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The ART of Unwanted Comments
a blog by Beckie D., September 25, 2013
If you have spent any amount of time dealing with infertility you will have quickly learnt the lack of understanding and compassion that comes along with this diagnosis. Even your closest friends and family just don’t get it. You want to reach out, be understood, be heard and mostly be loved but you sink back down into the pit of despair and frustration.
It is one of the most difficult things I have had to face and still challenges me daily. I have been dealing with infertility for nearly 6 years and I wish I could say that I have mastered this but the truth is I haven't. One thing I have come to accept about people is that they cannot understand. They will never get it because it is so far from the realm of something that they can relate to and relatability is what it all boils down to. On the outside everything appears normal but they don't see the longing, loss and constant disappointment infertility brings.
When we first found out about our infertility we were a part of a small group at church. A couple of years passed and soon we were the only ones without a baby. This was a low point in my journey, I felt lonely and isolated. The last time I attended the girls talked for over an hour about babies, pregnancy and anything in between all the while they knew we were desperately trying for a baby. It felt like such a personal attack...how dare they talk about this for hours when they know I am hurting.
I felt my life changing, the people I was once closest to now seem distant. One of the most hurtful comments I can remember came from a good friend. She was pregnant at the time with her first and I was desperately trying to keep things together, celebrating her joy but yet looking after my broken heart. Jealousy and anger were an emotion I felt often and had to keep in check. During lunch we had been talking about IVF and how more than likely that would be our only option. She looked at the me said “I cannot believe you guys would consider spending that kind of money on that.”
Needless to say I left that meeting crushed, defeated and a complete mess. I cried for days and I wondered if she stopped to think about how hurtful that comment was. From that point on it seemed like I couldn’t say anything without offending someone. People saw me as angry and crass. Where I needed compassion and understanding there was little. My own family didn't even get it, telling me I need to be less angry and accepting of my situation.
So here I was, treading water trying not to drown.
Support did not come from the people you would expect, which came as a surprise. I was looking for support from the wrong crowd, people who either didn’t care or just couldn’t understand the magnitude of what I was going through. For me, support came from an awesome online community, a great local support group and from an awesome husband who will literally let me say anything crass and angry without even blinking an eye. Once I found acceptance I was able to say my truth and start to process my true feelings.
We could start a long list of hurtful and pointless comments made by others. Here is a classic example...
I knew this girl who tried for years to have a baby and then they stopped trying, and bam, she got pregnant. I'm sure you've been told the exact same thing at one time or another.
This person is more than likely just trying to help out. She or he is trying to relate to your situation. The problem is that this DOESN'T help. Comments like this hurt and over simplify a very complicated and personal situation.
The best way to combat negative and unhelpful comments? Find people who love you and really do understand the daily battle you face. Find a support group or start a blog. Start connecting with people who are facing the exact same things you are. They will understand EVERY emotion you are facing and will support you the best they can. I remember when I first started reading blogs, I had never felt so accepted, someone actually understands!
As for family and friends, don't ever apologize for feeling a certain way when it comes to infertility. State your truth and your feelings. They are yours and you have every right to them. Be honest with people. If they say something hurtful, kindly let them know so they can correct it next time. The people who continually say hurtful things aren’t your friends.
Learn to trust yourself, you and you alone know what is best for you and your family. Try to keep positive even though some days you may completely fall apart. Falling apart is not a sign of weakness but a sign you are human. We all have a greater purpose in this life we just have to hang on long enough to find out exactly what that is.