My #1 Pet Peeve in Infertility and Adoption
Does unwelcomed and uneducated advice in your infertility struggle drive you absolutely up the wall??
Imagine this scenario:
You’ve been trying to get pregnant for 2 years. After about 6 months you start reading everything you can find about trying to conceive, download 3 (not 1, not 2, but 3) ovulation apps on your phone, ban hot baths and bike riding for your husband, and buy ovulation predictor kits in bulk. At about the one-year mark you see your gynecologist, start on oral medications, and start researching fertility treatment. At the two-year mark, it’s safe to say you know enough about fertility to give a TED Talk. You share your struggle with a co-worker who says “Have you tried raising your legs after sex—it really works!”
Or this scenario:
You went through years of failed fertility treatment, and then slowly but surely started researching and discussing your next options. You agonized over every option and start saving every penny. You settle at long last on domestic infant adoption, and have by now sat through endless informational meetings, joined a couple of online forum, and could probably write a book about adoption. You share that you are waiting for a domestic infant adoption and your acquaintance says “Have you thought about surrogacy or adopting from China—they are basically giving those kids away.”
The “have you thought of” and “have you tried” questions drive me NUTS! The assumption that I would not have thought my decision out thoroughly, tried every reasonable approach, and researched the heck out of every possible option is insulting!
I Am Being Petty
Before you say it, let me beat you to the punch– I know I’m being petty. I totally realize that people are trying to help rather than trying to insult. They haven’t walked this path, so they have no way to really know how much work is behind every decision. They sense our pain and frustration, and they want to do something. In my better moments, I know this.
In my not so better moments I want to shout—DON’T GIVE ADVICE WHEN YOU ARE CLUELESS!
What I Want to Say
“You mean you have to have sex to get pregnant—Oh, gross!
“No, it never occurred to me to think about surrogacy or international adoption. I prefer to make the biggest and most expensive decision of my life using a Ouija Board.”
What I Should Say
Knowing as I do that most people are not trying to drive me to drink, I should use this as a teachable moment to help make life better for the next poor soul they want to “help”. I should respond with:
“Infertility is unfortunately a disease that no amount of hip raising will cure. We are seeing many medical specialist and exploring many options. Thanks for your concern.”
“There are advantages and disadvantages to all types of adoption and surrogacy. No country has an over supply of children now. We’ve done more research than you can imagine, and feel comfortable with our decision, but thanks for your concern.”
Tell me that I’m not alone: does unwelcome advice drive anyone else batty?
First published in 2015; updated in 2018. Image credit: Charlyn Wee