Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What *should* you say?

For those of you wondering, and I'm sure there are TONS, Georgie the fish is still swimmin' strong. He, or she, is actually kind of interesting to watch. Well, for me at least, s/he is interesting. The kid really could care less. Good thing Georgie is so low key, requiring very little attention, food, etc...

A friend asked in a comment what should people say to those of us facing infertility. So, I thought I'd address that today. This may not be what you want to hear, but it's my opinion, for whatever that's worth. As I said before, I don't think you should ask people about their baby-making plans. I mean, unless you know them really, REALLY well, as in "you're my bff-in-the-whole-world" kind of way. Even then though, unless someone brings it up first, I don't think you should.

People in hubby's family started asking us BEFORE we even got married when we were going to have babies. Now that wasn't exactly the order we had planned (babies before marriage), but it is somewhat common in his family and we were getting "old" (note: we were only 22 and 23 when we got married, people!!). Regardless, why was it any of their business?! If they were just trying to make small talk, I can think of a whole other host of appropriate questions to pose. After we got married, the questions only multiplied - we even got those kinds of questions on our wedding day! And they didn't stop. It was just plan irritating before we started trying, and painful after we realized it wasn't going as planned. And, I repeat, why is it any of anyone else's business... why does anyone need or deserve to know? Really, we don't regularly talk about other parts of people's sex lives so flippantly, so why is the topic of baby-making such fair game?

If, however, someone does tell you they're trying to get pregnant, or having fertility issues, I think it's important to show them emotional support. This, however, does NOT mean asking for "updates". At least for me, the constant questions of "how are things going?" or "do you have any news you'd like to share?" are really painful. What I really appreciated were the things people said conveying their support and offering to talk, if I wanted to. Comments like, "I've been thinking about you guys and praying for you" or "If you want to talk about it, I'm here" are much less intrusive.

There's no need to apologize for being able to get pregnant or have biological children yourself (as one friend expressed she was feeling). Some women experiencing infertility have a difficult time being around pregnant women. While this wasn't the case for me so much, I do think it's important to be sensitive to that, and try not to be offended if you're that pregnant woman (especially if you're that super-fertile-I-got-pregnant-in-just-1-try-and-I've-already-got-4-kids-and-am-not-thrilled-to-be-pregnant-again kind of girl).

I planned to address some of the ridiculous and/or insensitive adoption questions that people ask as well, but I figure this is long enough for today. I'll get around some other time. Some of the things are actually quite amusing.
But anyway, that's my advice, and today's lesson - just don't ask the baby-making question. Offer support, an ear if SHE (or he) wants to talk about it, and do be sensitive for pete's sake.

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