With Littleman turning 3 in two months, I have found more and more often, I get THE question… almost weekly now. Just this past week alone, I was asked five different times when we were going to have baby #2. I’ve gotten used to the question and expect it. My response often is, “as soon as the Lord decides to bless us with another child. We would love to have another one.” If they ask further questions or look confused, I then tell them we have been trying for 19 months for another child. Most of the time, I get comments from people that are encouraging or an attempt to help me feel better about my situation; BUT this month, I had a first…
Now please note, as I share this story, it is not to berate the people or to make fun or anyone; but my true intention and heart in sharing this is to educate. Really, most of these posts are intended to educate and teach people about second infertility and infertility in general.
Last month at a wedding, I had a guest come up to me that I knew and ask me, “when is baby #2 coming?” I told her we would love another when the Lord chooses to bless us with one, and she got all excited understanding that I was saying we were trying for another. I let her know that if she wanted to, she could pray for us since it had been 18 months of trying. Another person, whom I have never met before, chimed in and said, “well you must not be doing something right. You need to try harder.” As I stared at him in disbelief of what he just said, he continued and said, “At least you get lots of practice!” I said back kind of sarcastically, “Yeah… 18 months of practice. I’m tired of practicing.” At that moment he turned to talk with other people, and I walked away and cried.
I understand that he was trying to be funny and his intent was to not be mean; but infertility is not something to be joked about in any situation whether you know the person or not. Even if the person going through the infertility is making jokes, most likely it is because they are trying to cover up the hurt they are dealing with. If you have never walked this journey, you have no idea the hurt and frustration that infertility brings.
Instead of staying silent and walking away to cry, I wish this is what I had said to you instead:
“While I hear your humor and attempt to make an awkward conversation funny (of which y’all brought up by the way), your comments here have only rubbed salt in the wound of my womb. You haven’t been there month after month when I discover that yet again I am not pregnant. You have not had test after test completed, being poked and prodded, to be told ‘everything is normal’ and yet you still don’t have a baby. You have not taken hormones to help you get pregnant to only throw you out of whack emotionally and still not have a baby. You have not shared the many tears or felt the hurt of wanting another baby so badly, but ‘we apparently are doing something wrong.’ You have not been in such a place of hurt that I’m thankful that one month my husband can be my rock or the next month had to be the same thing for him because he hurt so much over wanting another baby. Or the month when both of you can only hold each other as you cry out to God and ask ‘why?’ You have not been asked over and over ‘why haven’t you given you son a sibling’ when all you want is to do that.
You have not walked this journey, so please understand that the words you say are not ones that any woman (or man) want to hear when struggling with infertility. They only bring more of a reminder to me that my womb is still empty. I understand that it was not your intent to hurt me; but I can’t stay silent and let you walk away uneducated on this topic. In the future, please keep these kind of jokes to yourself. Never is it okay to tell a couple dealing with infertility that ‘they must not be doing something right’ and ‘should try harder.’ Infertility is one that brings a great deal of hurt and pain to a couple, so if you do hear anyone in the future telling their story, please just let them know that you are praying for them and then go actually pray for them.”
THAT is what I wish I had said, but because I was in such shock, I went and cried instead. Again, my intent here is to educate; so I hope that this post is able to show people that making jokes about infertility is not something that is ever okay, especially while the couple is walking through the journey.
We are still waiting and trusting the Lord… thank you all who have continued to pray for us and support us during this time. You have no idea how wonderful it is to hear your prayers and words of encouragement.