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Your "husband's cousin's friend..."


We all know someone… you know, that person that struggled with infertility for years and then they stopped trying. And then boom – they got pregnant. Yep, everyone has one of those stories about someone they “know”. Can you do me a favor, though? Quit sharing them with people while they’re in the throws of infertility. I know you mean well. I know you think it provides hope. But here’s what it really does (at least for me)… it tells me that you’re not truly listening to our story and understanding where we are. It suggests that the tens of thousands of dollars we’re spending on fertility treatments, tests, hormones, vitamins, acupuncture and doctors, are a waste. That we should just “stop trying”, and “quit stressing”. Then all of a sudden we’ll be pregnant. It doesn’t work that way for most. I love a good “miracle” story just as much as the next person, but these particular stories burn. And being open about your infertility journey means you hear these stories… all. the. time.

Personally, if we were to end up pregnant naturally right now, it would likely not end well. We’ve been told that a natural pregnancy would very likely end in miscarriage for us. We have diagnosed issues. We have had 3 pregnancy losses. And we’ve lost 4 embryos to chromosome abnormalities. You have no idea the anxiety that surprisingly ending up pregnant would bring for us, so please don’t wish that on us. You never know what kind of pain you are bringing on an infertile person by sharing that story, so please just err on the side of caution and don’t share it.

Now, don’t get me wrong… some stories do provide hope. But it has to be the right story. It has to be one that demonstrates that you truly understand the situation. Perfect example: My mom shared that a friend of hers had her baby from the 3rd round of IVF. They had pretty much given up hope, and decided to try just one more time and to their surprise they were able to create a healthy embryo that turned into a healthy baby. Now that gives me hope. And shows how in tune my mom is with exactly where we are in our journey. A friend of my husband’s reached out recently with a similar story. Those specific stories help, and they DO provide hope. But “so and so gave up, or adopted, and then they suddenly ended up pregnant” does not often provide hope to those struggling with infertility. I understand it must feel like there are lots of those stories, and I understand that you are only trying to help. But it doesn’t help, and that’s not how it happens for most.

If you’re still with me, let me be even more honest with you. This blog post has been stirring around in my head for a while now, and I’ve been so afraid to write and post it. Because I have mixed feelings. I’m sitting here telling you, “don’t do this thing because it hurts my feelings”… but that’s not really fair. I don’t think that we should live sheltered lives and never experience hurt. Hurt helps you grow, if you let it. I can write this blog and plead with you to not share these stories, but ultimately the only thing I can control is my reaction. The responsibility is mine to control how other people make me feel. And most of the time the sender of the message does not have mal intent.

So if you’d like to help the infertility community, that’s my plea today. All I can ask is that before you share a story next time, stop yourself for a second and say “is this really going to help them?”

If you’re in the position of hearing these stories and they hurt, just remember that they only hurt as much as we let them. I used to grit my teeth and smile while others shared these stories… I now respond with something like, “that’s really great for them, how exciting! Unfortunately that’s not a story we can hope for, as we have diagnosed issues that would make that really scary.” Be honest with people. The only way that we can help others help us is by being honest and helping them to understand what it feels like from the other side.

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