I’m not technically infertile, just over the hill. If you saw me in good lighting, you might mistake me for 35, but you know what they say: you’re only as old as your ovaries. And those biatches are past 40. Can they still produce a sibling for my daughter? Time will tell. I’ve been trying to conceive for a year, and so far all I’ve gotten is a lot of unsolicited advice. Here are some of my favorite pearls of wisdom. And by pearls, I mean snowballs with rocks in them.
1) Just relax, and then it will happen.
Nothing is less relaxing than being told to relax. Or more guilt-inducing – gee, maybe my emotions are preventing conception. It’s all my fault! Nonsense. If stress really prevented pregnancy, there wouldn’t be any Lohans.
2) Kids are a pain in the ass anyway.
So is working, but that doesn’t mean I want to be unemployed. Downplaying the joys of having children is disingenuous, and we all know the best things in life usually take some effort. Don’t try to talk me out of wanting what I want. Just sympathize. Repeat after me: “I’m sorry, that’s tough.” Was that so hard?
3) Losing a few pounds could help.
This might be true, but it’s also mean, and I’m emotional, so don’t you dare say it to my face. Slip me an anonymous note or something.
4) Maybe you should switch doctors.
I know your heart is in the right place, but planting seeds of doubt is crazy-making. If you want to offer up a recommendation, a better approach would be, “Do you feel confidence in your current doctor?” If the answer is yes, let it drop.
5) Have you considered adoption?
Have you considered minding your own business? Adoption is a big and very personal decision–not one that you need to be a part of. Unless you’re a healthy knocked up teen who wants to finish high school. Then we should talk.
6) My cousin couldn’t get pregnant either so she got a dog.
Success stories are great. Failure stories do us no good at all. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was put on bed rest to avoid premature labor. A “friend” felt the need to share the story of another woman who’d been on bed rest, only to miscarry. Nobody likes a bad news bear!
7) I’m so glad I started my family early.
There are many things I wanted to be when I grew up–“cautionary tale” wasn’t one of them. If my struggle to conceive makes you feel lucky and fertile, go home and tell your partner while you’re making relaxed, non-procreative love tonight. I don’t need to hear it.
8) At least you already have one kid.
For those of us dealing with secondary infertility, trust me, we know better than most people how lucky we were to get the first kid. And yes, it’s way better to have one than none. But pointing it out feels like shaming. It’s not like I’ve forgotten that I have this perfect little human whom I love more than life. She’s the reason I’m in this mess – I’m hooked on baby, jonesing for more joy.
If I sound bitter, I am. Kidding! But it feels good to vent. So thanks for listening – really, that’s the best thing you can do for someone trying to conceive.