Where do you feel the role is with other family members who love you greatly and hurt when you do?
The truth of the matter is that I just don’t know.
Be aware of the differences between folks who are actively participating in the Infertility Olympics versus folks like me who just know they can’t have kids. The landscape is different for the folks who are praying that this might be the month that nature takes her course, or the IVF sticks, or whatever. These dear people are always holding their breaths.
Me? I’m mourning and trying to figure out what’s next.
Either way, my best advice would be to acknowledge what is going on, and that you are supportive and willing to talk. Something like, “I know this is really challenging. I’m with you, and will support you however I can.” However, you only get to say this once. You don’t want to be the person who’s all, “Confide in meeeeeeee!” every other second. Ick.
Mostly, I think you have to be responsive instead of proactive.
Because I always find the process of elimination helpful, here are comments that you really, really shouldn’t say to the barren lady:
1. “Just relax and it will happen.” – Oh. You mean I’m not supposed to clench everything all the time?
2. “I have a friend who (fill in the blank).” – Well, good for her. Dunno if you realize this, but your friend and I do not happen to share a uterus.
3. “It’s God’s will.” – Fuck you.
4. “So, when are you going to adopt?” – Because adoption is no big deal and super-easy. You just walk into Babies R Us and ask, “How much for zee little gurl?” I understand they also have layaway.
5. “There’s just nothing like having your own biological child.” – There’s also nothing like punching you in the face, because I have no other response to your lack of sensitivity. Hag.
And yes, some well-intentioned friend has said ALL OF THESE THINGS TO ME at 1 point or another.
My sweet mama has mentioned that it upsets her when I use the term “barren,” because it sounds like I, personally, have exactly zero to offer the world – a lifeless desert of a human. I respect her saying that, and must admit that there have been dark moments when I have felt like a giant loser and a freak for not having the ability to bear children.
But really? There’s not another word for it. It’s “barren” or “infertile,” and of the 2, I guess I prefer “barren.” I certainly don’t speak for everyone here. My personal preference is based solely on the fact that whenever I write “barren,” I mentally draw it out to be “baaaaaaaaaarren” and picture myself wrist-to-forehead, collapsing on a chaise lounge.
It’s a highly personalized journey … to wherever it is we’re going.
I try to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, because 99% of folks are coming from a place of kindness and love. But sometimes? Sometimes, I want to stomp my feet and carry on about how it isn’t fair, and oh, people are dumb.
How do you respond when someone says Not The Right Thing? How do you get over the fear of being that person?