Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Harmless but Hurtful

I've been wrestling with how and whether to write this post for awhile now, but decided to attempt it anyway.   Even if you can't relate to this specific topic, I'm sure everyone has experienced those well-meaning but oh-so-gut-wrenching remarks that you just wish you could block out.  Over the past several years of struggling to get pregnant, first with Annalyn, then with baby #2, we've sure had our fair share.  The topic of kids seems to be one that nobody thinks twice about bringing up.  Working with the public, I get a double dose of questioning, prodding, and down-right rude remarks.  Since when is it ok to TELL (not ask) someone that it's really time to start having kids, or another kid?  How is that not one of the most personal, private decisions ever?  Call me sensitive, but after nearly a year of trying for each of my kiddos, the last thing I want to hear is, "Well, isn't it about time for another one?  You don't want to wait too long, you know."  Gee, thanks for clearing that up for me...

Even though I am pretty much an open book when it comes to most aspects of my life, I am very private about this one.  Not because I am ashamed or embarrassed, but because it's just hurtful to talk about.  Either you tell everyone you're trying and get constant questions about whether it's happened yet, you tell no one and bear the burden between the two of you, or you tell a select few and hope that they have the respect and kindness to pray for you, send happy thoughts your way, all the while not asking a thing.  I'm glad to talk to close friends and family about this stuff - on my terms.  On the flip side, I will never ask you (or I hope I won't!  I'll admit that I've made this mistake before.  I was just as ignorant before kids, too.).  I am always excited to talk to people about babies, the prospect of babies, and even the struggles of waiting for babies.  But I have absolutely learned not to ask.  Not because I don't care, but because I've been there.

So next time you're wondering why your friend, relative, neighbor, or co-worker hasn't started having kids, or had x amount of kids (as if there's a perfect number?), stop and think for a second that a.) the timing isn't right for them, b.) they are trying and it just isn't happening yet, and c.) it's just none of your darn business until they share that information.  Don't judge people for having one or two kids - maybe they were thrilled to be blessed with the ones they have.   Don't judge people for waiting to have kids - why rush something that will change your life forever?  If you get nothing else out of this post, please just think twice before tossing out these seemingly harmless but potentially very hurtful questions.  Show some compassion and awareness that infertility affects more people than you think and even your closest friends may not be ready to share that part of themselves with you.  Modern medicine and the gift of adoption allows so many couples to get their miracles, but it still takes time and resources, and unfortunately heartbreak and disappointment along the way.  God takes longer to make some babies than others.  His timing is perfect, but good luck convincing parents of that before that little miracle arrives.  In the meantime, it feels like everyone on the planet is getting pregnant before you.  And as genuinely happy as you are for them, each one feels like a little punch to the gut.  It's nothing personal against them, or towards you, but it hurts just the same.  Please don't be offended if I can't express my joy like I'd like to - assume I'm on some fun new medication that makes me crazy/angry/irritable/emotional/sick/you name it.  Some of you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I don't want this to sound like a rant, I'm just trying to express to you all something near and dear to my heart with the hope that it will spare even a few people's feelings by keeping those harmless but hurtful remarks to yourself.  If you are still in the middle of your infertility journey, I feel for you.  Mine is nothing compared to that of some friends, patients, relatives, and strangers.  Just have faith that miracles and science are happening every day and yours is waiting.  And the heartbreak and frustration you endure to get there makes you appreciate pregnancy and parenthood more than you can know.  Even if pregnancy kicks your butt, too, it's amazing how appreciative you can be of every meal you don't keep down, every backache after a long day, and every worry that will absolutely plague your mind throughout those 9 months of more waiting.  But it's worth it.  Believe me, friends, it is so worth it.

With lots of love and happy thoughts,


No comments:

Post a Comment