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Infertility Cubby

What Did You Say? A Guide to Comebacks
by Chelsey Langland

One of the pitfalls of infertility is dealing with less than sensitive comments from well-meaning friends, family, and strangers. Often, we hear things that make our jaws drop, but we're at a loss for a reply. Here are some common things that infertility patients hear all the time, with replies that range from restrained and polite to downright sassy. You can pick the one which best fits the situation.

Comment #1: "You should just relax/go on a cruise/go on vacation/have a drink. You'll get pregnant for sure."

"Infertility is a disease, not a mental failing. I [or my partner] have a physical condition which is preventing us from conceiving. Would you tell someone with diabetes to 'just relax' and stop taking insulin? Of course not; it would be insulting. My disease of infertility is no different."

"I don't have any fallopian tubes. It doesn't matter how relaxed I am; my eggs are not going to make it to my uterus."

"Why should I relax? Do you think I'm making my husband's sperm nervous?"

Comment #2: "You are so lucky to be childless; you can sleep in, take spontaneous vacations, and buy nice things for yourself."

"I want to have a baby more than anything in the world. I know you're trying to help, but could you imagine life without one of your child(ren)? Of course not. All of the positive aspects of childlessness in the world don't hold a candle to my desire to have a baby."

"You know, if your mother died in a terrible accident I wouldn't tell you, 'Oh, you're so lucky, you don't have to worry about buying Mother's Day gifts anymore.' My situation is no different. There is nothing positive about being infertile."

Comment #3: "I'm sure that God has a plan for all of this" OR "Maybe God doesn't want you to be a mother."

"It may be that God does have a plan, but that doesn't do anything to lessen the hurt that I feel month after month when my prayers are not answered."

"Really? Then I guess it's God's plan that drug addicted women who abuse their children have baby after baby. That seems fair."

Comment #4: "So, when are you two going to have kids?"

"Why would you ask such a personal question?"

"The answer to that question really isn't in our hands."

(To a man) "So, when is your next prostate exam?" (To a woman) "So, when is your next pap smear?"

Comment # 5: "Why don't you just adopt? You'll get pregnant for sure."

"Adoption is a wonderful option. But, it's an expensive and lengthy process, and we aren't quite ready to take that step at this time. In addition, it's a myth that people who adopt suddenly get pregnant. In reality, only about 5 to 10 percent of adoptive couples end up becoming pregnant."

It's hard to quickly respond to comments which are hurtful or make you angry. Hopefully these hints will help you deal with the next situation that comes your way.

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