I have grown to realize that many don’t know/understand the hurt behind their words. Although a simple phrase can be so hurtful, I truly believe they just don’t understand.
Phrases NOT to say to someone struggling with fertility:
“you will be a Mommy/Daddy someday…”
“you’d be great parents…”
“you’ve just gotta keep practicing…”
“have you thought about adoption?…”
“just stop thinking about it, it’ll happen…”
“ugh, kids are such a pain – be glad you don’t have any…”
“have fun with it…”
“want to borrow my child?…”
“oh, my friend struggled with fertility… they did this…”
“just adopt a kid, then you’ll get pregnant…”
“stop being so upset/depressed…”
“you really should be happy with what you’ve been blessed with in life already…”
“enjoy just the two of you…”
“oh, I bet that’s great birth control for you…” (when changing a diaper, hearing a kid throwing a fit, etc. – FYI, none of that turns me away from being a Mommy)
We’ve heard them all, and more. These statements have stung (some pretty deep) over the years. Many of them come from a pure heart and from someone who wants to love, encourage, and give us advice. While we love you, please think through your words before speaking to someone hurting (whether fertility or another situation in their life).
Our hearts have been created to love children. We know the challenges of parenthood (and I know we’ll understand them fully when we are parents), but that does NOT deter us from wanting sweet children. Any chance I get, I will change both of my nieces’ diapers. If one is fussy/crying I’ll snatch them up and attempt to calm them. I thoroughly enjoy walking through the door or in to a room and being greeted by their sweet smiles and pure joy. God has designed my heart as a Mommy, and Jake’s heart as a Daddy.
What are some phrases you can use instead?:
“We love you.”
“Our hearts and our prayers are with you both.”
“How are you doing?”
“How can I help carry your burdens?”
“Want to meet up for coffee or a game night?”
“Been thinking about you…”
“I don’t understand all that you’re going through, but if you ever want to talk I am here…”
Guess what? We’re still humans who thrive on human interaction. We have bad days and sometimes need time alone, but most we still enjoy normal activities. You can simply let us know you love us and are praying for us – as we are ready we will share more. When we do share, listen. Your suggestions may be great ones, but we usually aren’t ready to hear them (and most likely have heard them before and/or tried them already).
Do you know what can hurt the most?
When someone who has been through their own fertility journey (recently or years ago) truly forgets the pain, fear, frustrations, hurt, emotional roller coasters each month and so forth. They say just as hurtful of statements, and try to downplay parenthood to make you feel better. “We didn’t realize kids would be this difficult…” “I wish we would have spent more time as just the two of us before kids…” I pray that Jake and I never forget our journey. That we never forget our joys, sorrows, and pain through these many years – and that we always love and encourage others who also struggle.
May we use this pain to show others love.