I’ve seen a lot of little snippets about things not to say to couples with fertility issues, and while I know they are meant to educate the public about the sensitivities of infertility, each time I wonder if it’s all just a bit much.
There is an imaginary line that sometimes separates fertile and infertile women. Don’t ask me who put it there. I didn’t! I can understand that there may be ill feelings whenever something happens easily for someone else, but not for you. But, with these lists about what not to say, I can’t help but feel like I’m being put in a corner with the word “infertile” tattooed to my forehead. Handle these folks with kid gloves and, for the love of all things holy, don’t dare mention the word placenta to them!
I don’t want people treating me differently because my husband and I are having problems conceiving. Maybe that’s why I don’t share it too openly except on this blog? (This blog is my secret diary of verbal vomit, if you haven’t noticed already.) I don’t want the concerned looks, the furrowed brows, and the puppy dog eyes. I don’t want the stories about friends of friends who had a frozen egg flown in from Lithuania that joined with frozen sperm in a plane at 35,000 feet in the air, and now they have a baby. I don’t want friends driving home from dinner with us saying to each other, “Man, that sucks. I can’t imagine what I’d do if I were them.” True, you can’t imagine what you’d do, because you aren’t in our situation. However, if you were, you’d have to suck it up and figure your shit out.
That’s life. And living life also means I can’t prevent every furrowed brow, frozen egg and sperm story, or thought of pity. I can’t, because it’s impossible. I need to put my big girl pants on, and deal with it.
Clueless people flub up when speaking to infertile people, engaged people, families of the deceased, pregnant people, sick people, disabled people, divorced people, the list goes on. If you are in some situation that not everyone on this planet is going through at the exact same time you are going through it, you may be the victim of clueless people’s flubs.
Most mean well, don’t know what to say, and say the wrong things. I’m sure I’ve done it a bunch. Very rarely is someone trying to be malicious, just for the sake of ruining your good mood or well-being. (And in those rare instances, you have my blessing to tell them to go fuck themselves.)
When someone says, “Don’t worry, it’ll happen,” they likely aren’t trying to cause a nervous breakdown or a knife in their back. Rather, they probably had no idea what to say, and just blurted out the first thing they imagined would be comforting. Right or wrong, they said it, and it’s up to us to decide how much it is going to affect us. Usually the offender says something dumb, and forgets about it five seconds later. While we, the offended, sit three days later, replaying the scene in our heads, recounting every word, and trying to figure out what it all means.
I’ll save you some time. It means NOTHING. Zip, zero, zilch. It’s stupidity, ignorance, thoughtlessness, dog shit.
Life is filled with people who don’t know what to say; that’s what makes it funny, depressing, interesting, and infuriating at times. We aren’t all the same, and some might not be as thoughtful or empathetic as you are. Remember that, and just let some of it go. We can’t spend our lives telling everyone off. There simply isn’t enough time for that.