Sunday, November 20, 2011

Infertility Etiquette (part 2)

As a continuation from my previous post about Infertility Etiquette, I begin with the first two rules in proper infertility etiquette.  Personally, I've had more (negative) experiences with the first rule than the second, but I believe the author of this post on RESOLVE's website does a wonderful job of conveying why the following should not be done.  Without further ado...

"Don't Minimize the Problem
Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone's life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.
Comments like, "Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.," do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn't tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father's Day or Mother's Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn't even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen
Along the same lines, don't tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the "worst" thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?  Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the "worst" thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the "worst" thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the "worst" thing that could happen.  People wouldn't dream of telling someone whose parent just died, "It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead." Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don't tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility."


  1. Wow, this post has so much truth to it. I truly loved it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. This is AWESOME! I wish everyone could read this. Seriously, these two things cause more problems when people are trying to "help."

  3. Very valid points you have brought up today. Thank you for this lesson my friend.

  4. Thank you for all of your lovely comments! I am more than happy to have you as my followee:) great word by the way! I'm glad I'm not the only one who can't cook, that makes me feel sooo much better. Ryan and I go grocery shopping and stand there dumb founded half of the time like, "uhh, what should we get?" We usually leave with frozen pizzas, well, frozen everything, sandwich stuff, and noodles. Classy right? Thank you for the congrats on my pregnancy... you know, you and I are kind of in the same boat. It's hard for you to get that positive test, and for me a positive test has never been a take home baby. You are definitely in my prayers, and I am so excited to follow you on your journey!


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