“So when are you two going to start having kids?”
“You don’t have any kids?!”
“Why don’t you have any kids?”
For someone who is dealing with infertility, these seemingly harmless questions are daggers in an already broken heart. They feel rude, insensitive, and like an invasion of privacy. The emotional pain one experiences through all the trials of infertility is unlike anything else. There is no way to fully explain what it all feels like. The doubt. The fear. The pain. The stress. The heartbreak. Unless you have experienced it yourself, there is no way you will ever understand it, so don’t try.
If someone you care about is dealing with infertility, here is some unsolicited advice. Just don’t ask. For many years, almost everyone felt they had the right to know why I had not yet passed a small human through my vagina. When I would react as if that were a private matter, their reactions were always puzzled, never understanding. Since it is impossible to ask the question without delivering the sting, just don’t ask. My rule was, if I wanted to talk about it, I would. It took a long time to get everyone in my life on board with that rule. I always knew they meant well. I always knew they wanted to be supportive. However, that never made the pain in my heart any easier to handle.
Infertility comes in many shapes and sizes. How one deals with it is private. My husband and I lived with infertility for many years. At times, I would want to share a piece of what I was feeling or what we were going through and I would talk about it. It was always difficult to talk about, but sometimes it helped. Early on I noticed a problem arise. Once I had spoken about it to someone, they would later start to ask questions to the point that my fertility problems became a regular topic of conversation between us, just like asking about a home improvement project or a pesky toothache. It was as if that one time I chose to share my feelings on the subject made the whole thing suitable for conversation. This might seem like I was being overly sensitive, but that is true only if you have never gone through it. Just don’t ask. Even if you are truly concerned with their well being, don’t ask. Wait for them to tell you.
I watched a movie and a woman was upset because she found out she was pregnant. I cried. I saw a commercial about how easy it is to find out you’re pregnant if you use this one home pregnancy test. I cried. A friend announced she was having a baby. I cried. I got my period after trying yet another fertility treatment. I cried. Someone, yet again told me not to worry and that it would happen. I cried.
Infertility hurts. It is exhausting. It is painful. It is heartbreaking. So if you’re feeling curious, keep it to yourself. Don’t ask.