April 21-27th is National Infertility Awareness Week, 7.3 Million Americans are affected by infertility chances are someone you know is affected by infertility. The theme for this year is Join the Movement and one of the easiest ways is to be supportive of everyone you come in contact with that is affected by infertility is to think before you speak.
Chances are you have been told to think before you speak at least once in your life. This is excellent advice for many reasons. I don’t know about you but I am not a fan of the taste of my foot. So, I do my best to keep it out of my mouth. Yes, yes I realize that some of you who know me personally are not so sure that my filter works. Trust me it is fully functional. It has been my experience that this is not common practice; when you are dealing with infertility some of the most hurtful things are said by people who think that are saying something helpful, funny or simply have no idea what they are saying. For example telling childless married couple in their 30s that your children will be their “birth control for the evening” is more than a little insensitive. Saying it 4 times in one hour is a written invitation to have a woman on fertility treatments come over the table at you.
When you meet new people after your married you come to expect to be asked if you have children. It’s the adults’ in the “real world” equivalent to the college, what’s your major? Even I admit it can be a good conversation starter. Please the next time you find yourself in this conversation and the response is no we don’t have children yet, think before you respond. All too often people with children feel the need to say that it is better to be childless They then feel compelled to explain the difficulties of being a parent sleepless nights, running them here and there, oh and all the time you must have alone with your spouse. What you may not know is, for years that couple has hoped and prayed every month that they maybe blessed with these challenges. They have been to more doctor appointments than they can count and at each holding back tears as one pregnant woman after another joined them in the waiting room. They have undergone tests, procedures and some months celebrated the simple fact that the ovulation test was positive. The last thing that want to hear is how difficult it is to have children and how they should enjoy not having them. You may never know that your words were so painful that it was all they could do to hold back the tears or keep themselves from saying something that will inevitably make them look like the bad guy.
If you happen to have a friend or family member who confides in you their troubles conceiving, please don’t confuse this with asking for advice. Unless you have faced infertility yourself it is impossible to fully understand what they are going through. Telling them to just relax, have fun trying, or it will happen if it is God’s will. These statements (and so many more) can make someone with infertility feel as though it is their fault or they are somehow not worthy of having children. They have doctors to give them advice instead be their shoulder to cry on, their confidant, and their safe place to express how they feel. I have been very blessed to have a couple of people like this on my journey and they are invaluable.
Most importantly Join The Movement and Think Before You Speak.
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