Why Giving Unsolicited Advice to a Woman Dealing with Infertility is Never Ever Ever OK

… And Other Things You Don’t Want To Hear

(Originally posted May 5, 2010 on blogspot.)

So it occurred to me as I took a shower after posting my last blog that I have potentially opened Pandora’s Box of Unsolicited Advice. Things I anticipate people wanting to say:

– Maybe it was your thyroid, that can often lead to infertility. (My reaction- it was not. That is only true if your levels are off. Mine are not, they are regulated quite well with medication. It’s been checked. Lots of times. By lots of doctors. But thanks.)

– Maybe all of the trying and worrying was the problem. (My reaction- it was not. There is actually NO scientific evidence to support this. None. I guarantee I have done more research about this than you. But thanks.)

– My friend… (fill in the blank with a thousand possible scenarios)… You should try that. (My reaction, most likely, is “I have.” But thanks.)

– Everything happens for a reason, also known as It’s all in God’s Time. (My reaction: I know. No, seriously. I know. Doesn’t make it hurt any less now. But thanks.)

– Now that you’ve adopted, you’ll probably get pregnant. (You don’t want my unedited reaction to this one. Seriously. But I can tell you that what I hear is “Now that you’ve stopped all that trying and worrying, you can have the baby you really want.” Don’t want me to have this reaction? Then don’t say it. Thanks.)

I have another fear that the “unsolicited advice” blog will make people hurt, angry, upset, whathaveya, or that they will fear I am feeling hurt, angry, upset, whathaveya. I promise this is not the case. But if I’m gonna talk about it, let’s talk about it. I am writing this Bonus Blog for several reasons:

1. I really don’t want your advice, and neither does anyone else who has dealt with this. More on that later.

2. I want people to understand that I have truly found peace in the fact that I haven’t gotten pregnant. Don’t understand why? Then you’ve probably never seen my daughter. Will I ever get pregnant? I seriously have no idea. It’s not something I think about much. I’m writing this from the “we” point of view for ease of writing and for impact, but I would no longer describe myself as someone who is dealing with infertility.

3. As I explained in a blog a while ago, one of the reasons I write is to give a voice to situations when sometimes other people can’t say it. You probably have someone in your life who is going through this right now.

4. I want the infertility part of my story to be over after today. It’s not fun.

So. Two sections. Why We Don’t Want Your Advice, and What You Can Do Instead.

Why We Don’t Want Your Advice

We know you don’t mean it, but when you give unsolicited advice to someone dealing with inferility, it comes with the following implications:

1. You have thought of something she hasn’t thought of. This is seriously so very unlikely.

2. Her difficulties in getting pregnant are somehow linked to her actions. Not only is this probably not true, but it only adds to the guilt and shame she is already feeling. I’m sorry to tell you, but this is especially true of the “Just relax/ don’t worry/ stop tryin so hard” variety of advice. I’m begging you. Don’t say it. Ever.

What You Can Do Instead

Aside from avoiding unsolicited advice at all costs? Here are some general ideas:

1. Don’t ask about it. We know you’re curious, we know you’re thinking about us. But a) it’s kinda none of your business, and even worse b) you may have caught us in a rare moment when we were not thinking about it.

2. Understand why we might not come to your baby shower. I promise you that we feel worse about it than you do.

3. If we want to talk about it, let us. But just listen unless we specifically ask about something. (which we probably will not.)

I know it sounds like a lot to ask. It’s difficult. Not nearly as difficult for you as it is for us, but difficult. Just remember to support us as people first, and try to remind yourself that it’s not your problem to fix.

Happy Cinco De Mayo!!!!

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