You’re in your 30’s? What are you waiting for?
If you’re TTC and not having much luck, these two questions are some of the hardest to field. They rip your heart out and at the same time, you don’t want anyone to know that they’ve just about leveled you. That every day you pray that this will be the month that the test will turn pink. That you’ve been trying for years- like 6 years– and have had no luck. That sex is a mission field. That you’re struggling to keep the hope that you’ll be pregnant alive. That you are almost out of self-control and would like to scream all these things in their face with a big fat ‘thank you’ for reminding me that it’s so easy for you and so hard for me.
The thing is, asking this question runs in the series of life stage questions. And it’s not unreasonable for someone to ask the “when are you getting your first place? When are you getting married? when are you having babies?” and even “when are you retiring?”. It’s making conversation and showing interest into your life. The question has no harmful intent. In fact, I remember asking this question of someone (prior to infertility touching my life). They graciously smiled and mentioned something about getting their new house settled first. Little did I know they had been going through infertility treatments for 6 years. They didn’t share their struggle with infertility with me and why should they?
But- and here’s the thing- you won’t develop a sensitivity to someone else’s pain unless you’ve experienced it in some way yourself OR you’ve been made aware to be sensitive. This applies to any situation of difficulty and hard times. Now that infertility has touched my life I know not to ask the question of “when?”. Turn on your infertility radar… you know what I’m talking about right? If someone has been married for a few years and they are of the age to have kids, they love kids, they’ve talked about a family, THEN DON’T ASK. Chances are good that they are already trying and either aren’t announcing or they are having difficulty.
So, I’m making you aware. Have eyes to see. Ask another question that shows interest in their life.
You’re thinking- But why won’t they share their pain? I want to be there for them. I’m their friend. That’s what friends do. Here’s why it’s so private:
- There’s already enough pressure to try to get pregnant. There is no need for input, questioning glances at the baby bump area, untimely questions, or encouragement from someone who has 2 kids bouncing on their knees each night.
- It’s painful to talk about and the conversation isn’t brief and often leaves a sadness that has been carefully nurtured to just get through the day.
- It’s personal and hard to explain.
- It’s emotional. No one wants to whine and complain and sometimes it’s hard to not sound like that.
- Unless you know what it is like to walk in those shoes, you can’t relate.
On the Other End- You’re the one who is TTC and it’s hard. How do you respond?
You can’t scream at the well intended person showing interest in your life. They are not being nosey. They are not trying to hurt you. It doesn’t feel like that but for the most part, that is the truth of it. It stinks that their “thoughtful” question stabbed you in the heart but unless you’re willing to share your situation you need an answer at the ready. I remember saying, “If the Lord blesses us we will be ready when He is.” Sometimes turning a question back at them can divert the topic:
- We have no news yet. When do you think you will be inviting us over for another BBQ?
- I can’t imagine but I’d like to know when you can come over and help me plant my veggies?
- When we know, we’ll be sure to let you know but right now I’m thinking about planning my next vacation. Where would you recommend going?
Or- like I said- you could just go for the shock factor and let them know… “We’ve been trying with no luck so far. Here’s hoping it’s soon.”
I share a bit of my infertility story each week with the hope of walking alongside those who are currently struggling. If my story can be of some comfort or help, or I can answer any questions feel free to contact me. You can read my story from the beginning by clicking the infertility story tab at the top. You can also subscribe to this blog via the sidebar link and receive email updates when new posts are available.
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101 (Basic understanding of the disease of infertility.)