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Thursday, February 24, 2011

PSA on IF (infertility)

I wish there was a book people could buy: "How to Talk to Someone You Know That is Going Through Infertility".

It would have the following chapters:

Chapter 1: Why the word, "Relax" will get you punched in the face.
Chapter 2: What else not to say, such as, "You're trying too hard," or, "So are you pregnant yet, or what?"
Chapter 3: When to give "advice" (see Chapters 4 and 5), and when to just be there to lean on.
Chapter 4: If your "advice" consists of any of the phrases from Chapter 1 or Chapter 2, see Chapter 3.
Chapter 5: If you've never tried to get pregnant or if you've gotten pregnant easily, you have no advice to give.

Some people tend to think you don't have to try to get pregnant, it just happens. And for many couples, this may be the case. But for some couples - it doesn't just happen. There are TONS of different things that can inhibit a couple from conceiving. PCOS (an ovulation disorder), MFI (when a man's sperm just isn't what it should be), Endometriosis (see Abbreviations)... and the list goes on and on.

Then there is Unexplained Infertility. UI is when a couple has been trying for over a year and have none of the above more obvious conditions. There is no explanation for why they aren't conceiving - they just aren't. People tend to hear that a couple has been trying for a year, and without even meaning to, automatically think, "Wow, what are they doing wrong?" The answer -- nothing. Why do some people who have never smoked get cancer and others who have smoked their whole lives don't? Why do some perfectly healthy babies suddenly turn cold and pass away from SIDS and others don't? It's just one of those things.

Doug and I haven't made it to the diagnosis "Unexplained Infertility" yet, and I hope we never do. Right now the reason why we haven't conceived yet is unexplained, but we're not technically infertile since we haven't been trying for a year.

When people say things like, "Relax" or, "You're trying too hard"... the only things it accomplishes are 1. pissing me/other gals who are TTC off, and 2. making them look really stupid. Would you tell someone with cancer to try and relax and maybe their cancer would go away? Or that they were too stressed and that is why they got cancer? Uhm, no. Because that would be dumb. Well, being stressed or "trying" too hard do not equal not getting pregnant. Crack whores and cancer survivors and moms of 10 children and extremely stressed out business women all get knocked up. Stress has nothing to do with it. And wtf does "trying too hard" even mean? We're having sex at the right time of the month and spend the rest of the month hoping that it did the trick. We're not traveling to Africa to have Voodoo performed on us in hopes it helps with our fertility. I guess perhaps that might be trying too hard. But wanting a child desperately does not equal trying too hard. And it does not equal infertility. There. Is. NO SUCH THING. As "Trying To Hard." To. Get. Pregnant.

Oh, and don't even GET me started on the whole, "When we stopped trying is when we got pregnant" bullshit. PLEASE people. If you "stopped" trying, that would mean you started taking birth control, or avoided having sex during your fertile time. And clearly you wouldn't get pregnant that way. If by "stopped trying" you mean didn't think about it or obsess about it all the time, okay. Fine. Want to know what that's called? Coincidence. You put TTC out of your mind and happened to get knocked up. Want to know how stories like these make women like me feel? Like jumping off a bridge. It's INSULTING. Please tell me WHAT in life happens when you stop trying? If you want to be a doctor, do you stop going to med school when it gets hard? Uhm, no. In fact, you push your way through and are commended on your dedication, determination and perseverance. If you want to be a police officer, or the President, or earn a raise at work - you try as hard as you can. Well, it's the same thing with making a baby. You try as hard as you can. You try and have as many things on your side as you can so that in the end you get the result you want.

So please. If you are friends with someone dealing with infertility, be kind. THINK about what you say. Eliminate things like, "You're trying too hard" and "Relax" and "When you stop trying it'll happen" from your vocabulary. DON'T try to act like the end-all-know-all of TTC. Be there for your friend. Ask questions if you don't understand something. Be supportive of her just as if she was working really hard at work and things weren't working out as she planned. She probably needs you now more than ever.


Erin+Josh said...

I love this post. AMEN.

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