[Warning: This post was written for the purposes of venting. Rainbows and unicorns are off on a professional development day and weren't able to participate in the writing of this post.]
I've been thinking of my top 10 list of things not to say to an infertile, but I never make it past 3. So I thought I would post what I've got, and you could maybe add yours in the comments.
There are a great many horrible things I've heard being said to others, but there are only 3 very awful things that have been said to me. Here they are:
1) "Well, maybe I'll be infertile too, you know" from a friend who was not yet ready to have children. I recognize that this was said out of compassion and I truly love the friend who said this to me. She meant so well by it. She didn't want me to feel alone in my sorrow, so she opened the possibility that she too could have problems conceiving. Unfortunately, thinking about her not being able to conceive makes me so sad, I almost start to cry. She is a wonderful woman and deserves to have the children she wants to have. So, unfortunately, not a helpful comment, especially not when it was one of the first thing that she said after finding out about our infertility.
2)"Well, at least you won't have to suffer through all the discomforts of pregnancy" This one is wrong on so many levels, I don't even know where to start. Perhaps the thing most wrong with it is that my Family Doctor said this to me. Yes, I was in her office in July and she asked how the fertility treatments were going. I was feeling particularly down on that day, so I started crying. She was of course trying to provide comfort, and missed the bulls eye oh, by about the width of 3 Canadian provinces.
3) "oh Augusta, you always do things in such an unorthodox way. I guess you'll also just do this (have a baby) in an unorthodox way" That was said to me by a friend who came to dinner on the same day I visited my family doctor (see 2). Part of why I was having such a tough day before I went to my GP was that I knew this friend was coming and she had said in her email she had a "surprise" for me. Last time I saw this friend, she failed to order her reliable glass of red wine at the French restaurant, which, of course, roused my suspicions. She waited until dinner to tell us about her pregnancy, although at 5 months, it was quite visible. She went on and on about the pregnancy (full disclosure here: when I feel too vulnerable, I start asking people a LOT of questions and make them talk about themselves. So I had my part to play in that). This friend knew about our infertility, although had not been updated recently. Then when she asked about when we would start a family (another gem), I told her about the failed fertility treatments (egg donation was still very tenuous at that point). I didn't feel like raining on this woman's parade and was hoping we could change the topic, but she was steadfast. And then the comment about my unorthodoxy. I actually was so dumbfounded that I had to ask her what she meant by it, which did not clarify much since she was making desperate and not very coherent attempts to back paddle on her comment, seeing it had upset me. Sheesh! That one was obviously uncomfortable for both of us!
So let's review what we've learned here. First, as a woman in childbearing years, never tell an infertile that you also may be infertile unless you know you are. This is never comforting. Second, if you are a family doctor, find a way to talk to infertiles that will be empathetic and won't involve your foot going into your mouth. Third, never, ever be the one highlighting an upside to infertility if your are not the one who is infertile. Very. Bad. Form.
Ok, what comments have people made about your situation that have stung you?