Loving Your Friend Through Infertility – Avoid Cliche Statements (Part 1)

(Here are the previous posts in this series)

When we first began going to the fertility specialist, I remembered a friend had mentioned they had difficulty getting pregnant.  I reached out to her to have someone know what we’ve gone through in this crazy treatment world! It has been so great to have someone know what I’m talking about when I discuss my estradiol levels and how many eggs are at what millimeter.  Anyway, she loaned me a couple books. One of the books had a chapter entitled:

When people you love say stupid things

I flipped right to it. I had been having many of these situations when I read the book and it was nice to have a laugh about it and realize those awkward statements are normal!! The longer it takes you to get pregnant, the more stupid things you hear people say.  Thankfully, the longer it takes you to get pregnant, the more you realize people aren’t being malicious or intentionally hurtful.  Fortunately for those people – infertility is not their reality.  They don’t know where you’re coming from so they don’t know how hurtful it is when they give you “advice.”

If you have said one of these things below, please know that I love you and I forgive you. I am not trying to condemn you or make you feel bad, but want to educate you to understand why those statements hurt and  to avoid saying those things to others.

“Just relax and you will get pregnant.”

For someone that can’t get pregnant, this statement feels like it is just heaping more condemnation on them. So am I not getting pregnant because I’m stressed about not getting pregnant?!? Also, for people like me who have diagnosed medical conditions, it just burns me. I’m like – my body doesn’t WORK properly to get pregnant on my own.. relaxation has nothing to do with it!

“You’re so young!”

I understand the hopeful intention behind this comment. But what it really says to someone living it is “you don’t need to worry about this yet, it’s not a big deal.” Additionally, like in the first one – for someone with an actual issue, age has nothing to do with it.

“I know so and so who tried for years and then BAM! Got pregnant on their own. I’m sure that will happen for you too.”

This is one of the most hated by women walking through it I think. Yes, it is way cool that this happened to your friend. And you know what? It could always happen for me. But it probably won’t.  And this statement somewhat just discounts the current pain by saying – don’t worry! You’ll get pregnant once you stop worrying about it.

“Oh you’re lucky… want my kids?”

Seriously? Because yes, I do. As someone struggling to get pregnant, I am not naïve. I know that motherhood isn’t rosy all the time. I know that it will be hard and I am sure sometimes it will be joyless and seem like a monotonous routine. But all in all, children are a blessing! Everything that is worthwhile in this world can be hard. And people saying this come from the camp of “the grass is always greener on the other side.” When you have children, you only remember the good parts about being a family of two. But it’s a totally different story when you don’t want to just be a two-some anymore.

Tomorrow I’ll post the conclusion to this blogpost:)

– Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post

About jkl

Follower of Jesus, Pastor's Wife, Cookie Baker.
This entry was posted in Infertility, Jesus, Loving Your Friend Series, Sanctification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Loving Your Friend Through Infertility – Avoid Cliche Statements (Part 1)

  1. curry winters says:

    such great comments are why these are hurtful! i have previously thought the 3rd comment and immediately following thought you would take me up on that if I had actually said it. It makes me realize how even in the moments when John is driving me nuts it is still a blessing to be a mom and he is still a gift from God where he is screaming or not. I am glad to have you remind me how precious John is and I am glad to walk through this season with you and know how real God is along side you!

  2. Hi Jackie. While I don’t struggle with infertility ( at least as far as I know because we are not yet trying) I very much relate to the types of comments you receive. My husband and I want to have children very much but are waiting for more financial stability…which is shortly coming but still, we’ve had to wait. And whenever I mention how badly I want children and how hard it is to have to wait, I get MANY of those types of comments. “You’re so young” drives me insane. I am aware of my age. I assume you are implying I have many years to have children? Number 1, you don’t know that. Number 2, what is your point? If I wanted them at this age but cannot have them for WHATEVER reason, it still sucks. The other one that upsets me is “Oh, you just think you want them. Wait until you have them, then you’ll know”. I hate the condescending nature of that. Like you said, I know it’s not an easy thing to be a mother but you don’t know my heart and you can’t tell me I will change my feelings. I am in no way comparing my situation to yours but your post struck a cord with me. I think people just have this ability to be…arrogant? Even without meaning to and even when trying to be helpful but, nonetheless, they diminish your unique feelings regarding something so deeply personal. Anyway, sorry that I wrote you a novel. :)

    • jackielopina says:

      good point Caiti! Glad you could relate to this too:) I think it’s a great reminder for all of us to be sensitive!! It’s so easy to complain about a spouse, a job, a home or children, forgetting that those are ALL gifts and even though it may not be easy, there are some who really long for what we have. Hope you guys are doing well! Good luck in the waiting period:)

  3. Pingback: Loving Your Friend Through Infertility – Avoid Cliche Statements (Part 2) « Hoping in God

  4. “Thankfully, the longer it takes you to get pregnant, the more you realize people aren’t being malicious or intentionally hurtful.”

    I’m glad you included this thought. Of course there are completely oblivious boneheads out there who just say dumb things, but I think that for the most part people are trying to help. Most of us tend to get uncomfortable in the face of someone who is suffering. Often times, the suffering person just wants to be heard – NOT fixed, but that’s the approach we awkwardly take. I know that I’m guilty of saying silly things because I feel like I should say “something” and it can end up being hurtful. I’m glad that you’re sharing these and why they are hurtful. I’m even more looking forward to your post about what people SHOULD say. Without it I think people could leave discouraged and take the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” approach.

    Thanks for your boldness here. I think that it will have a positive impact on many readers and those that they love!

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