Do you want to know the single worst thing you can say to a woman dealing with infertility…”Hey, maybe you’re pregnant…” Honestly, there are very few times where this is an ok thing to say, and even in those times there is probably something you could say that is more appropriate.
But let’s start with it from an infertility perspective. When I first got married my husband at the time and I were not actively trying to get pregnant, but we also weren’t doing a lot to prevent it. We were of the opinion that if it happened it happened and we’d be happy with that.
Cue every single person I even a little bit knew telling me “Hey, maybe you’re pregnant…” no matter what my story was about. Tired? Maybe you’re pregnant. Not hungry? Maybe you’re pregnant. Ravenous? Maybe you’re pregnant. Get the idea?
I knew, even back then that getting pregnant was not going to be an easy thing but every time someone would say this I would start imagining other pregnancy symptoms. I’d google’d the heck out of early signs of pregnancy and like a good webMD doctor I would convince myself it was really possible.
Many expensive pregnancy tests later I started to resent anyone who said those words to me. It would cut like a knife as I’d have to explain the unlikelihood of that being true. Once we actually starting to purposefully try for a baby it became even more painful.
Luckily for me sharing my experiences was a great coping mechanism and so whenever those words would come out of someones mouth I would go off on a lecture about the perils of infertility. They’d get an earful on the medical procedures we’d tried, the techniques we’d done, the ideas we were going to try next. Pretty soon people who knew me stopped saying those words. They didn’t want to learn anymore about infertility.
Fast forward many years to my current struggles. While we’re again not actively trying to convince we’re also not doing anything to prevent a pregnancy. We’re both in that limbo stage of trying to figure out what we want to do next. If we’re ready to jump on the mad roller coaster of treatments or permanently walk away.
And about 7 years since I first started my personal journey I am still hearing those stupid words…
Usually it’s not directed at me, usually it’s to another woman in my vicinity, but I can’t help but cringe for her. I don’t know her story. I don’t know if the lady behind me at the store, or the woman sitting next to me in the theater is trying to conceive. I don’t know her story. I don’t know her struggle. But I still hurt a little bit for her when I hear those words.
Hey, maybe you’re pregnant…
Want to know what is worse than hearing those words from a friend or stranger? Hearing it from your doctor… That cruel twist of the knife coming from someone who knows your history and struggle.
I’ve dealt with unexplained nausea and tiredness for years. I always attributed it to my poor sleeping. But I’ve finally reached that point in my life where I’m better about writing things down before I go to the doctor. *Side note, if you haven’t started you should, write down symptoms, complaints, etc so that when you get to the doctor you’ll remember to bring it up and get answers*
So I go in for my yearly physical and I tell my doctor that I’m constantly feeling queasy, I’m always tired, and it doesn’t seem to go away. The first thing she says…Maybe you’re pregnant.
Guys, I don’t ovulate. Like at all. So the likelihood of me being pregnant is slim to none. But when it’s the thing you want most dearly you’ll hold onto that sliver of hope until the bitter end.
We took blood work, she had me do a pregnancy test, and 2 days of waiting anxiously by the phone I find out…I’m not pregnant. While it was not really a surprise I was still heart broken. I was still crying in Dustin’s arms. And I seriously still have no idea why I go through random bouts of nausea and fatigue.
So given the fact that you guys know that infertility is annoyingly common. And if you didn’t know that before, you now know that on average 1 in 6 couples will deal with infertility. And that you guys are all amazing wonderful friends I’m sure you’re wondering what recommendations you’d have for something else to say. Luckily for you I’ve got a couple!
If someone start complaining about nausea, fatigue, tenderness, mood swings, sensitivity to smell, or anything else that could potentially be an early sign of pregnancy try saying one of these instead:
Oh no, that must suck.
Are you feeling all right? Is there anything I can get you?
Have you talked to a doctor or have any idea what might be causing it?
If they’re trying to get pregnant and you know that because THEY told you, feel free to ask if they think it might be related to pregnancy. But please, can we all get behind not asking every single woman who shows any sign of anything if she might be pregnant.
It’s hurtful to anyone dealing with infertility. It also dismisses legitimate health concerns a woman might be dealing with.
If you’re trying to conceive might I also offer a few words of advice. Don’t waste your money on expensive pregnancy tests, the cheap ones work just as well.
Don’t bother taking a pregnancy test for every little symptom, wait until you’ve missed a period. Otherwise you might get false readings, and you’ll just be throwing your money away.
Lastly, don’t let anyone get you down. People mean well, they just want to feel a part of something and generally don’t mean to be cruel. Give them the benefit of the doubt, and find a way answer them in a way that’s comfortable for you. Maybe you’ll turn into an educator like I did, or find some way to deflect it. Either way, do what works for you!