13 August 2012

"You're not falling pregnant? You want one of mine instead?" and other shitty things to say to couples trying to concieve

So a few months ago I read this post* on Offbeat Mama and it struck a huge chord with me; how I view my friends struggles with fertility and how I automatically say what I hope is the kindest thing that comes to mind before scurrying off and feeling awful for them.

Truth is, we're all guilty of saying the wrong thing. Asking a larger lady when she's due, making fun of someone's outfit in earshot of their friend, dropping the f-bomb at a job interview (just me? alright then). 
But when it comes to infertility, everyone thinks they have it covered, wince, tell them to adopt, a nudge wink about all that crazy sex they must be having and an offer to give the person a loan of their own little monster. If I had a pound for every time I've seen this on message boards or heard this conversation, well, the milkybars would almost certainly, be on me. 

What Jackie Anderson did when she wrote the article, was open up the dialogue we all need to be having. You can't joke about it, because it isn't funny. You can't tell them what worked for you, because you're not a doctor, you can't tell them to adopt because a) this isn't actually an easy option since agencies don't just give out cute little babies like happy meal toys, and b) you're telling them to give up on having a biological child. The XY member of Team Awesome told me;
"It's so tough, the failures are hard to deal with. I want to be a dad. I want little kids running around our garden with our dog. I want my kid to look like me, with my wife's eyes, and her hair, just how hard can it be?" By telling an infertile couple to "just adopt" you are taking away the things that a fertile couple take for granted.

Surrogates also need to be able to speak with more tact when meeting Intended Parents, or other people struggling with their fertility. It's true that women that choose to become surrogates have almost always had an easy road to parenthood, (although there are a rare few who struggled, hence the venture into surrogacy.) and this can lead to the awkward conversations above. Especially more awkward when the surrogate doesn't realise she's being unhelpful. Yes, yes, well done, you've had three babies all by yourself! Oh, your husband just looked at you and you fell pregnant? Wow that must be super, thanks, I feel much better. *facepalm* 
Surrogates have a duty to observe a bit of sensitivity when talking to or working with an infertile couple. Of course you want to tell them that things will hopefully be easier now you're helping, but exercise caution. 
It's not fair on the couple if it doesn't work out. Surrogates are NOT perfect. 

Okay, so the most helpful thing to say? By a poll, it seems to be "I am here for you, if you need to talk" and this is completely true. There is nothing you can do, but you can be a set of ears or a shoulder to lean on. Truth is, we all feel a bit better when we talk something out. Read the article I linked above, really let it sink in.

much love - x - 

*I also read the article a few days later on someone's blog, with slight changes, and I'm not saying it's plagiarised, but, well, it's a bloody coincidence. You know? 

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