Many years ago there was a show on TV called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” The host would ask kids questions, and they'd come back with priceless comments that were spontaneous and socially unfiltered. It could be cute and funny.
Unfortunately, when you're undergoing fertility treatment, you may encounter some spontaneous and unfiltered comments that are considerably less cute or funny. These remarks can plant a punch on your emotional well-being. Most of the time, the person making the comment isn’t even aware of the pain they've caused you.
Often, these remarks are aimed at women, but men deal with their fair share of uncensored comments, too. Here are a few of the comments we know couples seeking fertility treatment often have to deal with-- and some ideas for dealing with them gracefully.
Clueless Comments about Infertility: A Greatest Hits List
When are you going to make me a Grandma? All your brothers and sisters are doing their part!
Are you one of those couples who doesn’t want kids?
Must be nice to have the disposable income! (Are these people even aware fertility treatment costs money?)
Ugh, all my husband has to do is look at me and I’m pregnant!
Have you tried green tea/ laughter yoga/ this pricey supplement? I read that it worked for this actress I like.
Well, it must be a lot of fun trying! (Yes, the bloating and irritability that come from taking hormones make you feel irresistible.)
And, the number one all-time chart topper: "You just need to relax, and it'll happen naturally!"
Handling Well-Meaning, But Hurtful Remarks
I talk with couples every day who say that they took it for granted that they would have a family. They certainly didn’t anticipate timed intercourse, the loss of intimacy, the costs and the roller coaster of emotions. To have to deal with the slings and arrows lobbed at them by well-meaning friends and families is just one more unpleasant side effect of infertility.
So, what can you do about it? Whether you're an outspoken person who has to hold their tongue to prevent flying off the handle, or a sensitive soul who's at breaking point, you can take action to prevent the people closest to you from unintentionally ruining your day-- or your relationship with them.
For Parents Who Just Don't Understand: Sit down with your parents and tell them that you are trying to make them grandparents, but things are not going as planned. Share as much detail as you are comfortable with. You can also ask your parents to explain your situation to any siblings or other family members you may have if the subject is too painful. This can have the additional benefit of making them feel they are helping you out in some way-- often, people want to help, but don't know how.
When Friends are the Issue: Talk to your friends. It is amazing how many couples have experienced the same journey that you are.
Vent In a Safe Space: A neutral party can help you ease tension (and avoid having a meltdown in the break room at work). Speak to a family counselor or find an online fertility support group. If your partner isn't ready to take the counseling route, respect that. Go by yourself if necessary.
Unplug from the Computer: Social networking can be a powerful tool for helping with feelings of isolation. However, it can also cause emotional confusion, particularly if you're on Facebook when your entire peer group seems to be pregnant all at once. Limit your online time: put your phone in your bag or in another room, or download an app that can block social media channels during certain hours of the day.
Take a Break: If your finances and medical situation allow, take a temporary break from fertility treatment to regain your emotional strength. Use that time to reconnect with the joy of being with your partner again. After all, that interest in one another is what started your relationship-- and it's the foundation of your future family.
Talk to Us
We at InVia have helped many parents on the pathway to pregnancy-- and we get how stressful and isolating it can be. We're here to listen when you need us. Make an appointment at one of our Chicago-area clinics today.
Mrs. Susan Beckman has been the Clinical Nurse Manager, Donor Coordinator and Study Coordinator at InVia Fertility Specialists for the past six years. Sue came to InVia Fertility with more than 30 years of nursing experience in Stroke Rehabilitation, General Medicine /Surgical, Cardiology and Maternal/Child nursing. The last 23 years of her career have been focused on women’s health. She was a staff nurse on a busy Maternity Unit, with a focus on high-risk labor and delivery, patient & staff education/program development, as progressed through the clinical ladders to become the Clinical Nurse Manager. Sue find the challenges of working with couples through the many phases of their reproductive life to be extremely rewarding as it draws on the skills that she has personally and professionally developed over the course of her career.