“Don’t give up” – and other “consolations”

[Warning: Angry/sad grief post. If you are an easily offended parent, feel free not to read.]

I’ve seen a few blog posts lately along the lines of “We were infertile too and we kept trying [or tried once…once!!] and now we’re pregnant so, y’know, just keep going and it will happen for you!”…

Public service announcement: For at least one long term infertile (me), it kind of feels like a kick in the face when you’re still in the trenches.

I get that you’ve suffered; I really do. And I even get that you can’t enjoy pregnancy like “normal” (fertile) people do. But please, can we stop with all the fauxspirational stuff about how you now have your baby? I’m happy for you, and I’m glad that it happens for some people, but honestly, “thinking positive” or otherwise is not the cause of my infertility. And it doesn’t help to keep perpetuating the idea that infertile people’s lack of a baby is just because they didn’t try hard enough, didn’t keep going, or didn’t think positively.

Tell you what I did this weekend.

I went to a family christening. It was hugely stressful (though usual caveats about how nice it is to see family); it involved tears (my sister, who had a miscarriage following IVF a few months after I did, and who always gets upset at family things), stress (mainly me, feeling extremely crappy due to the overwhelming sense of disorganisation and generally being expected to wait around all weekend to be summoned to baby worship) and even arguments between me and T (because he’s not horrible but he genuinely doesn’t grasp how crappy a situation it is and how bad timing it is and how I don’t want to go but it’s a social obligation and we’re British, so we couldn’t be rude, could we?). 

It’s pretty bloody stressful and upsetting to have to go to a christening and be dictated to on behalf of a tiny being, all the time whilst I should be nine months pregnant. My baby should be here next week. Might even have come early. Instead I have to stand and have endless photos taken holding the baby, and let’s face it, a christening is about a baby… It’s hard to escape the baby. (I’m happy for the baby; I just don’t want to spend my entire weekend with a baby.)

Not to mention the throwaway remarks…

“We only get together at hatchings, matchings and dispatchings [British saying meaning christenings, weddings and funerals]… Who’s it going to be next?”

It was meant to be me, next week, you bloody idiot.

Oh and then, what happens next but we agree to go round to our friends’ house for dinner (after spending the weekend away from home and away from Dog, who is being looked after by friends) and they have a baby.

I am sick of babies. I want my grown up weekend. I don’t want to spend the entire weekend being reminded of loss.

We go round to our friends’ house. They’ve kept the baby up specially. Baby is quite frankly being a brat (due to being kept up late) and of course all women want to spend time doing “fun” baby stuff, don’t they? We had food time (baby smears food all over the place) and bath time (because why wouldn’t you expect to spend time bathing a baby when you’ve been invited round to dinner) and of course this prompts the hilarious questions about whether we’ve been “put off having a baby”.

SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP

So: parents – here’s an idea. If a person doesn’t have a baby, maybe it’s not because they don’t want one. Maybe they really want one. Maybe they lost one! Maybe it’s due next week!

Shut the **** up.

And you “inspirational” pregnant people and parents.

Remember how it felt when you thought you might never have a baby? Can you remember that?

Did it ever help when people told you “Never give up”? Did you ever feel convinced when someone else was pregnant or a parent? Did you think “Gosh darn that person’s situation is exactly like mine so that must mean I just have to do what they did and I’ll get pregnant tomorrow!”

Perhaps just looking at a pregnant person made you realise you were doing it wrong. Perhaps those helpful hints about how you might want to start thinking about kids made you realise something you didn’t know before.

But me? 

I know I want kids. I’ll settle for the singular. I’ll settle for a baby who doesn’t die. I’ll even settle for injecting myself every day, putting on stupid amounts of weight, feeling like a psycho and putting up with stupid people at work making my life a misery.

But here’s the thing. It turns out some people who’ve been through this “journey” suddenly lose their compassion chip as soon as they become almost-parents. And it turns out some people are still on this journey, and any amount of self-help crap is not going to change the fact that they’re infertile, and there is no guarantee treatment or positive thinking or whatever worked for you will work, so it really doesn’t help pretending that it will.

I’m happy that people can move out of infertility into parenthood. Don’t feel you need to apologise. Be happy; be parents. But don’t presume to tell us unfortunates who are still in the trenches that your experience is the same as ours. You had a bad run. But you’re done with that now… And we are still here.

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63 comments

  1. mamajo23

    I am so sorry you had the weekend you did. The sanctimonious ‘just stay positive’ people on the other side bug me so much. Don’t they remember that those kind of words are patronizing and not helpful!?! I will never utter those platitudes and it never helps with someone else does it to me. Also- when we have friends over for dinner who don’t have a child and are of child bearing age- I tuck my son safely away in his crib, pull out the wine and talk about anything BUT him unless they bring it up ( and not in the polite way- I politely change the subject when it’s just the polite way). Anyway- my point is that I am sorry you had to have a weekend like that and hopefully your upcoming weekends are full of adult fun until you are one of the people of the other side but not offering people lame comments to ‘help’ them.

    Xo

    Liked by 3 people

    • Nara

      Ah, thanks love. I just needed to vent… And then read several blog posts along the lines of “Just you wait and you could be here too!”

      I do hate being so miserable/cross/sad though. I think maybe the weekend didn’t help!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. RJ

    Amen! Your words ring true to me. It’s so hard when others hurl platitudes at us. I think it just makes them feel better, but certainly not us! I’m glad you feel
    comfortable to vent here, we are all here to listen and support you.

    I totally understand how hard it is when a due date approaches. It’s so hard not to wonder what could have been. Hugs to you (and your sister, so sad for her too, especially since this weekend with your family sounded emotionally and physically exhausting).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate this community for support. It just feels like I’m getting more and more ranty lately, which I don’t want to be like! I think some people get sad and I just get angry. But then I thought, it was really bad timing!

      Like

  3. andthewindscreamsmary

    Yes to everything in this post.
    I am sorry you had a bad weekend and had to experience all that. I’d sit down with a big glass of wine and have a bubble bath… But I know nothing will make you forget what was supposed to be next week.
    xxx.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I know, right? I actually knew someone who told me she knew what it felt like to have fertility problems, because they took 1.5 years to get pregnant… And she has 2 kids! AGH! I need to stop getting so angry and upset about this stuff! X

      Liked by 1 person

  4. MrsD

    Oh that sounds like such a horrible weekend! I admire you for going though- had it been me, I probably would have come up with some kind of excuse to avoid the whole thing.
    You’ll get no “just think positive and it will happen for you!” garbage from me. Infertility sucks, plain and simple. It sucks and it’s not fair. And every time someone asks when you’re going to have children, tries to give you stupid unsolicited advice, or posts a baby announcement (or one of those stupid sayings about how life changing parenthood is) on social media, it’s like being stabbed in the heart every single time.
    Take care of yourself as your due date approaches, and allow yourself to grieve as much as you need to.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Thank you! I know you’d never say anything silly like that. I unfollowed one person whose blog I previously followed as I just can’t deal with the “Use me for inspiration!” right now!

      And the social media thing – I’ve done a FB blackout this week and I already feel better! (From a FB perspective rather than a whole life perspective. Feeling a bit punched at the moment.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Savannah Mae

    Amen. Amen! Amen!!
    Advice, as good hearted as it may be, or remarks as innocent as they are intended, need to be left at the door. Even when some (myself) are not in THAT place – words tear, cut and hurt. It’s all you can do but just reach across and smack them.

    Big hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nara

      Yeah, I hear you! I absolutely want to smack several people. You’re so right! The pregnant woman at work is driving me absolutely insane and not just because she’s pregnant… She’s a genuinely awful person. I think I’m just feeling extra sensitive at the moment.

      Like

  6. So, you're saying there's a chance?

    Hugs!

    I have a toddler thanks to IVF. We also lost her twin in my second trimester.

    We are currently trying again and have had 3 failed cycles (one of which was an early miscarriage) .

    Infertility before a kid, after a miscarriage, after failed cycles, no matter where you are it all hurts and is unfair. What I’ve leaned from my experiences is that is no guarantee about any part of the IVF process. My advice is would never be don’t give up. But rather take care of yourself and surround yourself with people who actually get it.

    Telling someone not to give up is annoying. We’ve been told maybe we are just meant to have one kid. Really? I dont understand how people can be so insensitive .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I’m so sorry! And thank you for the hugs. You’re right, it always sucks and there are no guarantees. I guess that people think they are being encouraging somehow, but it really doesn’t feel like that.

      And who is “meant” to have one kid (or no kids, or five kids) anyway? How on earth do they judge that?!

      Like

  7. EmilyMaine

    Yeah I used to find some of those comments so frustrating. Mainly because I have a logical brain and I knew that statistically there is no guarantee that EVERYONE will succeed no matter how hard they try or how many cycles they do. It might be more likely but it isn’t a guarantee. For example Before finding my endo we did three IVF cycles that failed completely (not 1 healthy embryo) and had we not changed clinics this would have been the same story over and over. No amount of trying would have changed the outcome. After my miscarriage (which was also after the 3 failed cycles) I had one friend say to me something along the lines of “don’t you think you should just give up now. Maybe the universe is trying to tell you something” and I just wanted to punch her in the face. I detest the “it’s not meant to be” crew. Such a load of bullshit. Anyway, this is not meant to be about me but about you and your weekend sounded sucky and I am sorry you had to have that experience because people are stupid and insensitive so often. Can’t believe they kept their baby up btw. Wouldn’t it be more fun to have it in bed so that the adults can be adults? So much nicer!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Haha, that’s how I think! I’m so with you on the logic thing. It isn’t going to work for everyone and it’s really not helpful to imply that it will, if only they tried a bit harder or whatever.

      I’m very glad they found your endo! I’ve had two endo removal ops so I know I have that. It’s gutting as we’ve done everything to get rid of it and it still doesn’t work.

      As for your friend talking about the universe telling you stuff, I would have probably given the punch! Or at least said something cutting back at her! I find it really hard not to get super angry when people say stuff like that.

      Oh yeah… I do think the friends’ baby is super cute, but was really not what I needed this weekend. And I don’t think imposing bath time on people is really the way to go, unless they specifically ask!

      Like

      • EmilyMaine

        I am so sorry that the endo removal wasn’t the magic ticket for you. That sucks. It really is an added complication. My dr said you can’t get rid of it but that I’d have to just keep coming to have it removed if I wanted to have more kids *sigh* So many different thoughts out there on this stuff.

        Yeah that bath time thing is weird. I don’t even enjoy doing bath time as a parent, I wouldn’t subject anyone else to that task!!! lol

        Like

      • Nara

        Yeah I’ve had two ops and I don’t think that was considered to be the cause. I don’t know though as I kind of think they need to whip it out and straight away do IVF! 😉 Which didn’t happen in my case. Was a few months. It’s supposedly not too bad now though – my first op was apparently the worst.
        I do like baths! But I kind of think imposing it on visitors is a bit much. I think as a female it’s always assumed we will automatically want to do baby stuff all the time. In fact the dad is T’s friend so I’m friends with both of them by proxy. It was just a weird situation and bad timing!

        Like

  8. thecommonostrich

    Word. I’ve thought a lot about why people say that “just keep trying” crap, and like many things in life, I think it all boils down to folks trying to make themselves feel better.

    Because the implication is that they are “special.” They persevered. They never gave up. This is all horseshit, but the alternative would be to say “We won the fertility lottery.” Which doesn’t sound terribly satisfying.

    I’m not excusing this, mind you. It’s the worst kind of idiocy because it is hurtful while sounding helpful. It’s also why I believe all family events should come with an open bar.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Word! You’re so right… I call them special snowflakes, special little flowers etc. (The same ones who humblebrag on FB.)

      Our friends with the baby this weekend got pregnant on their honeymoon. It seems everyone does nowadays. So they probably don’t even realise that it might not be that easy for some people.

      Yes to the open bar! I had to stop Dry January early! 🙂

      Like

  9. babydreamsandlove

    Oh you are not alone in all of what you say chick!! It sucks so bad. People just actually dont grasp thr sensitivity of it all. I wonder if people are just naive or stupid. Or even naive annd stupid. Its just a little consideration for others – especially at that kind of time! 😦 – im sorry your weekend was a bit crap. Sending lots of love and hugs xxx

    Like

    • Nara

      Thank you! I think they are mainly stupid! 😉 Actually I just think there are people who don’t realise because they never had to go through it.

      In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have gone to the christening. But it probably would have caused major family problems if I hadn’t.

      Thanks for your support! Xx

      Like

  10. My Perfect Breakdown

    Bravo!!! Such a brilliant post with so very true words! Nothing drives me more insane then those who feel the need to say “I did it, so you should keep trying and it will be worth it” (or something along those lines). It would not have mattered if we tried 100 times, we would have had 100 miscarriages. What would have come from that? Nothing, absolutely nothing positive. And so, while we may have a child through adoption, I will never tell anyone to keep trying. It’s my opinion that its about doing what’s right for you, and living your reality even if it truly is not what you ever wanted or imagined.
    Anyways my friend, I’m sorry you had a bad weekend. I wish we could sit down over a glass of wine and just laugh and cry together!

    Like

    • Nara

      Ah I wish we could too! Can you imagine… We would be drinking the place dry! 😉

      So with you on the 100 times thing. I just don’t get why people say stuff like that, as though everyone has exactly the same chance every time they try. That’s not how it works! Another pregnancy loss for you would be unbearable. I find it crazy anyone would advocate for continuing down a path where there is so much pain.

      I think I should have missed the christening probably, but it would have opened up other problems for me and the family, so I went to it. It was short term painful but hopefully that’s my baby obligation sorted for a few months!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. theskyandback

    Grrrr…I just wrote this whole long comment and accidentally deleted it. I am so sorry you had such an awful weekend. I wish I could take away some of your pain for you. People say the CRAPPIEST things. I mean, think positive? As you say, JUST SHUT UP. And like, how dare anyone tell anyone else not to “give up”? They don’t know you or your situation. Like MPB says, it’s about doing what’s right for you. And knowing when to say enough is enough. And even saying enough is enough is enough is not giving up. It’s simply being strong and knowing what’s best for you. And I can’t believe your friend kept the baby up and made you partake in the bathing. What the HECK?! I hope tomorrow is a better day.

    Like

    • Nara

      Ahhh I’m thankful you persevered on the comments! 🙂 I know you get it. It is just crazy. And yes, the friend purposely kept the poor baby up even though baby was screaming the place down. (They are T’s friends really so not even my best girlfriend or anything.) I know they meant nothing by it but I don’t think they think. Plus you just think, really… We’ve had those awkward kid questions before so did you not even get a tiny vibe that it might not be a good question the last few times you asked it?

      I kind of feel like telling T to tell them next time that I don’t want to see them. And the reason. But that would be mean. They weren’t to know.

      Like

  12. stealingnectar

    Sounds like a terrible weekend. I hate when people push us to try again because they think it will just work….to me, it just shows they don’t grasp the severity of the pain of the situation. Trying again might not work out either and it’s humiliating and incredibly stressful. I hear you. Have a glass of wine and enjoy being your fabulous self tonight. Much love.

    Like

    • Nara

      Ah I’m so sorry you’ve had such awful experiences. It totally sucks how insensitive people can be. I really thought that I would be okay, but now it is The Week, and because of the weekend, I really don’t feel as okay as I thought I would. I mean, if I didn’t have so much going on at work I would probably have called in sick. But good prompt on the wine! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Ah I know you do. It really does. I don’t know how you managed to work through it. I feel like I’m about 5 minutes away from having a complete meltdown and telling people (annoying people) where to shove it.

      Like

  13. notpregnantinrezza

    Oh man you must be pretty damn strong to have made it through that christening but really can’t believe people made stupid comments around you. And to then have to suffer another baby-centred event with additional insensitive comments is just too much. I haven’t come across those blog posts but you are so right; they sound ridiculous and so insensitive. I wish it was more understood how much grief and distress is associated with infertility and pregnancy loss. Those who have gone through should get it at least. Hugs to you xo

    Like

    • Nara

      I don’t know why I agreed to it really! I definitely didn’t think about the friend-baby thing as I assumed the baby would be in bed rather than there for most of it. It was just… Difficult.

      Yeah I’ve seen a few blog posts to that effect lately. I think we all have different experiences and views and I’m totally venting. Of course they have every right to write that stuff if that’s how they feel. I don’t want people to feel ashamed of getting to be parents or anything… I personally don’t want to read those sorts of posts though.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Babyscienceproject

    Have you tried relaxing? Or perhaps going on holiday and letting it happen? Just kidding. It’s frigging terrible and nobody, unless they’ve been through it themselves, really understands. Sorry you had such a shitty weekend. X

    Liked by 1 person

  15. TryTryAgain

    100% with you on this – I’ve always been amazed with how quickly some people just forget and go into that mode once they fall pregnant. It’s probably not helping with the current ‘post three photos about how amazing motherhood is’ on Facebook either. That upsets me every time I go on there, so I shared a post about ‘giving a shout out to the women who’d love to be mothers but can’t/have lost babies’ – I know that people don’t mean to be insensitive but having that pop up every 5 minutes is just as upsetting as pregnancy announcements I think…

    I’m really interested to hear what Dr S has to say at your appt. Sorry that you had a crappy weekend, hope the rest of your week goes better xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Yes! I’ve seen those posts. Which is why I decided to leave FB for this week (possibly longer). It has made a difference, although I had to keep stopping my FB trigger finger from hitting it! 🙂

      I will let you know what happens with Dr S! Something to look forward to… Possibly! 😉 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Francis Ireen Imanuel

    My husband and I have been trying since the end of 2010. We moved to London in 2011 and have been going through IFV. It is so hard to talk about it to anyone.
    And just got a message from my little brother asking when I will have a baby.
    He is about to get number four. Secretly sometimes I feel I am glad we moved.
    We hardly go to any children’s birthday parties instead of almost every week if we would still be living in the Netherlands. My family just can’t stop talking about why I have not started yet. My husband is an adoptee from Korea and finds questions about if we will be having children or maybe adopting also super insensitive and personal.

    Like

    • Nara

      Hi there. I’m sorry you have been dealing with infertility. Do you have a blog I can read? I found there are loads of people in the blog community who have similar experiences… I really have found it a help.

      It sounds like you and I have very similar experiences! I’ve had a lot of comments about “Why don’t you just adopt?” Which for an adopted person is a bit of a strange situation…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Maybe baby

    Sadly for some of us the situation will never get better, so we’ll have to deal with this crap will we look middle aged! Wishing you many adult weekends in your near future with good friends and plenty of booze 😉

    Like

    • Nara

      Ha, speak for yourself, I am sure I already look geriatric! 🙂 We should totally get back on the booze (Dry January finished a few days early for me – I needed it!) and enjoy ourselves!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. circumstance227

    This gives me a massive flashback to a certain 11 year long period of my life. I don’t want to click on “Like” so I’m writing this short note just to say I’m thinking about you.

    Like

  19. Recurrently Unlucky

    So sorry you had a bad weekend… It reminded of a baby shower I went just a couple of weeks after a loss, where my pregnant ‘friend’ started telling me very loud in front of everyone that getting pregnant was very easy and she would teach me if I wanted to. How I wanted to punch her in the face! I don’t have the patience for platitudes anymore, I’ll answer them and not be very polite now.
    I’ll be thinking of you this week, due dates are so hard… Hugs

    Like

  20. Courtney

    My favorite, is the prior infertile who HATED seeing kids and babies in the waiting room at the IF clinic when they were trying for their first, but then takes their own baby to the same clinic when trying for #2 and they say, “because my baby may give them hope.”. Ummm… No. Your baby is no more helpful than that baby was to you two years prior in the same waiting room. I actually called a friend out on this very publicly two years ago. What was she thinking?

    I know that not everyone is successful, but I truly think you will be. And I hope so much that I’m right. ❤ It can take a little time, it can take a while, and it can take an eternity with no baby in the end. It sucks because it’s so unknown. But I have high hopes for you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  21. libraryowl33

    I really, really hate when pregnant IF’ers start saying the same platitudes that we’re forced to endure from the fertile masses. It’s actually more upsetting than hearing these things from people who don’t know better. Seriously, you were JUST there, how can you forget how awful this is?!?
    I’m really, really sorry that the christening was so rough. The Golden Child really does lead a life where he is unaware of the suffering of others and the impact of his own words. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      I know!!! I can’t believe it when they go there. It’s like WHOOSH- passed over to the other team!

      Am still feeling a bit bruised from the christening / baby weekend but hopefully that’s the last of it for a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. 30yr old nothing

    *applause* I’m so sorry you had a crappy weekend. I was thinking about you and the christening. You’re a champ for making it through.
    But dammit, what a great vent! I was just thinking about this. I get really frustrated and annoyed and I’m relieved I’m not the only one. I thought maybe I was being petty.
    You’re great. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nara

      Hahahaha. I am probably extremely petty! It’s sad that this stuff makes us so bitter! I said something like this to my sister and she was the same. I think some people just don’t get it!

      Like

  23. ourgreatestdesire

    When we got pregnant last December after we stopped “trying” and decided to move onto adoption, my biggest fear and pet peeve was that people would use us as that story to tell other infertile couples and someone did and I got pissed. I was like, “do not tell people that because it sucks and it’s not true and it’s the last thing infertiles want to hear!!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

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