Well, our first round of IVF didn't work. The route we chose was the lengthy and expensive option that included genetic testing and had a 5% chance of miscarriage, so of course, I miscarried. Where was this ability to be in the tiny percentage when I was applying to colleges?!? As our "journey" continues, it got me thinking about all the people around us. I am lucky to have so many supportive and loving friends and family whether they understand what I am dealing with or not. I have never felt more surrounded by love. My friends and family have been wonderful, but I thought I would share a list of What Not to Say. I've heard most of these at least once, and their effect varies depending on which part of the emotional roller coaster I am riding.
"My sister's best friend's husband's cousin tried to have a baby for 4 years, and the minute they stopped trying, she got pregnant." Do you remember the Urban Relationship Myth episode of Sex & the City? This is the infertility equivalent. Unless your sister's best friend's husband's cousin hired a surrogate who is pregnant with quadruplets and she simultaneously became pregnant with identical twins, I don't really care. It's better to listen to your friend's story than trying to relate to her by grasping at some distant person's misfortune.
"Just Relax!" I give any woman going through infertility a free pass to punch you in the face when you say this. True Story: I am at a Quest Diagnostics having 14, yes 14, vials of blood drawn (coupled with it being 4:00 pm, and I was not allowed to eat all day), and the nurse starts telling me how if I "Just relax", I will get pregnant right away. She sees it happen all the time. Really, Latwana? You think that I can relax when I am having 14 vials of blood taken from my veins? It's really easy to relax when I am sticking needles in my stomach each night or having ultrasounds and bloodwork every other day - an hour from my house. I tried relaxing, and I still miscarried, so now I am trying science.
"I just know this is going to happen to me too." I haven't done anything to cause this. I don't want to be some cautionary tale. Yes, you may have trouble getting pregnant, but chances are you won't. Don't make what I am going through a chance to harp on some future hypothetical medical issue of yours.
"It will happen when the time is right." You're right. I am a 32 year old, financially stable woman in a loving marriage who owns a home in a city filled with young children. The time is definitely wrong for me. I should have aimed to be a subject on 16 and Pregnant.
"It's God's will." People love to bring God into infertility. By doing so, you are telling me that God doesn't want me to have a child. Gee, thanks. I will be sure to tell you "It's God's will" the next time you complain about your child getting the flu or an ear infection. And, don't worry "God doesn't give us anything we can't handle".
"What I wouldn't give to have your freedom/ability to sleep in/ so much free time." Really? Would you give up your adorable children? I didn't think so. I have to say, this process has forced me to gain an appreciation of our pre-child life, and I am very thankful for that. We take full advantage of being a footless and fancy free family of 2 +Ryman. Mr. Fonty and I do a ton of traveling, and have really kicked it up a notch, because we keep thinking "this could be our last chance". However, would I give up our upcoming trip to Europe for a bun in the oven? In a heart beat. This topic for me is all about your delivery. There is talking about how we enjoy our child-free life and coming at it from a condescending "you don't understand my parenting problems" angle. Your complaints about not sleeping are best saved for your friends that are also not sleeping. I'll be too busy enjoying a lazy, crayon free brunch.
"It could be worse..." Would you say this to a cancer patient? "It could be worse, you could have AIDS too." Infertility is all encompassing. Every day is filled with monitoring your body, shots, patches, vitamins, you name it. When putting this much effort, not to mention, money into something, if it doesn't work, it is devastating. Imagine you are assigned a project at work. You work night and day for 3 months to get ready. It's all you think about for months. The day comes for your big presentation, and you think you nail it. You go home, relax, and 2 weeks later, your boss calls you in, and says you did a great job on your presentation, but unfortunately, you are fired. That's what a failed IVF cycle feels like. But, it could be worse... Your car could break down on the way home from the job you just lost.
(After a miscarriage) "At least you know you can get pregnant." For some women, yes, this is a good sign, but for a lot of other women, like myself, getting pregnant isn't the issue. You never know what someone is dealing with, so avoid getting medical.
"Why don't you just adopt?" This one sort of amazing me. It is so flippantly thrown around like adopting is such an easy process on it's own. Adoption is a big deal. It's a child, not a puppy, folks.
I don't want to make anyone feel like there is no right thing to say to a friend dealing with infertility. If someone is coming from a place of love and caring, there isn't a wrong thing to say. Most of the above comments come from self-righteousness and verbal diarrhea. Remember that sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen and use my mom's favorite quote, "This is the shits", because I tell you friends, it is in the fact The Shits.