Monday, November 10, 2008

Unintentional Stupid Remarks

For those of us infertiles the "stupid remark" category is probably long and somewhat (after a long while) comical.

If you want to analyze the human experience, it is safe to say that fertile people will never understand what it is like to have problems conceiving. But, it is also fair to say that many of them have the best of intentions. Sometimes no matter what is said people just can't win.

Even after stating all of that, I must point out that some comments are just so ridiculous that you want to bop people on the head like they do in those new V8 commercials. "Shoulda had a V8. "
"Shoulda thought before you opened your mouth."

Insensitive comments made to those who cannot conceive make me angry. Infertile couples should not feel like they have to make other peole feel more comfortable. Friends and family need to antyup and ask what they can say or do to help. Yeah, it may be uncomfortable and you may feel like you shouldn't ask questions, but its better than:
A: Saying the wrong thing or
B: Not saying anything at all

What I am trying to say is that we need to face some pretty uncomfortable situations in order to help console loved ones. Life is messy. Grave illness, death, divorce, a sick child, infertility are just some examples of very stressful and difficult challenges we may face in life. Helping someone who is grieving is actually a very simple thing; we just tend to mess it up by over-thinking things.
Simply put, be there, hold a hand, give a hug, say how sorry you are that they are grieving and sad. You don't need to try and "fix" it with words or actions because, guess what, you can't.

If you have no idea how awful it feels not to be able to conceive a child, acknowledge it.
If you have no idea what it is like to miscarry a baby, just be there with a shoulder to cry on and acknowledge the pain.

Acknowledgement is what so many infertile couples need- their feelings of sorrow and grief are valid, their absence from birthday parties and baby showers is not selfish but a way of coping.

For those of you who have experienced one or more of these "stupid remarks" know that you are not alone. My advice is to SPEAK UP. If we don't educate people about their insensitivity, they will never know. And, remember you can do it tactfully.

Aunt Iris twice removed saying "My husband just looked at me and I would get pregnant" might conjure a different reaction than the nosy old lady at the grocery store saying "How much was your kid?" But, ultimately the anger and sadness that develop from these remarks is yours to deal with, so it is up to you to find a way to let it go.
What do they know anyway?

P.S. You may be really curious about a personal example of mine...

When I told someone I was adopting from Korea, their reaction was "You better take that 'Made in Korea' sticker off right away.

Reaction: Chuckles from other people in the room and my quick exit

1 comment:

Lori said...

I totally get your V8 moment after reading that comment.

You might be interested in Bridges ( because it sets out to let people know what it's like to experience certain conditions (like IF, neonatal loss, cancer, adoption, etc)


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