The other day I found myself in a group conversation about someone else’s fertility. Not that it makes it any better, but the person who was being discussed wasn’t in the room. (Yes, everyone was gossiping behind their back, as people seem to do all too often).
Needless to say, after five losses of my own, these are the types of conversations I try to avoid because I know just how hurtful it is to have people continually ask about your childbearing plans while actively going through losses and visiting infertility specialists. I now what it’s like to run to the bathroom and hide as tears stream down my cheeks. I know what it’s like to schedule my entire life around medical appointments. I know what it’s like to go through multiple invasive medical procedures and return to work and “normal” social activities sometimes that same day. I know the hidden loss of dreams and hopes that comes along with the loss of a baby and the loss of your presumed parenthood. I know what it’s like to be the one people talk about because she really should have had kids by now. I know just how hard infertility and pregnancy loss are, and so I never engage in conversations about other peoples family planning.
Anyways, while the conversation was unfolding, someone in the conversation simply stated, while looking at me,
After knowing what Mrs. MPB went through, I’ll never again ask someone or pressure someone to talk about their plans for children. I realize now just how hard those conversations can be when things aren’t going according to plan.
I can honestly say I was shocked when she said this because I realized that she learned from our experience. The person who made this statement will never understand what it’s like to loose multiple pregnancies as she is the mother to a couple healthy children, but as she spoke I appreciated realizing that she did learn something from our experience. And she’s actively trying to be more compassionate.
I was rather quite prior to her statement, but felt I should probably speak up as I was clearly drawn into the conversation. I responded simply,
Yes, it can be incredibly invasive and insensitive to ask such personal questions about someone’s fertility. It’s the reason that I never ask about anyone’s future plans to have children or not. I figure it’s a personal decision that people will talk about when and if they want to.
Needless to say that conversation ended as everyone moved onto something much less awkward.
As for me, all I was left think is that plain and simply, infertility sucks. I desperately wish more people could be more compassionate and supportive of those going through infertility. I also desperately wish that more people would realize that even if you one day someone going through infertility finds their way to a child (as we did via open adoption) the hurt of the losses, both figurative and literal, never goes away. The insensitive things people say, are never forgotten. And so today I’m thankful that if nothing else, at least one person has learned from our experiences.
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