Ah…pearls of wisdom. The fertility challenged woman’s best friend… said no one ever! We’ve all been faced with them- many times.
‘Just relax…it will happen when you relax”
“I know this couple and they stopped trying and then they got pregnant straight away”
“Don’t stress, you’re young/healthy- you have plenty of time to get pregnant”
“You’re thinking about it too much, if you concentrate on something else it will all just fall into place”
This list could go on and on….
I’ve found the longer the path to pregnancy stretches out the more times you will hear these Pearls of Wisdom (POWs!), and depending on what you have been facing in that particular day/week/month sometimes they are easier to swallow than others.
I’ve certainly had moments - like when a colleague came to me on my first day back to work after my second ectopic pregnancy and, in what they felt was a caring way, asked me if I thought this was a sign I shouldn’t be having children, and that maybe I should give up entirely or adopt - where my jaw has just dropped at the insensitivity and ignorance that people can display in these situations.
Other times I know I have taken something small and genuinely well meant too much to heart because of what has been going on behind the scenes for me.
Truth is that unless you have been in this situation yourself, you can never fully appreciate what it feels like. Most POWs! come from those who love you, and who are struggling to see you in pain, and genuinely don’t know what to say - so they grab for something clichéd.
So how should we handle it??
Well, I don’t have the perfect answer - there are definitely still times these get to me too!!!! …. But some of the things that have worked for me in the past are:
- To educate (politely) my friends and family about what not to say- I’ve found when you explain that these POWs! can actually have the opposite effect to their intention people are often genuinely surprised. If conversation is not your thing, there are also lots of really good articles and posts to forward on to your loved ones (or serial offenders!) to read and digest - many say it well, but one of my favourites is this: http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family--friends/infertility-etiquette.htm
- I try to take a deep breath and consider where it is coming from (often easier said than done in the moment!!). Sometimes the person is just a jerk but more often than not it’s my family, friends or sometimes even my partner. They are lost in this with me, just in different ways, and they mean to support me - they just delivered it the wrong way!
- I think about all the times I have been in those shoes myself - delivering the well meant POWs! to someone I love - classic example of talking to a single friend who is looking for love - ‘If you stop looking you’ll find him” *cringe……* Knowing I’ve been guilty of giving this sort of “support” helps me to remember not to get up too high on my horse about being on the receiving end of it…
- Let it out!! Often you have to plaster a smile on your face and be polite in the moment, but I have my people who I can vent/cry to - my BFFs, my hubby, my mum…. You can never underestimate the importance of a good support community in the path to pregnancy!
What are some of the best (worst) POWs! people have said to you? How do you cope with them? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and learn from your experiences!