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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Faux Pas!

"Faux pas: a socially awkward or tactless act,
especially one that violates accepted social norms,
standard customs, or the rules of etiquette"

How are your treatments going?
Did it work?
Are you pregnant?
Have you considered adoption?

These are the questions one of my co-workers threw at me last week while we were standing next to each other at the bathroom sinks. A co-worker I barely say a word to all day and someone I am not close with at all! Of course, being caught completely off guard I spilled out a little more than I had hoped to tell her and had to run damage control the following day (by e-mail) because she tends to share a little too much about other people’s personal information but… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You don’t do that! This is a major faux pas!

I did a Google search about what not to say to someone who is TTC, going through fertility treatments, has experienced a miscarriage etc… and I compiled a list of the ones that stand out to me the most and why.

What NOT to say:

1. Don't tell me to relax! Comments like this tend to create even more stress for a couple and, in my case, makes me very defensive. While I understand that not everyone actually comprehends what is going on, I feel as though those comments tend to minimize the problems.

2. Don't minimize the problem. Infertility can be a very painful process to endure. Comments like, "Just enjoy being childless while you can; sleep late, travel, spoil yourself, etc..." do not offer comfort. Just remember, I would give up all of those things just to HAVE a child and none of those things ease the pain of not having one – in fact, they are a constant reminder.

3. Don't say there are worse things that could happen. Define worse. Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. I, personally, have experienced what most would consider worse in a different time in my life and I can honestly say that THIS is the worst that has ever happened to me.

4. Don’t ask whose “fault” it is. I have openly discussed my issues. I will continue to discuss my issues. Whether or not DH has any issues is between he and I. Regardless, WE are a TEAM and WE have the problem as a COUPLE and neither of us is to blame.

5. Don't ask about my treatment. Plain and simple, when I am ready to tell you whatever it is I want to share about my treatment I will. And if I choose to wait until we are 8 months pregnant to do so, don’t you dare comment on my weight either! Ha ha!

6. Don't suggest adoption. Adoption? I have never heard about this before, please enlighten me. Seriously, do you think that adoption has never crossed the infertile couples’ mind? Again, personally, we have considered it but I am not ready for that yet. When and if we are, we may or may not let you know!

7. I don’t care about your friend. For starters, respect your friends’ privacy and don’t share their story. And now that you shared theirs, I will stop telling you about mine because I don’t want to be your next story. Also, telling me about their success only highlights my failures. And, telling me about their failures only makes my success seem that much more difficult. So really, what’s your point?

8. "You can be a mother to your friends’ children, family members, etc…" While I appreciate that those around me trust my parenting skills and allow me to be a part of their children’s lives, babysitting their children is not even close to the same thing as being an actual parent.

9. Don’t ask me about a second pregnancy. We haven’t even had our first, so I have no idea how I feel about having a second. At this point in time, my goal is to have one successful pregnancy, whatever that brings with it (single or twins). Beyond that I don’t know!

10. Are you pregnant yet? That is the question I hate most of all. Plain and simply a) none of your business and b) none of your business! I don’t even say we are working on it anymore because that usually elicits the response that we are not trying hard enough – and believe me, we are! People believe that they have the right to ask whenever they see fit and that it is an appropriate question. Well, it isn’t appropriate at all but for a couple dealing with infertility it is that much more difficult to respond to. And, to be honest, it is exhausting to have recount all of the details over and over again. That’s partially why I started this blog, so I could just refer people here and not have to repeat myself. If it is on the blog, it is safe to assume I am willing to talk about it. Otherwise, don’t ask.

So, what CAN you say?

You can offer your support. You can ask me how I’m doing or if there is anything you can do for me. You can let me know that you are available if ever I need anything, even if I just need company for a while. But please, please, do not be offended if I don’t call you (that drives me bonkers)!

Maybe what I need most is to be alone.
Maybe I just want you to respect my privacy.
Maybe I just don’t want to have to think about it.

We are good. We have an excellent support system, in each other and with those around us. When we cannot be there for one another we DO reach out to our friends and family and they know that we are not shy to do so. And, even more appreciated, has been that everyone heard my message loud and clear a short while ago and has since backed off with the questioning. That means a lot!

Note: some people are pretty much exempt from everything I wrote above, and they know who they are. If you are unclear, then that probably isn't you.