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10 Things Never to Say to a Woman Trying to Conceive

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Bethany Sanders: There are the "Fertile Myrtles" (women who get pregnant with ease). And then there are the rest of us.

Conceiving our first child wasn't easy. A year had passed since we'd started trying, and it seemed like everyone around us was getting pregnant. Scratch that: Everyone around us was getting pregnant, and even though I was happy for them, it hurt.

Whether it's due to infertility or just bad luck, failing to conceive can be stressful. It's hard enough to face that lonely pink line every month without having friends and family rub it in with well-meaning "advice." If you know someone who is trying to conceive, here are 10 things you should never say to her -- and one thing that you probably should.

10 Things Never to Say to a Woman Trying to Conceive

Just Relax!Don't Think About it and It Will Happen

While it's true that stress may contribute to infertility, the fact is that it's a medical issue that can't be solved by taking a bubble bath.Besides, have you ever tried to relax on command?Here, try it:RELAX.Feel better?Told you.

Maybe You're Doing it Wrong

Huh.Well, maybe you're doing it wrong.Once you get passed a certain age, the mechanics of baby making just aren't that mysterious, people.You just made your infertile friend feel like she's too stupid to figure it out.

Everything Happens for a Reason

Or it's God's plan. If God had a plan that you should suddenly become unemployed, would you not go out and look for another job?People with no sensitivity meter think this statement is comforting, but it's actually quite hurtful.We all -- those of us who believe in God, anyway -- want to believe that God wants the best for us.

There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Infertility is emotionally, spiritually, and, often, physically painful.Don't negate another person's pain by pointing out that there are others out there who hurt more.There are no winners in the Pain Olympics.

At Least You're Having Fun Trying!

Studies show that more than 50 percent of couples report a loss of interest in sex while dealing with infertility, so ... not so much.Ever have to pee on a stick to find out if it's time to have sex?Or had to check your cervical mucus?Romantic.

My Kids are Driving Me Crazy. Why Don't You Take Them?

Your friend wants to be a parent, not a babysitter.And inside, she's quietly hating you for rubbing your fertility in her face.

You're So Lucky.You Get to Sleep In/Travel/Stay Out Late

This is the perfect way to minimize your friend's pain and daily struggle with infertility.Morning sickness, weight gain, sleepless nights, empty bank accounts -- these are things your friend is actively looking forward to, because they are part of the joy of being a parent.

It's Simple. Just Adopt!

Though an infertile couple may eventually turn to adoption, there's nothing simple about coming to that decision, and the adoption process itself is often long, expensive, and complicated.

I Think You Should (insert unsolicited advice here)

Alternate title:My friend got pregnant by drinking Mountain Dew. Infertility is a complex issue that doesn't have one single cause. Your friend is probably already being seen by a doctor who knows far more about fertility than you ever will.

My Husband Just Walks in the Room and I Get Pregnant!

That sounds like a serious problem.You better have that checked out. Another issue you might want to take a look at:Making every conversation about you.

Many people say the wrong thing because they don't know what to say, so I'll make it easy for you. 

What every woman who is trying to conceive wants to hear: "Congratulations! You'll be a great mother."

What every woman who is trying to conceive -- and failing -- wants to hear: "I'm sorry. I love you. What do you need from me?"

What's the worst thing someone said to you when you were trying to conceive?


next: Khloe: Keep Using Birth Control!
26 comments so far | Post a comment now
Shari May 14, 2010, 6:40 AM

We did get pregnant (after a year of fertility treatments) & then had a miscarriage. I was SO devastated & several people said “at least you know you can get pregnant”. Yeah, that helps a LOT. Also, another favorite was “if you just relax/don’t think about it, it will happen”.

Jennifer May 14, 2010, 6:51 AM

We tried for 2 years before I got pregnant with our beautiful baby boy. A few weeks before I discovered I was pregnant, my mother-in-law said to me (on Mother’s Day) that I shouldn’t count on something that might not ever happen.

ColleenG118 May 14, 2010, 7:10 AM

The title is 10 things never to say, but I only see the 3 things you’re supposed to say. As a “fertile Mrytle” with friends who are struggling, I really want to know what to say.

Anonymous May 14, 2010, 9:22 AM

The just adopt was very hard to hear. It can take years.

Domo May 14, 2010, 12:28 PM

Colleen,
The best thing to do for your friends is be a concerned pal. Let them open up to their heartache and fears and just be there to listen. Tell them that you are supportive of whatever they decide to do. Luckily we live in a time were there are so many options, but how to confront infertility is still a very a personal decision.

Anon May 14, 2010, 1:37 PM

BOO HOO!!

Ash May 18, 2010, 5:07 PM

Aw, you can’t conceive. How sad. Instead of selfishly “continuing your genes” and popping out a baby no one wants or needs, why not adopt a kid that NEEDS it? Or foster? People who breed disgust me. “I need to have a kid that came from ME because NO ONE ELSE IS GOOD ENOUGH.”

Foul.

Noni September 5, 2010, 12:48 PM

By far my favorite so far: “Do you think you are too skinny to get pregnant?”

@Ash: Not everyone can afford the up-front costs of a private adoption, and not everybody has the emotional stamina to care for an abused or neglected child with such intense psychological scars as those who frequently end up in the foster care system. For those who do/can, it is a noble option that many will pursue. But it is not for everybody.

N September 13, 2010, 11:48 AM

How about “So you still got your period, huh? I thought you were trying to conceive.” YES WELL IT DOESN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT FOR SOME OF US, if it will ever happen at all. We don’t need to be reminded that every month that our period shows up is another failure in TTC.

Great article and thanks for posting it.

Theresa September 16, 2010, 1:57 AM

I had to have a complete hysterectomy at 19 years old (it was either that or bleed to death). My husband (boyfriend at the time) comforts me as I still have a hard time with this - All I ever wanted from the time I was 4 years old was to become a ‘Mom’ & there are still some nights that I cry myself to sleep. My husband has been in the Navy for 13 years now (doesn’t make enough for us to even foster). We don’t have the money to adopt & fostering still costs money (more than if we did have any kids of our own). So, while I don’t feel the pain of someone trying to conceive, I definitely feel the pain of wanting to me a ‘Mom’ & instead having your heart literally hurt every time you see a pregnant woman.

@ Ash & Anon; Grow a heart!

Car Towing Companies In Dallas November 25, 2010, 1:31 AM

Mistakes are a part of being human. Appreciate your mistakes for what they are: precious life lessons that can only be learned the hard way. Unless it’s a fatal mistake, which, at least, others can learn from.

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Gail January 13, 2011, 10:25 AM

I can remember hearing “It takes older women longer to conceive” and “It takes an older woman longer to adjust to going off the pill”. NOT what a woman who just turned 33 wants to hear. The second time I heard “At least you have one.” “You have a boy, any child now would be a bonus”, “You’re choosing not take fertility treatments, what do you expect?” and once my 36th birthday passed “Some women stop having babies once they turn 35”. After 18 months we stopped trying and gracefully accepted that God wanted us to only have one child.

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Pay no attention to what the critics say… Remember, a statue has never been set up in honor of a critic!


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