Saturday, April 24, 2010

When "just relax" doesn't cut it anymore

You have now entered the world of infertility. You start noticing all the pregnant women at the supermarkets, the children running around your neighborhood and the baby clothing stores at the mall. And every single one of them is like salt in a deep, deep wound. Your partner may or may not be joining you in your daily pity-party and you turn to a loved one for comfort. 

Me: "We've been trying for 6 months. I just want a baby..."
Friend: "Just relax. It will happen! Go on vacation or something."

Did you just get punched in the face or did your friend/mother tell you that if you relaxed you'll have a baby in no time?! Now, in all fairness, I know it can be difficult to find the right words to comfort someone you love. You don't want to see them sad or suffering. One of the key things I've learned from my infertility journey and take with me to this day, is: if you'd don't have something truly constructive to say, it's just better not to say anything.

Back to us, infertiles, recovering from the punch in the face, and now fuming. I'm sorry, but the "just relax" argument is wrong on so many levels. Where shall I begin?

1. The first 3 months of having fun-sex didn't get us pregnant. We were relaxed then. Maybe, we even went on vacation. Heck, I even got spa treatments every day.
2. Can you imagine telling someone who has cancer to "Just relax?" You know, "Just relax! The cancer will go away."
3. Countless women get pregnant under very stressful situation. Not to get morbid here, but rape victims get pregnant. Do you think they were relaxed?!

So this is where I go from being the gentle, caring infertility doula, to the exasperated one.

Another gem people love to say is "I understand. I know how hard this is." If you haven't experienced it, you can't possibly know or understand what a person going through infertility is feeling. You can only imagine.

Don't be afraid to politely set the record straight and let the person know that you appreciate their concern. You are living in a world of sadness right now and that you just want them to listen to you. That's all. And if they don't have time to listen to you, an "I'm very sorry" will go a long way.


Keya said...

I have a friend who once said "I understand how hard it is, i've been through it".
Why? Well, they tried for one month and only fell pregnant on their second month. So she thinks she "understands" what we are going through. Really? really?

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