A salesperson bounced toward me as I lifted my two-year-old into a navy-blue shopping cart.
“She is so cute. Can I have her?” she teased as the blood drained from my face.
I turned toward my precious girl, throat tightening, “No.” I shook my head.
“Why not? You can just have more,” her words pierced the armor I built around my heart.
I don't remember my reply, but I remember my heart's cry. I just had two tubal pregnancies I may never have never have more.
I know that perky college-aged salesperson had no intentions of drawing blood that day, but she wounded me. So here are a few tips for those of you who honestly want to make conversation without opening the infertility wound.
- Somethings are not your business. It is perfectly legitimate to ask someone if he or she has any children. It is not ok to ask why he or she doesn't have any. Nor is it helpful to mention the reasons having said number of children (zero to fifty-three) is a bad or good idea.
- What you find funny may not be funny…at all. You may think it is hilarious to tell your friend with three kids, “Isn't about time to try again?” But if that friend longs to have more children and can't you may be causing more pain than you realize.
- Once you know someone is dealing with infertility ask if she wants to talk don't grill her. Maybe you don't know of anyone else who is dealing with infertility and you feel like you have to know. So you start asking more questions than there are on the ACT. Slow down. Do your own research or ask her if she has any favorite websites or books that helped her.
- Just relax. The worst advice for women struggling with infertility ever…First it blames the woman for the issue, next it negates all the emotional and spiritual struggle she has been facing for potentially years. And beyond this at one point before she struggled with infertility she was relaxed…and she didn't get the baby she longed for…
- You can always… adopt, try fertility treatments, etc. None of those paths are easy. No one can guarantee a baby through adoption or treatments or going on a vacation. You can always whatever does not help because perhaps she has tried all of them and still there is no baby.
- My cousin's niece's boyfriend's sister… There are many amazing stories about miraculous births to couples who were told you will never have children. But often those stories are not helpful. Ask if you can share a success story with her. Don't assume she will want to hear about it. Although we want to rejoice with others sometimes it is difficult to get past the question, “Why not me?” So it is safest to ask first…
Words can bring hope and despair quickly. We all need to be careful and thoughtful. We never know what others are facing.