As I go on past two years trying to conceive, I found a common thread around the community and for myself personally.
There is a fair bit of hurt, frustration, anger, and sadness about the way those trying to conceive are spoken to by 'the others'.
We don't blame people, as unless you have been through the journey you really can't understand the emotions that it comes with. There are however the odd few in the bunch that says downright rude things, but for the most, it's just folk who aren't sure what to say or how what they say may come across.
I thought I would go and ask women around the world who are currently trying to conceive what have been the comments that have stuck with them, even some that may seem innocent have left women feeling sad and down. I have included their candid response as to how they felt. Sometimes it's hard to say how you feel at the time. But here is what they are thinking!
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This isn't a piece to have a go at those that aren't trying to conceive, this is to open the doors and help everyone understand how to cope with friends, family, co-workers, neighbors who are trying to conceive and a little 'heads up' for next time. I feel as if after speaking to so many amazing and strong women, this awareness could save many friendships and a lot of heartaches. Please read.
I have to start with my (and MANY other ladies personal favorite)...
1. "Relax, it will happen" - too many women to name
2. "You are so young“,
3. "Just try this product, I got fast pregnant with it“
4. Your Daughter (kid) needs a sibling"
5. "You should probably conclude with it“ - zarteelfe_3085
6. "Oh you don't want an age gap too big- they won't be friends!".
7. "Not to worry about your miscarriage, it means you are now extra fertile so get cracking straight away".- ali_singing_thru_life
8. "I'm kind of glad you guys didn't get pregnant yet because now maybe our kids will be the same age!" Since now they plan to start trying. - recipeforourbaby
9. "Stop trying and it will happen!" (another fav)
10. "Be thankful you have infertility. You can have my 3 kids if you want"
11. "I wasn't lucky enough to have time in my marriage like you. I was already pregnant, so enjoy it".
12. "I tried for 3 years and the second I quit trying and relaxed I got pregnant".
13. "It will happen when you least expect it/when it's meant to be." - Not only does it invalidate all the freaking hard work I'm doing but it's just so freaking stupid.
14. "It will happen by God's will" or "God has a plan!". Gee, thanks, He must hate me then.
15. "In the grand scheme of things - 6 months isn't even that long!" Buzz off!
16. "It will definitely happen cos you will be such a good mum!" It was well-meaning but fertility and how good a parent you will be is definitely not linked. There are plenty cases out there which prove otherwise and is very insulting to those who are infertile.Also sympathy from my newly pregnant work mate. It took her 14 months don't pity me for being at 6!
17. During last month's TWW: "You're pregnant, I know it!". (I was not.)This was said by the pregnant wife of my husband's best friend. She's having her baby next week.To be fair, my husband also used to say shit like this, but I love him more, so it's fine.
18. "You have one, sure you'll be fine if it doesn't happen" Yeah 9 cycles of negatives is doing fucking wonders for my mental health. And yes my son is awesome but stop belittling how painful this is after a miscarriage too.
19. This is one for the ages, I think. I have a good friend who I had confided in from the beginning. She got pregnant a few months after we started trying. When we hit the point of needing IUIs, she said: "You should do it naturally." I was like, "What do you mean?"
20. "I think the best thing for you guys to do is to relax and not have it feel like such a chore.". I had to stop talking to her about TTC because every time it came up it involved testing, doctors, and procedures, and she was pushing for "You should do it natural." She is like apparently very against medical intervention, and I'm thinking to myself, "Well, lucky you, it worked for you in 3 months so you don't have to make that decision."
21. "You should get pregnant too!". (after friends got pregnant) .
22. "When are you going to have a baby?" ,
23."Are you pregnant?". (Asked when I was PMSing)
24. "You're like an honorary mom to my kids!"
25. "Are you feeling ok?" wink wink (when I got sick twice in 2 weeks from a food allergy).
26. "Do you want to watch my baby sometime?" (not really)
27. "We're pregnant!!!!!!!!!". (An announcement that doesn't catch me off guard would be appreciated)
28. My mother said this, but has apologised for saying it to me in the past now that I've told her of my struggle, but she said "Why do you want kids? Don't have kids, breed dogs, it's cheaper and makes you money." Even though she was quoting something her grandmother said to her, it still stung, as I said she has apologised for it as she knows it hurt.
29. A while back I was at friends bbq and everyone was talking about how we are all older and everyone is getting married etc... me having been married at a very young age got asked by one when we were going to have children. I was very private about infertility back then and said that we weren’t ready yet and were waiting a little longer. She replied with “But, you guys have been married for ages, why wait, doesn’t he want children? You should really start now before you get too old and it could be too late if you have issues”. In front of a table of people. 😁 It was a great moment lol x.
30. “Why would you go on vacation on your period? You should be having sex so you can have a baby.”
31. My coworker also shoved her finger in my face and said “It took me ONE month to get pregnant, ONE! All i did was read “taking charge of your fertility, I’ll bring it for you". - onceuponamjb
32. "Just relax and it'll happen." - I'm sure we mentioned this already, but again just for sh$ts and giggles.
33. "The kinkier the sex, the better your chances. Everyone knows it's the wild night that gets you knocked up." I don't think anyone outside of the infertile and doctors understand what ovulation is for...
34. "I figured if she wasn't pregnant by 6 months I'd see the doctor and find out if there was something wrong with me." -- male friend who after about 3 cycles of TTC (trying to conceive) successfully got his wife pregnant.
35. "This was my diet when I got pregnant, I'm sure it'll work for you."
36. After a long explanation of what PCOS is and what it does to me physiologically..."I have a great (not PCOS friendly) diet, I'll get you the information on it.
37. "You're not gonna, like, freak out if your sister gets pregnant before you, are you?" -- Thanks Mom.
38. “Have you heard of OPKs? The month I used them, I got pregnant!” - After telling a nosy coworker (that kept asking when we were having kids) that we were undergoing fertility treatments. Gee wiz, after 2 years of infertility and a few dozen trips to a fertility clinic, it didn’t dawn on me to check when I was ovulating. Thanks for the tip.
39. “Just relax and it will happen”. Just trying to prove this point.
40. “As soon as you stop trying, you’ll get pregnant”
41. “God has a plan.”
42. “Don’t you want to try for the girl?” - easylivingtoday
43. "It will happen, when you least expect it".
44. "I know exactly what you are going through, we tried for -insert ridiculously low number here- months ourselves, before it finally happened".
45. "Friends of friends of friends had the same problem and once they stopped trying, she fell pregnant instantly" "
46. "Kids don't have to be the only meaning of life".
47. "Be happy, you don't have kids yet,mi ne drive me crazy"
48."Why don't you just adopt?".
49. "Maybe it's just not meant to be". and my absolute favorite one: "Well, you guys are also quite busy with work and friends...." (as if that would make up for not being able to have kids) - breathing_pineapples
50. I told a woman at my church I had endometriosis and she started telling me about her friend who has it too and got accidentally pregnant three times because she assumed she was infertile. Ugh, not helpful lady. I don’t like that it basically puts me in the position of lying because someone was nosey and I don’t want people to know we are trying. It’s too personal to me.
51. When their kids are acting up or being difficult/needy. “You sure you want this?”
Other women's response to this: -
GRRRR. My friend said that to me about my sister when she was changing her toddler. I love her dearly, but I responded: “Yes, after 3 years of trying, acupuncture, a round of Clomid, and IVF, she’s sure.”
52. My FIL was holding my nephew who threw up down his back. I made a comment just saying ewww gross. SIL comes in saying "If you can't handle that, you should have kids." I responded back "oh it's cool. Might not be able to anyway." Cue awkward silence from my in-laws and a muttered apology. I've been pretty open about our long journey and they've been much more sensitive about making comments. She said that around cycle 11 which was one of the worst months so horrible timing.
Other women's response to this:
-My SIL is the queen of this, and said it to me 2 weeks after our MC (miscarriage). Every time my 3-year-old niece does anything that remotely whiny or inconvenient, SIL looks at me and goes “You sure?” So annoying.
- My husband's 4 sisters (11 kids between them all) say this to us at least once every family gathering. Yes, yes we do want it.
53. "Must be nice to enjoy your weekend!"
54. "Gosh, I miss sleeping in like you guys do!"
55. "God has a plan". I very much believe in God and consider myself a Christian but if my sister says this to me one more freaking time I am going to lose my mind! I HATE it! Yes, I know God has a plan but it’s realllllllllllyyyyyyyyy hard to keep that in mind sometimes and it is just not helpful for her to say that AT ALL! Ugh.
Other women's' response to this:
- I don't like when people assume I believe in God and that prayer will help me, or say that it's all about "God's timing" etc. NOO!!!! I am not sure how religious people feel about these sort of statements, but I think it's offensive.And normally I don't care if people say I am in their prayers, ok that's fine I know it means something to you so that's sweet of you to say. But when it comes to TTC I don't like it.
- I’m not religious and i hate this. I wouldn’t say it offends me, but it’s super invalidating like oh God just hasn’t found me worthy of a baby yet, cool! Let me know when he changes his mind and in meantime, I’ll just “relax” 😂
- I’m pretty sure if there is a god, the hormonal regulations of women isn’t really on his list of shit to worry about.
- Totally agree. I'm very much a to each there own type of person but every time someone would say "just pray and it will happen when the time is right" I would cringe a little inside and oooor maybe when the right scientific intervention kicks in!
-Yeah, the Bible says children are a blessing, so am I being cursed??
56. "Be patient!" Listen asshole, I'm going on two years of this bull. I have no more patience!
57. “You guys are so young! You don’t need to have a baby now!”. Get out of my uterus.
58. "Well, you shouldn't have waited so long to have kids." aka you're over 30 and should feel bad about that.
59. “kids are overrated anyway!”.
60. I went to a weight loss clinic for a while and the doctor there was asking if I have any kids. I was annoyed but politely answered “Nope! Not yet.” To which he replied, “Kids are overrated anyway.”What kind of asshole?! I wanted to say “You should be glad your mother didn’t think so.” But I didn’t. I just never went back. Dick.
61. "Don't have kids in your 30s, girls..it's so hard to lose the weight!" It really pissed me off. I had to stop myself from writing a snarky comment back.
62. My OB/GYN said this to me at my consultation for infertility after trying for a year. “Is it because your friends are having babies?”
live footage of my reaction
63. Any advice on general about when you should TTC whether it's something like waiting a year after you're married so you can do stuff as a couple, or whether you should start right away because "You're not getting any younger". That is so, completely no one's business.
64. "Wait till you have traveled". I have a friend keep telling me to wait until the husband and I have traveled. I don't care about traveling and we've never had plans to travel. I care about a family and we have plans for a family. Why do they even care??
65. To anyone who's had a CP/MC (chemical pregnancy/miscarriage): "At least you can get pregnant!" It's well-meaning but not exactly comforting.
66. MC: “Everything happens for a reason” or “It just wasn’t the right time for you”. Yeah I mean I miscarried cause my baby died. And it wasn’t the right time because my baby died.
67. "Oh, it was just a CP"?.
68. Or when you're grieving a loss and they try to comfort you by saying "You'll have a rainbow baby soon enough" as if having a baby will completely replace the ones that didn't make it. Will it be a welcome distraction? Yes. But will it suddenly cure you of the trauma of losing a pregnancy and the anxiety of subsequent pregnancies? Not even close.
69. When you open up about your depressingly long TTC journey "Oh yeah, I totally understand. It took us FIVE whole months to conceive Billy"... What. You're comparing my 20 cycles to your 5 agonizing months.
70. A conversation between a couple of people at work (one a new person) about their children. New lady says to me "do you have children?" I say no and she replies "very sensible".I know it was a minor offense but it really got to me, although typing it out here makes me realize I overreacted a little!
71. Providing me any anecdotal story about someone who did IVF or just stopped trying and got pregnant. Nope. Just nope.
72. Immediately offering to connect me with this one person you know who did IVF. No. This is about as annoying as the hetero attempt to set up the two gay guys simply based on them both being gay.
73. "Just enjoy your time together before you have a child!". No, sorry, we want a child because we want to enjoy our time together with a child. Just because you and your partner had a baby before you were ready doesn't mean that every other couple is also going to regret having kids "too soon."
74. "Trying is the fun part!". Ugh right? It's fun until you find yourself falling apart mentally and emotionally because each month is another devastating blow to your dreams and another example of your failure to do something that women have been doing since the beginning of time. Soooo "fun."
75. "Just go on a trip! It worked for me!" 😒'
76. “One day you’ll get drunk and it’ll happen”. Listen, lady, if getting drunk got you pregnant I would be Octomom.
77. "Just [insert individual's unique experience]. It worked for me!"
78. "You have plenty of time". Uh, no. I don’t. I’m BRCA1+. I need to have my ovaries out in the not so distant future. And that’s just one of many many reasons why women, in general, don’t have unlimited time.
79. “Just adopt, as soon as you focus on that you’ll get pregnant too! Double the fun!” Despite this literally happening to my mom, adoption is not always the journey people can or want to take. It also is anecdotal and does not help at all.
Other woman's response to this:
- Adoption is a wonderful thing. My not-youngest younger brother was adopted from Russia when he was two and I love him so freaking much. But it was hard. Really, really hard. I was 10; old enough to pick up on a lot but still a baby so I know I was shielded from 90% of the things that made it hard. I can only imagine how grueling it was for my parents.
- Knowing what I know, I still plan to adopt in the future. And all of my siblings do too. But you are 100% right that there is no “just” about it. It’s difficult, expensive, and it is emotionally unbelievably taxing. There are so many restrictions as well that even if you have the bank account and the fortitude for it, that avenue can still be blocked for many people.
79. "Anything can happen if you want it bad enough!".
80. "Are you pregnant yet?! Hurry up!" She means well and is excited for me, but I wish I hadn't told her we were trying.
81. My current pet peeve when people find out we have fertility issues is “You can always adopt!”. Can we really? It’s pretty pricey and most of the adoption agencies out there are faith-based. It’s going to be pretty hard for this middle-class atheist couple to adopt a newborn. If adoption is so easy, why doesn’t everyone else do it?
Is it really so wrong to want a biological child?
82. "I would never do IUi/IVF (insert whatever medical procedure the person ttc is doing)". Until you’re in this situation you don’t really know what you will do. So please don’t invalidate my choices. Fck off. I don’t need your judgment or approval.
83. "It'll happen when it happens".
84. "So, when are you two going to give me a".. niece/nephew/grandkid/new friend for my precious and easily conceived child.
85. "It’ll happen as soon as you stop trying so hard".
86. "Well, you have so much going on in your life, God knows that you don’t need more to deal with". As if infertility is easier to handle than the joy of a bfp (big fat positive / positive pregnancy test).
87. "Well, of course, you’re not pregnant, with that water leak in your house, your home isn’t healthy to bring a baby in anyway! It’d just end up unhealthy!" (The leak had already been resolved prior to FW and I’m not sure how that would have impacted an invisible bunch of cells, but hey...)
88. "Just go have that thing done where they x-ray your tubes and it’ll be easy to get pregnant!". (This was a good one from an acquaintance- she’s referring to an HSG, which she clearly doesn’t understand the point or mechanism of. She also supposedly got a bfp (positive pregancy test) with her son despite having PCOS and being on the pill and using condoms. I also question anyone who casually suggests spending who knows how much money on medical tests like it’s nothing).
89. "Have you tried ____ putting your legs up/getting drunk/ etc?"I had a co-worker tell me to make sure I had an orgasm because it pulls the sperm in. Thanks...?
90. I told a friend that we were trying. Her and her husband both have children from previous marriages/relationships. They both said "not to try too hard". Lolol. They were trying for 7 months to get pregnant with their daughter they have together and she was conceived when my friend was desperate so she got blackout drunk and got knocked up with their daughter. So they pretty much said that’s what I should do if it comes down to it. Like okay, I get it and maybe I will get so desperate that I try it but for God’s sake you both have solid proof that both of you are fertile!!!! I, however, do not have proof of that for me and my husband, yet. So who’s to say that would even work for us?!
91. "Oh I wasn't trying to get pregnant, I forgot to take a day of two of my birth control pills and it just happened! I'm sure it'll just happen...especially if you're actively trying for a month or two." Literally, a friend of mine said this to me a few months ago. And this is why I don't tell anyone we're TTC.
92. My one friend who knows I'm TTC (and got pregnant with both of her kids on the first shot) just keeps telling me to "try doggy style, it'll work". eye roll
93. "It'll happen when God sees fit!"
94. "Maybe it's not happening because you're meant to adopt and God already has you in mind to be someone else's mother!"
95. "Timing is everything!" No..clomid is everything!
96. Even without the relax comments, the 'it's ok it will happen" comments are starting to drive me up the wall. Can people ever just acknowledge that I'm having a hard time and just want to vent without trying to brush off my concerns.
97. "You've got to stay positive."This one is well-intentioned, but it's frustrating to hear. I'm going to feel sad, anxious, and even angry at times, and hopeful and determined at other times. It's completely normal.
98. Every goddam time I’ve told people we may be dealing with severe MFI (only one analysis so can’t confirm yet), they’re like “you’ll get pregnant just before you start treatment, it happened to my best friend’s aunt’s sister’s teacher’s niece’s dog”.Er, no, we’re looking at close to zero sperm here, how’s that gonna happen, idiot.
99. The OBGYN nurse (unwittingly) genuinely congratulated me on a negative pregnancy test when I went for an appointment to start the fertility referral process. That was super.
100. My wife (after multiple miscarriages if that counts) - "well at least you’re fertile".
101. Any comment about us living the "Dink” life, in the context of discussing infertility.Rather than living it up, we are paying out the ass for medical bills and testing. If we ultimately need IUI or IVF we could be out thousands more with no guarantee of a baby.We didn’t choose the Dink life. The Dink life chose us.
102. "You're still young." Bitch, I'm 33 and still waiting for my first!
103. When hanging out with friends who have kids and they constantly have to say something about being a mom. "It's a mom thing!" or "I always have these on me, I am a mom after all!" Oh, yeah I have tissues on me too but I guess it doesn't count yet.
The one you WON'T believe
104. Um...so a male colleague said to me a couple of years before we fell pregnant
"So you two have been married for a while now, why haven’t you had a kid yet, is he sticking it in the wrong hole" 😳😡.Dick! - beauandmarley
Thank you to all the amazing women that contributed. Feel free to leave us your own experience in the comments. Stay tuned for the next blog post of 'what TO say'. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for updates and news (+ you will get a freebie too).