Swallowing Back The Hurt
As if infertility weren't bad enough, some people say things that can cut you to the core. The thing is—they actually mean well when they say those things. Coping with the pain of these comments is a serious burden, and you never know when you're going to get broadsided: at a family gathering, at the supermarket, or while waiting in line at the bank. It's easy to decide you'll board yourself up in your home and never come out after even one of these hurtful comments.
Ah well, all you can do is try to be prepared with an appropriate comeback and soldier on. Let's look at some of the most common remarks said by people who really mean well, but always seem to drive that dagger deep within your heart. If you know what's up ahead, you can at least prepare yourself.
A prime candidate for most insensitive comment is your neighbor who tosses off the statement: "All he has to do is look at me and boom—I'm pregnant."
The woman who says this to you is unaware that having unprotected sex is not a virtue. She thinks that her ease in becoming pregnant somehow makes her more normal than other people and believes she is superior to them. On the other hand, if she knew the difficulties of receiving a diagnosis of infertility and the pain and complications involved in fertility treatments she would be a great deal more humble about her luck. She's not a bad person—she just has a narrow world view. Blow it off.
Your only other choice is to describe how it is to be you and all that will do is make her feel bad. What's the point? Other than shutting her up, that is, though it's easy to see why that would be desirable.
Then there is the acquaintance that seems to think you've chosen to be childless because you want to live it up: "Sure, it's easy for you. After all, you're living on two incomes. You guys are living the life of Reilly!"
This is a case of adding two plus two and getting five. Your friend's jealousy may be getting in the way of his judgment. He has no idea that you have fertility issues because, let's face it, no one talks about this stuff. He sees himself as a regular guy with 2.2 children, struggling with a mortgage, while he sees the two of you as free birds with disposable income. He has no idea of your pain and sorrow at your childless state. He just sees you have a big house and a nice car with lots of leisure time to boot.
Of course, not everyone is oblivious to your difficulties in conceiving. The well-meaning person has been known to comment oh so not helpfully: "You need to accept that you will never have children and then move on."
This person understands that you have a painful issue but doesn't realize the extent to which infertility is a full-blown major life crisis. He thinks things are as easy as acknowledgment and moving forward. On the other hand, he may want to close the subject as fast as possible so he won't have to hear the painful details. He may not understand your desire to keep on trying or that you're very far from wanting to quit trying to have your baby. Grit your teeth and remember your manners, even though you'd like to throttle this person: just not helpful.