I was reading a post on a blog that I frequent about insensitive remarks people make when someone is going through a hard trial in their life. This particular blogger (this site is mult-bloggered…is that a word?) was talking about her experience going through infertility and some of the ridiculously insensitive things people say.
I was thinking about this discussion a lot. I think as an adoption caseworker who works with almost exclusively infertile couples wanting to adopt, that I’m more sensitive than the average person. But even I realize, as an overly-fertile person, that I can never fully understand what infertility is like, and no matter how sympathetic I am, I can never be truly empathetic. I probably have said a few things that were insensitive out of ignorance. Now, I think it’s pretty smart just to keep your trap shut having to do with all matters of reproduction. And if someone confides in you that they’re experiencing infertility, the best thing to do is say, “I’m sorry. I wish there was something I could do to make it better.”
Then I realized, that when I was going through my own trial (still going through it seems some days) of my mother dying from cancer or having just died, that what I appreciated most was someone just acknowledging what was happening to me and my family. The people who didn’t say anything at all were the ones who hurt me the most. Even just a simple, “I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say,” meant more to me than not saying anything. So, I think it’s good to acknowledge one another’s hurts, pain, disappointments, and trials. Maybe it’s the offering of advice that annoys us. Like the, “you should tried Chlomid” when it comes to fertility, and “your mother should take more vitamins” when it comes to cancer.
And while we’re on the subject of infertility and loss…why is it that when you’re single everyone asks when you’re going to get married. And then when you’re married, everyone asks when you’re going to have a baby? And then, with me, even after having had a child they still ask you when you’re going to have your next one. And now that I have three, I’ve still had people ask me when I’m going to have #4 and then, on the other hand, if I express that we might have more, I get the, you’re going to have another child?! What’s next….after my child bearing years are people going to start asking me when I’m going to go through menapause, and then after that, when am I going to die? What happened to, “read any good books lately?”