There are often times in our lives when we are struggling that the world around us does not really know how to respond to our struggle or maybe they are loved ones trying to ‘help’ but actually are more hurtful than helpful. I am certain that a few times or more in life we have all said something in a situation and then wished for time to go back to the moment just before the thought escaped your mouth and keep silent. We are human and imperfect.
That being said infertility and all things related are definitely areas where statements that are ‘not so helpful’ come up. Let’s take a look at some of the things I myself have experienced or heard others talk about:
- “God knows exactly what he is doing, he knows who to give children to and how many.”
- “You have a career now you should be happy with that.”
- “Have a glass of wine and relax it will happen.”
- “If you don’t calm yourself, you will create a miscarriage.”
- “Why can’t you just adopt a child, there are plenty out there?!”
- I was told by a doctor, “Adoption is cheating.” (I heartily DISAGREE!)
- ” You need to move on the miscarriage was two months ago.”
- ” You’ve made it to 35 and you don’t have kids?! How did you get so lucky?”
- “You can borrow our kids anytime!”
- “Honestly, when are you going to get over this whole thing.”
- When a friend is risking a miscarriage and needs emotional support, and another ‘friend’ says, “Maybe you shouldn’t talk to her you will scare her. You can if it doesn’t work out. I will talk to her now.”
This is a living document and as I read or hear more statements they will be added. The important thing to remember is that most people do not know how to respond and there really isn’t a language for the depth of the feelings that are involved for the couple either. Even if there were, most people wouldn’t share that much vulnerability with the masses anyway.
So when a statement is made and you get that feeling of disbelief and hurt that often follows, it can help to stop, take a breath and remember you have a choice about whether that statement fits you or not. Simply put, this takes practice and some toughening up. Sadly some relationships can suffer as the couple learns how to protect themselves from more hurt and shame by distancing from less empathetic people. I cannot stress enough the importance of connecting with support groups or a counselor that is versed in this struggle to help minimize the isolation that many people feel.