to keep going. I know from the bottom of my heart that your words aren’t meant with cruel intentions and that most people would never dream of upsetting me or Mitch on purpose, and would probably be mortified at the idea that something they’d said had caused so much upset. It’s just the words “you never know” causes false hope while also painfully reminding us that it’s just not going to happen for us.
As much as I hate to say it, there is no “you never know” there is only the knowledge that, yes I do know and sadly it’s not the outcome Mitch and myself would like.