12 Responses to Avoid When a Couple is Struggling to Conceive


I've put this post off for quite some time. 
Here's why... I'm not angry about these responses and the last thing I want is to make people feel guilty for things they may have said to me or someone else in my shoes. However, I do want you to know so that you can avoid them. I want you to know so that maybe I can spare one tearful drive home for someone struggling or allow one more friendship to strengthen instead of distance in the face of infertility. 


These aren't awful every time. Some of these can be appropriate when coming from someone who has experience with infertility or someone who's incredibly close to the couple.... but in general, these are hurtful and upsetting when one is longing for a baby. 

 I hope that as you read these you'll hear them knowing my heart is not to scold or be hateful to anyone but simply to educate. 

~

"Have you tried..... ?
Ovulation Kits. Vitex. Clomid. Losing weight. Fill in the blank.
I'm very open with our infertility journey (some are not). Even though I'm open, it can be exhausting when everyone has a million suggestions for why I'm not getting pregnant. When you constantly makes suggestions it can feel as though there's something I'm doing/not doing that's keeping us from conception.


"God's timing is perfect." 
"Everything happens for a reason" or any other "pat" Christian phrase.
I fully believe God's timing is perfect and so do most of the Christian women battling this. However, when you say "God's timing is perfect" and go about your way, it makes it seem like that should fix it. That knowing that should eliminate my pain and longing in this season. While I wish that were the case, it most definitely doesn't.


"It will happen."
or "Your time is coming."
I am confident that I will be a mom one day and I recently felt the Lord saying that I would indeed conceive. But, there are women who don't. There are women out there who never know the joy of being pregnant. Whether or not they've received that promise from the Lord, casually saying "It will happen," often dismisses the heart break of the current season.


"Stop trying and just relax." 
While there are a few stories out there of people who completely stopped trying and then got pregnant, they are the exception. I always laugh when people tell me this because we currently aren't pursuing treatments or even doing natural family planning charting. So to stop trying would mean for us to eliminate sex.... and that's not going to happen. When month after month you watch people get pregnant so easily, it's really hard to just relax and not try. 


"Don't think about it so much."
I've never talked to a woman with infertility who could just turn off her thoughts about a baby. It's like asking a mom not to think about her children. No matter where I go or what I do, I'm hit with the reminders. TV, Facebook, friendships, church, Walmart. And even if I didn't have those external reminders, it's still one of the deepest longings of my heart therefore I would still think about it. 


"Why don't you just adopt?"
I have so many responses for this one that I already have a post about it... 


"Are you having enough sex? Too much?"
I actually get these questions. I'm not joking. 
Believe me... I have a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Google... you won't tell me anything in this department I haven't heard before. And do you really want the answers to these questions? 


"Enjoy this time just the two of you."
I do love this time just my husband and I. But together we both long for a baby. Since when does longing for something mean you don't enjoy the season you're in. When I was single, I thoroughly enjoyed that season but I never stopped longing for Joel. When you suggest we should just "enjoy this time," it makes it seem like you think we are not.


"It's completely normal for it to take... " 
6 months. 1 year. 2 years. 3 years.
Here's the reality... it's not "normal" for it to take longer than 6 months. The one I commonly heard was a year. When we hit the one year mark, it was devastating. All of a sudden, I was abnormal and dealing with "infertility." These numbers you spout will only be constant reminders of how long it is taking.


"Maybe God is waiting until....."
You move. Your marriage is perfect. You're completely content.
First of all, no one likes waiting. Also, no where in Scripture do I find that we gain what we want when we're completely content without it. Look at the story of Hannah for example. When I see the picture of the women bawling and praying to the point people think she is drunk, I don't see a woman saying, "I don't care if I ever have a son." I believe God has given these desires for a reason and we can fight for contentment in the midst of them for His glory  but not as the solution to our waiting.


"It will happen when you least expect it." 
Welp.... then it will never happen for me. 
God laid on my heart early on in this to pray expectantly. To pray believing every month that He would answer my request. So every month, I'm convinced. Every month, I get my hopes up. The one month I didn't get my hopes up didn't bring a baby but brought spiritual disappointment because I hadn't prayed expectantly.


"You can borrow mine for a few days." 
This is probably the worst for me. 
I LOVE kids and I LOVE being around them. I gladly babysit and hang out with them and then I cry on the way home. Why? You ask. Because at the end of the day they're not my own. I want babies that I don't have to give back when they want to nurse and kids that I get to tuck in at my own house. I love that you're willing to share your kids with me but instead of offering for me to borrow them, would you squeeze them extra hard tonight and thank God for the gift I'd love to have? 

~

So what would be good to say?

I'm praying for you. {For ways to pray for couples struggling to conceive CLICK HERE!}
That sucks.
I'm sorry. 


None of these fix it. But they recognize the pain in this not so fun season and they communicate you care. 


Would you consider sharing? This week is Infertility Awareness Week... maybe you passing this around could help others become a better support person to those walking this path.


If you are struggling with infertility, check out my letter to the girl with a broken heart and an empty womb and also visit my infertility page! 

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11 comments:

  1. Yes yes! I have heard all of these. the one that makes me chuckle the most is 'just go travel' because we travel ALL the time!! There is so much grace to be given to these people because clearly they have NO idea!

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  2. It took my husband and I a year and a half to conceive and it was the longest eighteen months of my life. Every time someone told me to "just relax" I wanted to scream because it really just isn't that easy. Especially when all you want is a baby and that's all that is on your mind. I am so sorry you're going through this and I hope that your struggle ends soon.

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  3. Lindsey SmallwoodApril 23, 2015 at 4:51 PM

    Thanks for this helpful post. I've been on both sides (losing a baby, struggling and then, as a mom now, having friends going through it). These are great reminders.

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  4. I just shared this article on my personal facebook page along with a summary of our current struggles with infertility (the first time I've posted about it publicly). I have received every single one of these questions/responses at one point or another and they're all so frustrating! (I even got a few of these in the comments below my link to this article. Argh!) I think it's so worthwhile to speak up about it since so many people suffer in silence or don't know what to say. I know the struggle you are going through as I'm right there too, but God is definitely using your struggle to connect with others. I appreciate your honesty, vulnerability, and truth-filled posts about it so much.

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  5. Wow, this is so insightful. Although my husband and I aren't trying for kids yet, this was such a helpful resource in case I/my married friends go through this. I love your honesty! (And I found your post from a friend sharing the link on Twitter!) :)

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  6. Hah! I heard that one a ton around our Anniversary cruise last Fall. Everyone kept saying we'd run off and get pregnant...... what they didn't know it was even the right time of month lol.... Grace yes... I pray for lots of grace.

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  7. It's so true Teresa! Sadly, so many think that's the ultimate fix... oh if they only lived 5 minutes in my brain lol.

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  8. Glad you found them helpful Lindsey!!!!!

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  9. Way to go Stephanie!!! I know it's so hard to share but I'm so glad you opened up! There will always be people to say inconsiderate stuff (sad that some said it in the comments ha) but the people you have that will come around you and pray and encourage are invaluable! :)

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  10. The support and response has been great! A lot of people ended up sharing their own stories with me, and offering a listening ear. I had no idea so many of my friends had been through the same struggle.

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  11. yeah I had the same experience when I first opened up! There were so many women that shared with me who I had never known their story.

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