So now that I am 'out', I choose to do my very best to raise awareness and promote sensitivity. Here is my contribution (again, not very original, but sometimes you can't improve on a perfect thing). The following links are excellent articles which I encourage you to read; especially if you are blessed with fertility and have friends and loved ones who aren't.
- Infertility Etiquette, by Vita Alligood
- Being a Good Friend to Someone Struggling with Fertility, by Jen Jobart
And finally, the following jewel. I'm not even quite sure where I found it but I had saved it so I could forward it to any insensitive fertiles I encountered :P. I tried to locate the original publisher so I could give proper credit, but I couldn't locate it! Anyway, it's a great example of how completely ridiculous some of the comments we hear truly are:
"So, what do you think people would say to you
if you were paraplegic instead of infertile?
1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you'll be able to walk
2. You can't use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralyzed. I get
so tired of walking, and if I were paralyzed I wouldn't have to walk
3. My cousin was paralyzed but she started shaving her legs in
the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.
4. I guess God just didn't mean for you to be able to walk.
5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown
6. Sorry, we don't cover treatment for paraplegia, because it's
not a life-threatening illness.
7. So... when are *you* going to start walking?
8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk
walk - everywhere I go!
9. But don't you *want* to walk?
10. You're just trying too hard. Relax and you'll be able to
11. You're so lucky... think of the money you save on shoes.
12. I don't know why you're being so selfish. You should at
least be happy that *I* can walk.
13. I hope you don't try those anti-paralyzation drugs. They
sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.
14. Look at those people hiking... doesn't that make you want to
15. Just relax, you'll be walking in no time.
16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up
and down the stairs all day.
17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and
was worried I'd have a permanent limp, but I'm 100% healed.
18. I'd ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair
will look out of place at the altar.
19. You're being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and
looking at all of my track & field trophies.
20. Don't complain, you get all the good parking places.
21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.
22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!
23. You don't know how to walk? What's wrong with you? Here let
a real man show you how to walk!
24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then
25. Here, touch my legs, then you'll walk!
26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to
get you walking!
27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to
walk too much.
28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn't find
books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running...
So here's a little hint. If someone you know tells you that she's trying to get pregnant and it's taking longer than expected, DON'T tell her to just relax. Don't tell her to adopt and then surely she'll get pregnant with her own child. Don't tell her that God has a plan for her. Don't say, "At least it's fun trying!" Scheduling sex with the person you love isn't fun. Getting vaginal ultrasounds every other day and intramuscular injections in your ass twice a day isn't fun. Finding out every single month that - yet again - it didn't work this month either is Just. Not. Fun.
DO tell her that you're sorry she's going through such pain/grief/frustration. Do tell her that you're glad she told you. Do tell her that, even if you don't bring it up (because you want to respect her privacy and understand that she might not feel like talking about it sometimes), that you're there for her if she ever wants to talk or vent. And DON'T feel that because she told you that it's okay for you to tell your other friends, children, co-workers, neighbors, cousins, mailman, whomever - unless she tells you that it's okay to do so. Your need to share news pales in comparison to her need to maintain a shred of privacy and dignity. The last thing your friend needs is to be at someone's garage sale and get unsolicited advice from said secretary's sister's cousin's dogwalker's barista about how she and her husband just need to get really drunk one night and jump in the back seat of the car. Because she's probably already tried that, too."