4/24/2014

Infertility: Five Things You Shouldn't Say

1.) Never ask a couple when they're going to have a "family of their own."

Eh-hem...

Let me be clear:

NEVER ask a couple when they're going to have children.

Why?

Well, frankly it's none of your business.

But also -- and perhaps most importantly -- it could be a really painful question to answer.

So just quit it.

[And for the record: A couple with no kids is still a "family" in my book.]

2.) Never tell a couple to "relax."

This means, DON'T tell them they'll conceive if they take a vaca.

Seriously?

That is just...dumb.

For real.

Pretty sure telling a couple to relax ain't gonna do nothin' but stress 'em out more.

So don't do it.

3.) Never question a couple's intent to want to be parents.

Don't ever [I repeat: DO. NOT. EVER.] tell a couple struggling with infertility, "Are you SUR-
RRRE you want to deal with [fi ll in the blank here]...?"
as if becoming a parent is fi lled with burdens they wouldn't be able to handle.

I'm fairly con dent most couples going through the trials and tribulations of infertility will deal with WHATEVER burden or hardship you attribute to parenting.

4.) Don't drop a "SURPRISE" pregnancy announcement on someone experiencing infertility.

This means if you know someone who's having trouble conceiving, don't tell 'em YOU'RE pregnant
without being sensitive to how s/he might be feeling.

If you're pregnant and you have a good friend or family member who has been trying to get pregnant for quite some time, send them an email.

Talk to them in private and validate that you understand it might be hard for them. Give them time to process your announcement. I promise they're happy for you.

But sometimes what they're going through is just really heavy and it's hard to show their happiness when they're grieving their own loss and going through their own personal hell.

5.) Quit complaining about being pregnant.

Trust me when I say there's another woman who would do anything to be in YOUR shoes, Ms.
Pregnant Woman, whoever you are.

There is a woman who would happily accept morning sickness all-day sickness, bed rest, swollen ankles, sleepless nights, headaches, tiredness, a bulging belly, weird cravings and a terrible labor just to be in your shoes.

Somewhere out there -- in your circle of friends, in your neighborhood, in your church, in your
school, in your office -- there is a woman who wouldn't complain about anything you are experiencing.

Wanna know the best thing to say to a couple experiencing infertility -- what is likely the lowest point of their marriage?

Here it is:

"I'm so sorry you have to go through this."

#BreakTheSilence #NIAW

4/22/2014

Infertility: I'm Not Ashamed

I'm not ashamed to admit we can't have biological children.

I'm not embarrassed.

Sad?

Used to be.

But in a way, I feel grateful.

Grateful because the painful road of infertility led my husband and me to the cutest girl on the planet.
Grateful because the moment we anxiously walked into a Texas hospital on August 4th and held our 2-day old daughter in our arms for the fi rst time, we knew she was meant to be ours all along.

I feel fortunate because infertility has shaped the person I am today -- what I say, how I act, and what I do.

I know I am a better person because of what my husband and I went through.

Last night I was honored to speak at the Cedar Valley Infertility Peer-Led Support Group's annual event.

There were some great resources available for couples -- many of them are in the midst of treading the most diff cult waters of their marriage.

At the event, I emphasized three things I wished others would have told me [but because we kept our struggles so private, no one knew what to say]:

1.) You are not alone.

2.) It is not your fault.
 

3.) You do not deserve "this."

While I'm an adoption advocate, I recognize it's not the right option for everyone.

So this week, during National Infertility Awareness Week, I'm especially thinking about those on this painful road.

And I encourage you to do the same...

Because according to RESOLVE.org, there are nearly 63,000 women in IOWA who have experienced difficulty getting pregnant.

And I can assure you -- there is SOMEONE in your family, your neighborhood, your office, your church, your school, your circle of friends -- struggling silently.

#BreakTheSilence #NIAW