Struggling through infertility is challenging. It’s hard on your body, and harder on your spirit. One of the hardest things for me to deal with is pregnant women. Not that I fault them for being pregnant, or am angry at them that they are pregnant and I am not, it’s just that a pregnant woman is simply a reminder of my own failures in trying to become pregnant. While mot people are “ooing” and “ahhing” at the ever expanding belly of the pregnant lady, most are not aware of how that makes the not pregnant lady feel. There are so many things that go through my mind, yet go unsaid, when dealing with a pregnant lady.
Saying them would make me look rude. Or insensitive. Or, I don’t know, fill in some other negative descriptor. But what frustrates me is the blind insensitivity of others. Often not intentional – but no less hurtful or heartbreaking. And, well, I’m tired of letting things go unsaid, so I am going to say them. I am not going to apologize for them, and I’m not going to feel bad about saying them. Because my feelings are also valid.
- I understand that your back aches, your stomach is ever growing and your breasts are swollen. But I don’t want to hear you complain about problems that I’d be thrilled to deal with. You are pregnant, something I am not but very badly want to be, I have no sympathy, or ability to empathize, that you are experiencing the symptoms of being pregnant. I would love to have your problems.
- I don’t care if it’s rude, when I go out with my husband to “get away from everything” for a bit, I don’t want to be seated next to a pregnant lady, or served by a pregnant server. It’s not their fault that they are pregnant, but I don’t want the constant reminder of it while I’m trying to take my mind off the fact that I’m not pregnant.
- Please don’t tell me “I didn’t want to be pregnant”, “I wasn’t supposed to be able to get pregnant” or “It was an accident”. Because, well, fuck you. I would happily be in your place. I would be THRILLED to be pregnant. You are most definitely complaining to the wrong person.
- Along those same lines, making jokes that you “have extra” kids when one gets injured pretty much makes me want to punch you in the face. Congratulations on being overly fertile and having more kids than you can manage. I would have given anything to have even a single one of them.
- Please don’t talk to me about how HARD it is to get pregnant when you’ve been trying for less than a minute. Hit me up when you pass the 9-12 month mark and are now part of that illustrious minority of people unable to become pregnant within a year’s time.
- Please don’t complain about your age and how challenging it’s going to be to get pregnant if you aren’t yet thirty. Put yourself in my shoes – just for a minute – not only am I 37, but I am also struggling with infertility. Tick tock, your clock. I promise it’s not as wound down as mine.
- Please don’t get upset if I make a comment about how your comment makes me feel. I am entitled to my feelings. I am entitled to tell you that your commentary is upsetting to me. Just as you are entitled to offer your commentary to me.
- Unless you’ve experienced the physical and emotional struggles of infertility – please don’t pretend to know what I’m going through or how hard you “imagine it must be”. Because you probably don’t have any idea. You probably think that you do, but you don’t. Talk to my husband after our 20th negative pregnancy test as he tries to console me.
- I don’t want to hear about your second cousin who is pregnant again. With her fifth child. In fact, I don’t want to hear about your sister, brother, friend, secretary or spouse who is pregnant. I don’t want to TALK about pregnant people who aren’t me. And since I’m NOT PREGNANT, I just don’t want to talk about pregnant people period.
I am constantly shocked by the (usually unintended) insensitivity of others. And then further shocked when they are defensive or upset about learning how they made me feel. There are fewer and fewer people who really KNOW what it’s like to be me right now. To put my entire life on hold for a dream that I can’t quite reach. To pump myself full of chemicals month after month that make me nauseous, make my hair fall out, my skin break out – that make me FEEL pregnant. To have hope month after month and then to have it smashed into a million pieces – only to have to pick all of those pieces up off the floor and glue them back together so that you can move forward the next month to repeat the process.
So, no, I’m not sorry about saying the things that are usually left unsaid. Because sometimes I wish I would say them, rather than curl up politely, so as not to hurt your feelings, and instead let them hurt me.