By Lisa Kuszmar
Charlotte Smarty Pants is a Mom blog, and before I was allowed to write for it, I had to get into the club. And for me, joining the club was a hard fought fight. It was more than a year of trying, a roller coaster of emotions and more tears than I could count. As I write this blog, that time is a distant memory, but suddenly the pain associated with the fifteen months I tried to have a baby is palpable. Currently, there are a number of people in my life fighting to become mothers, and my heart breaks for them. And sometimes, when I am with them, I am at a loss for words or say all the wrong things.
So I got to thinking, maybe I could think back to the time in my life when people were sending me straight over the edge saying all the wrong things. Because when you are in the throes of infertility and hopped up on hormones, it takes very little to send you reeling.
So here are my top five things to never, ever say or do to someone “trying” to get pregnant:
1) Do not tell them to RELAX and it will happen. This translates to, “This is your fault because you worry about it too much.” They are not infertile because they are stressed; they are stressed because they are infertile. If stress prevented women from getting pregnant, no one undergoing treatment would ever succeed, and that is not the case.
2) Do not complain about your pregnancy, morning sickness, or your children. The woman you are talking to would chew her left arm off to be in your position. Find some other Mom or friend with whom to share your complaints.
3) Don’t one up them. Yes, we all know a friend or family member who tried to get pregnant for seven years and then magically did one day. This is not a consolation for anyone. Is this person supposed to glean from this fact that in just six more years, they too will get pregnant? Also avoid terrible miscarriage stories and other personal tragedies. True, life could be worse, but that doesn’t help.
4) Do not pull the religion or destiny card. “Maybe this is God’s way of (fill in the blank)” or “Maybe this is the universe telling you something.” Poppycock! Infertility is biology. Infertility is random. Don’t try to explain it away.
5) Do not say, “Well, you can always adopt.” This is the holy grail of wrong things to say, because I can assure you they are not handing out infants at Babies R Us. Adoption is a very personal decision, and it is exorbitantly expensive. If someone is trying to start a family, this might not be something they are ready to consider.
So maybe it seems like you can’t say anything. Honestly, there isn’t much you can say to make anyone struggling with infertility feel better. It’s best to listen; be the shoulder to cry on and be honest. I try saying things like:
“I really can’t imagine what you are going through right now. I hate this for you and wish I could make it better.”
“This is a terrible time, and I hope and pray you have the happy ending you are hoping for.”
“Is there anything I can do?”
We all had a life before infertility took over, and most times women are ready to talk about other subjects. People in treatment spend enough time analyzing every detail of their blood work, ultra sounds and drug cocktails. They would probably welcome the opportunity to talk about work, family, pets, vacations, good books they have read or maybe that fantastic episode of Glee from last week. Let’s lift up our future Smarty Moms the best way we know how.