Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CIAW 2016 - Think First, Then Speak

Today for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week I'm going to share some things people have said to me and other friends struggling with infertility. These are words that can hurt, even without meaning to, and I wanted to share them as some examples of what not to say. This is obviously not a complete list and some of these things are hurtful or offensive to some and not to others. So don't necessarily follow this list to the letter, just keep in mind that words do hurt and you should be careful of what you say when it comes to having children or trying to get pregnant.

Some things not to say...
  • You want kids? Here you can have mine
  • At least you can sleep through the night
  • Do you have any kids? Do you want them?
  • Have you tried <insert method here>
  • It's probably all the toxins you eat
  • Does your husband drink pop/soda - it's probably that...
  • Maybe you're not supposed to have kids
  • You'd make such good parents... you should have kids.
  • Your parents must be disappointed you have a dog and didn't give them grandchildren
  • You're still young, you have plenty of time
  • Do you keep a cellphone in your pocket/purse? It's probably affecting your fertility
  • No kids yet? Better get cracking!
  • You're not trusting God enough
  • At least you know you can get pregnant (after a miscarriage)
  • Well at least it (your miscarriage) happened early, it wasn't actually a baby yet
  • God has a plan!
  • Maybe you should volunteer with children
  • If it's meant to be...
  • You can always adopt
  • At least it is fun trying
  • You look pregnant
  • God works in mysterious ways
  • Maybe you are meant to do something else
  • I know how you feel, we tried for 6 months before we got pregnant
  • My friend got pregnant when...
  • Is it you or your husband?
  • Ah well, I don't even want kids so it wouldn't be a big deal for me
  • I never wanted kids, but I got them
  • At least you have a stepdaughter
  • Just relax and it will happen
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • I know someone who tried for years, they adopted and then got pregnant right away!
So there you have it, some things that have been said that others have found hurtful. Remember that your words, although meant well, don't always come across that way. Sometimes we can just brush it off and chalk it up to not knowing better, but sometimes it cuts deep and stays with us forever.

Once again, I'm not pointing any fingers and please don't worry yourself to death if you have ever been guilty of saying one of these things. We all say things we later regret, no one is perfect. If you want, you can always apologize to your friends for something you may have said or you can just let it slide. This post is more to raise awareness and help you in future situations.

If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment.


  1. Mine is "you wouldn't understand, you don't have kids" (yes, people say that to me a lot!) or the constant social media posts about how busy parents are and how they don't have time for fun or sleep. I usually respond with sarcasm to all of this about how I don't have time for kids anyway because I don't share my fertility struggles with anyone. Or if I'm in a really irritated mood I ask them who held the gun to their head to force them to have children. Yeah, I can be fairly bitter.

    1. I hate it when people tell me that too, it's so hurtful. If only they knew how much we would love to have kids. I think that it's okay for you to respond like you do, it might make them think before talking again. Or maybe not. But you have to do what you feel is right. Thinking of you and sorry that you have been the recipient of hurtful words as well.

  2. I see all the things we shouldn't say to someone but where are the things we can say to be supportive? What can a person say that won't offend or upset? Or is just saying nothing the best course?

    1. Maybe a simple, "I'm so sorry you're having to face this.."

    2. I wrote a bit more of how you can share support on the Friday. But like Kate said, "I'm sorry" is all that you can really say that will mean anything. It's complicated, since everyone is a bit different.

  3. It's the same way people say inappropriate things to those who are grieving.

    1. Exactly. People will always say inappropriate things, I've done it too. It's just hard to know what to say, that's why I usually try and stick with a simple "I'm sorry".