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A personal story from that it certainly worth sharing.


This is dedicated to all those "well-meaning", but highly insensitive people out there who always seem to say the WRONG thing when I tell them I can't have a baby. You know who you are... You're the ones that say anything, because you feel like you should say something and in the end you say the wrong thing. I know it's not your fault. But I'm here to help educate you with this little online crash course: "Top Ten Things NOT to Say to an Infertile".

I always receive these comments in such a way that it makes the giver feel that they have consoled me in some way. This is usually done with a gentle smile, a nod of the head and an "I know, I know" comment. What I am really thinking has been included in these educative notes to help you understand things from my viewpoint.

  1. Can you just adopt?

    I guess, but what makes you think I am so ready to give up on having my own child so quickly? I have put this comment as number one because it always amazes me that people, in general, believe it is so easy to "just" adopt. A few statistics to help you out on this one (don't forget to take notes!)

    In Queensland, a couple must be married for two years before they can apply to be assessed for adoption. So that means my husband and I would still have to wait another 4 months before we could even register.

    In 2006-07 there were eight infants placed under the General Children's Adoption Program and six infants placed under the Special Needs Children's Adoption Program. I'm sure you can add up - that's only 14. In that same year, there were over 300 expressions of interest from couples to adopt. Again, I'm sure you can add up. That does not equal one child for each couple that wants one. I have been told that the waiting period for adoption of an infant in Queensland can be up to ten years.

    The conversation inevitably turns to overseas adoption if I explain these statistics to anyone who is bothered to listen. Adopting from overseas is just as difficult and lengthy a process as it is in Australia - unless you are mega rich or Angelina Jolie. Which I am not. I am not even close.

  2. Maybe You Should Go on a Holiday?

    Why??? Do my ovaries need a holiday to start working properly? And where would they like to go do you think? Somewhere where they sell oestrogen and FSH shots at the bar during happy hour perhaps?

  3. I knew this couple who were on IVF and ..... blah, blah, blah, blah.

    Uh huh....Listen carefully: "I DON"T CARE!" Telling me some story about a couple I don't know, who did IVF twice and then naturally fell pregnant is not helping me.

    There is nothing worse than hearing the pregnancy news of others. It makes me feel even more defeated. It is a reminder of what I am unable to achieve.

    Hearing about other couples achieving success with IVF is even more depressing because I can't even have a baby with help from a highly qualified medical team! (But others can)

  4. It will happen when the time is right.

    Ok. So exactly when is the right time? Clearly, the time hasn't been right for a very long time. I painted my nursery, I bought the baby clothes, I'm on the right diet, I've read all the right books.... what more do I have to do for it to be the "right" time. Come on! This is just a hippy, Earth-muffin, tree-hugging clique. Please don't say it. It makes me cringe.

  5. If you can't have children then you're just going to have to accept that this is the way things were meant to be.

    This comment always comes from someone who has children. I gave up being nice about this comment as for some reason it always seems to be delivered in such a pious tone.

    My stock standard reply now is, "If ______(insert name of child) died in a car accident, would you accept it and tell yourself that was the way things were meant to be?"

  6. You just need to relax and stop thinking about it and it will happen.

    This is one of those 'easier said than done' comments. How do I stop thinking about it when I have to inject myself with up to three needles a day for weeks on end?

    How do I stop thinking about it when I have to have blood tests every morning to monitor my hormone levels and HOW do I relax and not think about it when I have to have an internal ultrasound up to three times a week to check my follicle growth and endometrium?

    If any one has any tips, I'll gladly take them on board. The other thing I find so insulting about this statement is how ludicrous is sounds. If someone told you they had cancer or diabetes would you tell them to relax and stop thinking about it?

    I don't think so. Relaxing and not thinking about it is not going to stop my body from going into early menopause. I'm all for the power of positive thinking/doing but it has its limits!

  7. Oh god! I just have to look at my husband and I fall pregnant.

    Congratulations. Here's your Mickey Mouse badge. Now F*ck off! I have a sneaking suspicion these woman KNOW how hurtful this comment is and they just don't care because in some sick way, they get off on it. Either that, or they are suffering from affective flattening.

  8. Oh I know! My husband and I had so much trouble the first time. It took us 10 months to have little _______ (insert natural conception's name).

    If you conceived naturally, you DID NOT have trouble falling pregnant. Trust me.

  9. At least you get to have lots of fun trying!

    I assume people are referring to BMS (baby making sex) when they come out with this statement. Let me assure you that having timed intercourse every month for over two years, is not FUN.

    I also feel like these people need some help understanding what IVF actually is. Like I said though, I'm here to help you.

    In Vitro: meaning in an artificial environment outside the living organism (Read: we don't get to make babies like other people do). We make babies with speculums, test tubes, needle aspirations, general anaesthetics and lots and lots of drugs.

  10. Have you tried acupuncture/meditation/"the baby diet"/talking to a medium/blah, blah.

    What do you think Einstein? Of course I bloody have! I would eat the eyeballs of a monkey if I thought it would get me pregnant. Duh. If it comes up on a google search - I know about it and I've tried it, but thanks anyway.

No one understands what it is like to be infertile unless they have been dragged kicking and screaming down the dirty and lonely road of IVF. When my sister was first diagnosed with premature ovarian failure and commenced her IVF treatment I felt very sad for her. I was worried for her and wanted to do anything I could to help her.

But I also wondered why she kept putting herself through so much grief and pain in the pursuit of having her own baby. I thought if she wanted a baby so badly that she would just adopt or use donor eggs/embryos. Three years later, I'm walking in her shoes and it is only now that I am gaining a full respect and understanding of her driving forces and will to go on.

We lost our mother when we were in our early twenties. Giving up on having her biological grandchild and re-establishing a mother/child bond with a baby that is genetically ours has just not been an option for us. Not yet. Not until we exhaust every other possible avenue of having our own child.

My sister hasn't just had an "IVF journey". It has been a battle of epic proportions. When I am at my lowest of lows I phone her and she never says the wrong thing to me. She is my hero.

Spiffers QLD

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