Baby Velvet 07 Nov 2011 8:18 pm
I had lunch with a friend the other day who is enduring the same baby-making road that I am. In the email exchange where we were setting up our plan to meet and eat, she said something to the effect of how it’s nice to just talk to someone who doesn’t say the wrong things.
Oh, the wrong thing. There are so many things on the list of “wrong” when you are enduring something as difficult as the struggle to have a baby. I’m not even sure why I say things like this out loud anymore because it will surely prompt some allegedly well-meaning person to email or call me after having read this, to make some idiotic statement that will make me seriously consider ripping off their nipples. With. My. Teeth.
After I posted something along these lines the last time, someone actually emailed me to say, “Oh, I know someone who did IVF and she miscarried twins at 5 months.” FIVE MONTHS! So you mean, getting pregnant isn’t even the real hurdle? Apparently I have to STAY pregnant? And walk on eggshells the whole time? Yeesh. Thanks for your kind words.
Someone tried to say, “She didn’t mean it maliciously.”
Um, okay, how did she mean it? Why would she say this? Why would anyone say this?
What about when a friend knows you are going through pretty intense fertility treatments and knows it didn’t work responds by saying, “You’ll try again.” You know, I can see how you may think that’s helpful, but I’m not sure that you realize that your simple solution of “trying again” isn’t as easy as supersizing my meal. “Trying again” means 2 more months of downtime and ramping up, of 40 more shots in the stomach, of countless appointments for blood, sonograms, of veins collapsing, of another $15,000, of my vagina developing acid reflux because there are so many meds in me that they are rebelling. Suddenly “You’ll try again” doesn’t seem so quick of a fix, does it?
What about the old “just relax.” People love to tell you that if you “just relax” that you’ll end up pregnant. That their friends, and friends of their friends, and their babysitter’s next door neighbor’s kid’s teacher’s cousin all just quit trying and bim bam boom. Pregnant. Because that will work for you. That diagnosis, which was free! Yes, Free! It will work for you, even though the speaker has absolutely no idea of your personal situation.
A variation of “just relax” is the “why don’t you just adopt.” Well, shit. If you were at the store and you were looking for a watermelon for something specific you were making and someone said to you, “why not get the sausage instead?” Would that make sense? No? Well then why would you tell me to adopt when the goal is to have a child with my husband? (Yes, I get that the comparison of sausage and watermelon to adopting kids is weird and possibly insensitive, but I’m trying to illustrate a point to people who seem to have no fucking concept of what they are saying. I had to dumb it down with food.)
It’s a tough road that those on the Infertility Roller Coaster have to ride. There’s nothing you can say that’s right to us other than to just smile, nod, and say that you are sorry. Or not. Act totally uninterested and we’ll get it that you don’t want to hear it. But we don’t want quick fixes, we don’t want to hear what your friend did, we don’t want to hear that we should relax, or adopt, or get a surrogate, sperm donor, do acupuncture. We also don’t want to hear what your kid did that was so stinking cute you just had to tell the whole damn world. It’s not cute to us. It’s tear-inducing.
But people don’t get it. So we suffer in silence because it somehow seems wrong to say that what is being said to us is not helpful or downright hurtful. Does it make me a bitch? Most likely. But no one else is riding in my shoes right now, so they don’t get to judge.