When Your Family Just Doesn’t “Get” Infertility
Some say that infertility is an invisible disease since you are not walking around looking sick. Often the only outward sign of infertility that your family and friends see is your lack of children. While it may be annoying if they make suggestions or comments when they don’t know of your diagnosis, what if they keep making suggestions and dropping hints even once you’ve explained and explained and explained what is happening?
How do y’all handle unsupportive/intrusive family? I can deal with strangers & I have some awesome close supportive friends but my family is what gets me down. Even though they’ve known since I was 25 that the only way we can have kids is adoption or egg donor, my mom says things like “Well Abraham’s wife had kids late in life.” The rest of the family says “What’s wrong with you that you haven’t had kids yet, you’ve been married too long.” (7yrs) It always throws me off, makes a good day bad & a bad day worse.
UGHH! You deserve the support of your family. My first thought is to wonder if you have you explained to your family your diagnosis? Because infertility is an invisible disease, without being very specific our family may not know what we are going through. It’s easy for us to make assumptions that people already know, or have heard from someone else, or that at the least they should know. Assumptions are useless.
I favor a very straightforward approach. Something like: “We have been diagnosed with a condition called premature ovarian failure. We don’t know the cause and there is no cure. We could possibly get pregnant with donor eggs or we could adopt. Both cost a lot of money, so we are saving our money like crazy because we desperately want to be parents. We would appreciate your prayers (or good thoughts) and emotional support. The main thing you can do to help us is understand how incredible hard this is for us.”
I realize this may be more than you are comfortable sharing, so adjust accordingly, but the bottom line message is that:
- It is a disease without a cure.
- This is where you are at in the process.
- And this is what they can do to help.
If you don’t want to mention donor eggs, you could say something a little different. “There is not a real cure, but there are some medical procedures that might allow me to get pregnant or we could adopt.”
You and your husband work out the message and just keep repeating and repeating until they either “get it” or stop asking.
Did you have family or close friends who seemed to refuse to understand your infertility? What worked to finally help them “get it”?
Image credit: hezur