This is a tad long...but worth reading. I saw this on one of the infertility message boards that I go to regularly. Can you imagine hearing these things being told to someone in a wheelchair? People would be outraged...but yet it happens on a daily basis to infertile women (and men). And yes some of these things have been said to me...by people that mean well but just don't understand how insensitive these comments can be. And all I can do most of the time is smile politely and nod....for if I tell them they are being insensitive, then I am the bitch. I become the one who is being overly sensitive. What if I asked you when you were planning to have sex with your husband? What if I went to your wedding and in the receiving line I asked if you were ovulating that night and were planning to get pregnant?
No amount of relaxing will open up my tubes or get my husband to make more, better quality sperm. I can go through all of these expensive treatments and still not have a baby. And while I adore children...I don't want yours....I want my own. I want to look at my baby and find my nose or my husband's smile. I want to compare our baby pictures to our little one and see who they look like more.
So please read through this and in your mind replace being a paraplegic with being an infertile. Have you said these things to someone you knew was struggling with infertility? Have you made some of these comments to someone without knowing anything about their desire to have a child? Have you started a casual conversation with another person and asked if they have children? (Ever thought that maybe they don't have children because they are struggling to conceive?) It all seems innocent until you take a moment to step into their shoes and take a walk around. Try to apply this to your own life and think about how you would feel if someone constantly reminded that you have failed to achieve your biggest goal.
So, what do you think people would say to you if you were paraplegic instead of infertile?
1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you’ll be able to walk again!
2. You can’t use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralysed. I get so tired of walking, and if I were paralysed I wouldn’t have to walk anywhere!
3. My cousin was paralysed but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.
4. I guess God just didn’t mean for you to be able to walk.
5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown toenail.
6. Sorry, we don’t cover treatment for paraplegia, because it’s not a life-threatening illness.
7. So… when are *you* going to start walking?
8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk walk – everywhere I go!
9. But don’t you *want* to walk?
10. You’re just trying too hard. Relax and you’ll be able to walk.
11. You’re so lucky… think of the money you save on shoes.
12. I don’t know why you’re being so selfish. You should at least be happy that *I* can walk.
13. I hope you don’t try those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.
14. Look at those people hiking… doesn’t that make you want to hike?
15. Just relax, you’ll be walking in no time.
16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up and down the stairs all day.
17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and was worried I’d have a permanent limp, but I’m 100% healed.
18. I’d ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair will look out of place at the altar.
19. You’re being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and looking at all of my track & field trophies.
20. Don’t complain, you get all the good parking places.
21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.
22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!
23. You don’t know how to walk? What’s wrong with you? Here let a real man show you how to walk!
24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then you’ll walk.
25. Here, touch my legs, then you’ll walk!
26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to get you walking!
27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to walk too much.
28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn’t find books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running…
So here’s a little hint. If someone you know tells you that she’s trying to get pregnant and it’s taking longer than expected, DON’T tell her to just relax. Don’t tell her to adopt and then surely she’ll get pregnant with her own child. Don’t tell her that God has a plan for her. Don’t say, “At least it’s fun trying!”
Scheduling sex with the person you love isn’t fun. Getting vaginal ultrasounds every other day and intramuscular injections in your ass twice a day isn’t fun. Finding out every single month that – yet again – it didn’t work this month either is Just. Not. Fun.
DO tell her that you’re sorry she’s going through such pain/grief/frustration. Do tell her that you’re glad she told you. Do tell her that, even if you don’t bring it up (because you want to respect her privacy and understand that she might not feel like talking about it sometimes), that you’re there for her if she ever wants to talk or vent.
And DON’T feel that because she told you that it’s okay for you to tell your other friends, children, co-workers, neighbors, cousins, mailman, whomever – unless she tells you that it’s okay to do so. Your need to share news pales in comparison to her need to maintain a shred of privacy and dignity. The last thing your friend needs is to be at someone’s garage sale and get unsolicited advice from said secretary’s sister’s cousin’s dogwalker’s barista about how she and her husband just need to get really drunk one night and jump in the back seat of the car. Because she’s probably already tried that, too.