Fertility Specialists of Texas

People…. They Say the Darndest Things

 December 30th, 2016

{July 29, 2016}

Wherever you are along the infertility spectrum, you’ve likely been on the receiving end of some pretty interesting questions, comments or ill-worded advice. What people say is sometimes different from what they mean, and certainly different than what you may hear. The heart, head and mouth are funny things, and they sometimes get us into trouble. I’ve rounded up a few of my favorite cringe-worthy comments and my M.O. for surviving what certainly won’t be the first or last that I hear of these.


strong>”When are you going to have kids?”

What you heard was: Geez, I mean it’s been long enough, why aren’t you pregnant?

What they meant was: Starting a family is so exciting, we think you’re great and are so excited for you to have one! Please, start yours soon!

This one is my favorite. And really, it’s a question I simply don’t ask anyone – ever. Everyone has a reason for why they do or do not have kids at the current moment. Everyone. Maybe you don’t want kids, maybe your spouse doesn’t. Maybe it’s just not the right time. Maybe you’ve just had a miscarriage. Maybe you’ve had your 5th miscarriage. Maybe you’re trying. Maybe you’ve been trying for 3 years. Really, there are a number of different ways to respond to this. You can choose to be snarky and say something like (I did once) “Never. We found out we can’t have kids, but thanks for asking.” Over the years, my response to this question has changed and my reply has become more authentic and brave. Over time, I learned to open up (maybe not spilling every last detail), but found myself being able to share that we would love nothing more than to start a family, but haven’t had any luck with it yet and that I looked forward to giving them an update when there was one.

“Maybe if you just relaxed, it would happen”. Or, “My friend, she went to (insert tropical destination here) and just got plastered (insert alcoholic beverage of your choice here), and she came back pregnant.” Or, “My sister, she tried for 6 years and once she quit trying, it just happened.”

What you heard was: If you can talk yourself off the cliff and manage your stress, you’d get pregnant. Your stress is causing your infertility. The combination of alcohol, white sandy beaches and blue water are shown to increase fertility. Give up, it’ll happen.

What they meant was: I am so sorry you feel so stressed about not getting pregnant … I know people who have gone through infertility and ended up getting pregnant … You deserve a vacation, and who knows, maybe you’ll get pregnant!

Yes, people randomly get pregnant after trying for a long time. And, maybe you’ll be one of the lucky ones. But, just because you try for years and then give up in exasperation, doesn’t mean you will. My husband and I tried the tropical/vacation route more than once while going through infertility. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t work. What it did do was give us a nice break from the day-to-day grind, and a nice chunk to pay off on our credit card. Dr. Goldstein didn’t have any statistics to give me on the surf, sand and sunshine fertility model, but he did tell me that I deserved to have my life back. He reassured me that stress wasn’t causing my infertility. Plenty of really stressed people get pregnant every day. And while stress wasn’t causing the infertility, it also wasn’t helping. You (yes you!) deserve a break. Whether that’s on a vacation, going shopping, spending time with women who understand what you’re going through (the list could go on), you deserve it. You deserve to find joy in the journey, and we can help you with that.

Maybe this is God’s way of telling you you’re not meant to have kids.”

What you heard was: You’re fighting what God wants for you. Give up already. Don’t you know if you don’t get pregnant naturally, you’re not supposed to? Your efforts are pointless because God doesn’t want you to have kids.

What they meant was: I am really religious and try to find meaning in everything. Maybe your plan is different than what you’ve been trying for.

I died inside the day I heard this one, and luckily I only had it said one time. This was probably THE HARDEST comment I had to work through. Each of us believes differently- and God/a Higher Power may or may not be part of your belief system. During my struggle with infertility, I found it really challenging to reconcile my faith with the reality of my circumstances, and I think that’s why this statement is hard. I can’t tell you there’s a perfect response to this one. The girl I am today would like to say, “Some of the best things in life are worth fighting for. I am so grateful that God let me experience the pain of empty arms. I have so much appreciation for my two babies because I fought so hard for them”. Embrace this journey, and find the meaning of it for you.

Have you considered adoption?”

What you heard was: You obviously can’t get pregnant, so you should just go ahead and adopt. Or, why try fertility treatment when there are kids who are in need of good homes?

What they meant was: There are so many ways you can become a parent! I think adoption is beautiful, have you thought about it?

In reality, you’ve probably dreamed of every imaginable option to become a parent … A magical stork dropping a baby on your doorstep … some random cousin calling to tell you she’s pregnant and can’t parent the baby … asking your husband to pack one in his suitcase during his last trip to East Asia. There are so many ways to find your pathway to parenthood, and at this point you’ve probably had thoughts about many (maybe even all) of the different options to get there. Adoption is beautiful. Just like IVF, surrogacy or (gasp) getting pregnant in the privacy of your own bedroom is beautiful. Choosing IVF doesn’t mean that adoption isn’t as meaningful or any less of an authentic way to become a parent. At the end of the day, they’re just different choices. Research and pursue the one(s) you think will bring you the most joy.

Brene Brown says our deepest human yearning is to be “known and seen and to know love and belonging.” At the end of the day, I think each one of us is doing the best we can though it’s hard to see sometimes. Navigating difficult conversations, well-meaning, but poorly-phrased comments, and finding a way to be known and seen while going through infertility takes an incredible amount of vulnerability. But, where there is vulnerability there is bravery. And you, my friend, are brave. And we’re here to soldier on with you.



Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of two amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog  — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: fstivfmom@gmail.com.

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