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Five Things An Infertile Couple Should Never Say

By Melanie Blodgett |

These Are ThingsWe’ve talked about the hyper-sensitivity that comes with infertility.  You’d think that this kind of struggle would make the most tactful people because, of all people, infertile couples should know how to be sensitive.  However, I’ve heard stories of jealously manifesting itself in rudeness towards others announcing a pregnancy. So while you should watch your words around infertile couples, they need to watch their words, too. Here are five things I think we should avoid in our speech:

1. Were you even trying?!
Infertile couples can all to often assume pregnancy comes easy to nearly everyone else.

2. Why don’t you save some babies for the rest of us?
It doesn’t work that way.

3. Please don’t get pregnant before me.
Fertility shouldn’t turn into a competition and you can’t dictate other people’s decisions.

4. I can’t believe you’re getting an epidural! Labor can’t hurt that bad.
I’m not one to judge other’s pain levels.

5. Are you done?
With kids that is.

I am sorry If anyone is the recipient of one of these kinds of statements.  I understand the feelings behind those statements but we can all do better, support one another, and celebrate the miracle of pregnancy.

image: These Are Things

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About Melanie Blodgett

melanieblodgett

Melanie Blodgett

Melanie Blodgett writes daily on her blog You Are My Fave, which features a mix of parties, projects, and fave finds. She's currently settling into her first home in Denver with her husband Ryan and their baby son Beck. Read bio and latest posts → Read Melanie's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Five Things An Infertile Couple Should Never Say

  1. Sarah Wright says:

    As a person who has struggled in the past with infertility, I felt like sending in my agreement to this article. You can’t complain that people are being rude and tactless if you are making comments like these. I went through a phase during our struggle when my husband and I felt as though every third woman we saw on the street and every other woman we knew was either pregnant or had a baby, and I experienced the most bitter jealosy. However I resolved that if I couldn’t bring myself to say anything nice then I wouldn’t say anything at all. (It didn’t last that long, I’m glad to say.)

  2. Dancing Branflake says:

    So true! It is so easy to become cynical. Thanks for this warning- very much needed for all. I love that you flipped the tables and looked at it from a different angle.

  3. Rhonda says:

    I am in that super jealous phase and I just try to keep my comments to myself. I am jealous of every single pregnant woman or anyone who has more than 2 kids. I hate people being rude to me about my secondary infertility, so I know they will hate my being rude about their good fortune. I just congratulate them and internalize my jealousy. Although I do have a really good friend (with 5 kids) and she recently had a baby…and she just accepted that I’d be jealous and told me how bad she felt for me. I appreciated the fact that she just put it out there and said “hey it’s okay for you to feel like that and I’m sorry that you do”

  4. Laura says:

    or what my sister in law said one day….”The only people who have babies these days are ignorant, on welfare and don’t deserve them.” ….yes, while I was sitting next to her 9 months pregnant.

  5. bwsf says:

    It is so tough to be pregnant around someone who wants to be so badly. I remember with my first pregnancy, I didn’t tell this one acquaintance until I was like, 7 months or something. I was just so terrified of making her feel bad, because she was always so vocal about how, “pregnant women are so arrogant”. I know her statement came from anger and frustration, but still…

  6. jms says:

    How come no one ever uses spellcheck for these articles?

  7. Michelle says:

    As someone who has gotten pregnant easily, I always feel guilty around my friends who have had problems conceiving or were scared they would because of certain circumstances. I talked to them openly about it and told them their feelings of jealousy or anger were valid, and I wouldn’t take them personally because they can’t help how they feel, just like I can’t help the fact that I got pregnant while on birth control-twice. It just sucks, it isn’t fair, and it’s okay to say so. That being said, I had private conversations with them and gave them an opportunity to vent their feelings, these comments from someone you may not know well, in public, or unsolicited will come across as rude, even though the feelings come from a real place.

  8. Holly says:

    This is one of the worst posts I have ever read. Really, is it necessary to educate someone who is grieving on what is polite to say? Is there going to be a follow up such as “5 things a person who has just miscarried should not say?” Infertility is a horrible thing to suffer from. And, yes, bitterness does come with the territory. As it does for anyone who is grieving- whether they have lost a loved one, or are suffering from a terrible disease such as cancer. Noone would ever write a post singling out one of these groups about what they should and shouldn’t say, so why is it acceptable for infertility? Totally insensitive.

  9. hannah singer says:

    so thankful for this, i think this is a great post. i have never wanted anything more than to have lots of children. guess what? i cannot have them. after losing two babies, and later a hysterectomy, there is just zero possibility. i have experienced severe insensitivity to my grief. i realized early on, rarely does anyone plan to hurt my feelings. it was hard, but i have learned to rejoice with those who rejoice! i still grieve, but choose to stomp out bitterness because it hurts me even more. it pains me to see those who are not choosing joy in their pain. we will never heal until we can make that choice.

    thanks for the post melanie! xo

  10. Kersey says:

    I think this is a great topic for a post. It has helped 9 out of 10 commenters, so imagine how many other people it could help! To Holly, the one person who had a problem with this post, is it really necessary to leave such a negative comment? And yes, I do think that any advice someone with personal experience can give is very helpful. Obviously that’s apparent from the other comments.

    Thank you Melanie! This is very helpful to me and I’m sure LOTS of women/couples out there.

  11. Karen says:

    I would describe this post as more thoughtful than insensitive. Great job, Melanie.

  12. lizzie says:

    We’re not trying, we’re not even married yet, but a lot of our friends are dealing with pregnancy and infertility and miscarriages. To Holly – I think this post is great and I think it goes to more than just infertile couples, pregnant couples (there are PLENTY of faux pas pregnant couples break) or anything like that…it’s more about having some damned common sense when you talk to people. Think about what you’re saying and how uncomfortable it would be to be on the receiving end of it. Infertile couples might be grieving, it might be all you can think about, but as a general rule, unless they’re your very closest friends (who you talk about this kind of thing with), it’s uncomfortable to be assaulted with grief from someone who’s going through a hard time and who you don’t know all that well. Babies are weird. The process of getting pregnant and how you have to change and all of that is weird. Not being able to get pregnant is one of those raw human emotions that not everyone feels, but most can understand the gravity of…so give people some credit that they’re probably more sensitive than you think…they’re probably tiptoeing as it is, and do they really have to change the way they have children or how many children they have for your sake? You would wish that on a friend?

    Just thinking.

  13. Diana says:

    I think this is a great companion article to the other post you did about what not to say TO an infertile couple. It’s nice to consider both sides of the coin. I realize being infertile must be a terrible thing to go through, but it’s still nice to be considerate of others.

    When I was grieving the death of a boyfriend, it was so difficult to be around happy couples and weddings and everything, and basically just anyone in love. Of course I was bitter and jealous and resentful and hurting, but it doesn’t make it right to lash out to others and not show them kindness, respect and love. I know it’s incredibly difficult at times, but it should at least warrant some thought and consideration.

    Great article Melanie!

  14. Lashley says:

    I think it’s easy for anyone, when grieving or struggling, to feel alone in that struggle. To me this post is a reminder that it’s inappropriate for me to assume that I am the only person struggling at any given time. Like the (author not really known, but sometimes attributed to Plato) quotation, “Be kind; everyone is fighting a hard battle.” So, yes, quite the opposite of insensitive.

  15. Carmen says:

    In the end this is about trying to control one’s bitterness and frustration. Share it but not “pollute” others with it. I do not think this is a bad post but that it makes you think about how to deal with infertility from all sides. I went through three miscarriages and, sometimes, I must have been really a kind of “load” for my friends and relatives, trying to obtain comfort in a (let´s call it) “passive-aggressive” way. Congrats for all your work and good luck. Carmen

  16. Kelly says:

    This is not the worst blog post ever… It is a good idea to think of others first, even if you are going through something tough yourself. If people are upset by this post, maybe it is because they have found themselves saying the insensitive things off of the list and feel a need to justify their personal actions.

  17. Tyler says:

    Owned.

  18. Jessica says:

    Amen! Just because we are suffering, doesn’t give us a green card to be rude or unthoughtful. Everyone can always find a few or MORE things to be grateful for. Responsibility for our tongues! Thanks, Melanie!

  19. Canuckmom says:

    I especially agree with “Were you even trying?”
    A friend of mine had two kids, were struggling financially with them, sold their crib, stroller, etc, got a vasectomy, and got pregnant for a third time. They were terrified and upset, she had to quit her job they were counting on, take the kids out of activities, buy everything baby-related again. She had terrible morning sickness and was exhausted. You can get pregnant and be suffering too. I know it’s not the same as infertility, but unless you know, don’t say ANYTHING.

  20. cindy says:

    when i was 7 months pregnant with my first, i had lunch with a couple (both of whom i’m friends with) after having been out of touch with them for several years. the guy in the couple was so happy for me and my husband but the woman just kept making comments like, “can you believe YOU got pregnant? YOU?!?? you used to drink and party so much! who would have thought you were going to be somebody’s mother??” i laughed it off but was really annoyed–she kept repeating it! yes, when i met her originally, i used to party all the time. so what? that means i shouldn’t be entitled to child? afterwards, i found out that it was because they’d been trying to get pregnant for 3 years and were on their second IVF cycle. they finally had twins from their 3rd IVF attempt and she still makes comments like that to me every time i see her–especially when i had baby #2. i realize that it sucks to have a hard time conceiving but the rest of us are not getting pregnant just to rub it in your face. i’m glad i came across this post because all i’ve been seeing around is tons of “what not to say to someone with infertility” and the like.

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