Dealing With Unsolicited Fertility Advice From Others
They’re probably just trying to help, but getting an earful of advice from others about your infertility issue can be incredibly uncomfortable. And belittling. And distressing. Like you haven’t already been endlessly researching options and talking with providers. Untargeted infertility advice is often way off target…and it just keeps coming. But, although no one has been through exactly what you have, they may still be able to support you.
Eight Ways Out
How should you react to statements that seem to rub salt in your emotional wounds?
- Realize that you may never be able to respond to the statement, “You can always adopt.” This may just not be part of your vocabulary.
- When you hear that “What happens will happen,” remember that the source of the advice is not God or Darwin and that hope floats all boats.
- When confronted with “Look on the bright side,” understand that it’s OK to pass on bright things for now.
- Let the statement, “At least it’s not cancer” remind you that not everyone can validate the experiences of others. Forgive them.
- And remember to hug the friend that says, “I wish there was something I could say to make things better.”
- Know your limits when others talk about their pregnancies or their children in your presence. And kindly excuse yourself from the conversation if those limits are reached.
- Find ways to connect and communicate with others on topics that you used to enjoy talking about.
- Try to think of advice from friends as a prickly form of support which could make it all a bit more palatable and tolerable.
I’m convinced that infertility affects lives just as much as cancer does. But not everybody knows that. It can take a herculean effort to simply survive, and even more to thrive. So, do what you have to do to get through this, because just surviving will make you an infinitely stronger human being. In the words of Sarah Lewis, “We thrive not when we’ve done it all, but when we still have more to do.”