More things not to say to someone struggling with infertility (even if you don’t know)

  • “Don’t wait too long to have kids” : Oddly, this isn’t an unusual one for me. People seem to assume that I prioritize career over family. It’s sometimes useful to go with that assumption, especially when I’m asked:
  • “When are you planning to have kids?” : One of these days, I’m going respond with a rant about the state of my insides. And I know plenty of information that makes the average person squirm.
  • “Do you have kids?” : This one’s a new one and unexpectedly painful. The context was that I was at a friend’s kid’s bday party. And yes, there were lots of kids running around. But surely if one of those were mine, I would have introduced him/her? And can’t I attend a birthday party without having a kid? Is that somehow a prerequisite?
  • Inviting a baby-ed couple to their kid’s bday party. And not me. Right in front of me. : Yes, this actually happened. And couples A and B had pretty much just met.

As I’ve crossed 30, increasingly, it feels like the mommies have some exclusive club. And because you don’t have a kid, you can’t possibly know how hard it is to be a parent. And you can’t possibly understand problems that arise or how to trouble shoot those. I actually like hearing about their kids and how they’re doing. These are my friends, of course I want to know what’s going on in their lives. But not at the exclusion of all else. And, please, return that friendship and do me the courtesy of asking “Are you doing ok?” or “I’m sorry you have to go through this.”

Definitely with certain friends, it’s felt like I’m now less worthy to be a friend. For now, I’ve ghosted but honestly, I think one of these days, I’m going to break and end up saying something like “F*** you. You have no idea what I’ve been through.”

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9 thoughts on “More things not to say to someone struggling with infertility (even if you don’t know)

  1. I totally feel you when you write that mommies are an exclusive club. I see that in my sister. I live in a state where I didn’t grow up so i don’t have that many friends. So I’m kind of isolated from the mommy clubs and outings.

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  2. As time passes and more people move on to the parenting stage in life I recognize just how much of a social glue kids are. There are so many things we get left out of that I’ve stopped keeping track just for my sanity. It’s not like I necessarily want to go to everything, but to be asked and included would be enough.

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  3. Those comments are often unexpectedly hard, even if you think you are prepared for them (a rote answer is usually the way to go). I imagine for younger infertiles it’s probably even harder in a way. Talk about “planning” is what always got to me, even after we had a child. It’s been YEARS since we fancied we could “plan” for children. I think that illusion died within a few months of ttc. That one word and assumption feels like a huge chasm between me and other parents. They plan; I compulsively gamble with one of the most important parts of my life. Anyway, good for you for still going to birthday parties. Moms may be a club but it’s good for children to meet a variety of people and not assume everybody is exactly like their family. Even though I know way more childfree people than people with kids, my daughter is still figuring out that not all adults have kids lol.

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  4. I have gotten more and more blunt with people about this, as I’ve become more and more battle-hardened. I get asked often if we’ll have another, by people in the know and not. It is hard, really hard. My go-to is “we might, but we don’t even know if we can, it took a lot to get to here”. And gory details of they either ask or continue to ask oblivious hurtful questions.
    It is a club, the moms. But I bet if you said to those friends “hey, I’d love to come, do you mind?” (Which sounds awkward), they’d ask you every time. I have childless friends who would feel obliged to come to a party but would hate it violently, and friends who would have a ball. I’ve tried to figure out who is who but I bet I’ve gotten some wrong, and would be happy to be told!

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    1. I’m very much of the mind that gory details solve a lot of social problems 😀

      Lol, that sounds awkward. To be fair, in this particular case, its not like I’d want to go but I found it weird that they assumed I wouldn’t. Especially when this was _at_ a kids party.

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