Follow me on the crazy, hopeful, discouraging, funny, and ultimately successful (one way or another) path to parenthood while facing infertility.

Monday, May 23, 2016

#Microblog Mondays: People Say the Dumbest Things



I am very, very blunt about our journey to have children, or rather what lately feels like our long, twisty, expensive, life-in-stasis journey to NOT have children. 

As frank as I am, it doesn't stop people from saying stupid shit. 

At my birthday party, a friend brought an out-of-town relative as her guest, and towards the end of the night she started what was initially a lovely conversation: 

"I hear you're expecting a baby through adoption, isn't that wonderful!" 

Yes, yes it's wonderful! And then...

"You know what's going to happen...you're going to bring that baby home and six months later you're going to get pregnant!" 

Um, no. And I said as much. 

"Oh, no, I'm a therapist, and I've seen it happen!" 

Well, it won't happen that way for us. You may have seen it happen, but you haven't seen my medical records. 

It is surprisingly not a rare occurrence to have someone tell me that they know someone or know someone who knows someone (or whatever convoluted six degrees of separation they have from the person) who planned to adopt, or did adopt, and then got pregnant. I mean, I know this does actually happen, even though it is way rarer than everyone who subjects you to this legend tells you. But I don't think adoption got them pregnant, any more than the zillion people who I know of who had a spontaneous pregnancy after years of IVF got pregnant because they "stopped thinking about it." It is not a causal relationship. Adoption is not a fertility treatment. It also irritates me because I am very excited about adoption and have moved on and grieved through never being pregnant, and that kind of statement totally disregards the process it takes to mourn the possibility of pregnancy and build up the anticipation of a different kind of family-building.

Another woman that I do know, sort of, told me that my wait is so long because "of all the women having abortions." Wow, I had no idea that was a causal relationship, that the length of my wait is directly proportional to the number of abortions performed. I truly had no clue what to say other than, "I don't think that's actually the reason, and it is quite hard to decide to carry your baby all the way to full term and then place him or her with another family to raise, so it's not like it's an easy decision." I realize this is a touchy topic, but seriously? Someone else's abortion was not my baby. 

Lastly, more people than I can count keep asking why, WHY didn't we just try surrogate? And this is without mentioning our frosty snowflakes sitting in the cryobank waiting to be matched with a family who might be able to carry them successfully. It is so much fun explaining all the legal intricacies of gestational carrier in NY, as is getting sort of posthumous offers to carry from people who've had hysterectomies (as in, "it's too bad, I totally would have carried for you if I didn't have a hysterectomy xx years ago"). Nevermind that usually I don't even really know these people all that well.

I have to remember that these people are trying to connect with me, no matter how bizarre or misguided the attempt, and that my best course of action is to take a deep breath, educate, and smile rather than to shout "WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU???" Some of this comes from ignorance, some of it from urban legends, some of it from a well-meaning place that just gets twisted up somehow. So breathe, educate, smile, repeat. 

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

21 comments:

  1. Argh! These would drive me nuts!

    I think your paragraph after relating the conversation with the therapist would have been a perfect response to her. As a therapist, she should know better than to say such stupid things!

    The posthumous offers to be surrogate parents are simply ways for that person to turn the subject back to them, I think. A subtle way to say, "I had no problems!" Yuck.

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  2. Oh. My. Heavens. I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this. WHY, why do people SAY these things?! I mean, you're right about ignorance/well-meaning/urban legend thing, but it doesn't make it any less frustrating.

    Someone recently told me that surely my infertility issues were "fixed" once I had a baby, as though I'd be able to conceive anytime I wanted now. There are times I'm amazed at how much the ignorance surrounding infertility continues even with so much more information available. Like you say, smile, breathe, educate, repeat...

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    1. Argghh, I really feel like no experience linked to infertility is immune from stupid comments. I'm sorry someone said that to you. And yes, so frustrating!

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  3. You're right about them trying to connect. But oh, how I wish there was more education about infertility, fertility treatments and paths of resolution.

    Fact: adoption is not a fertility treatment. Adopting will not resolve the biological reasons for why a couple can't conceive.

    Fact: most women who chose not to abort go on to parent. The decision to adopt is not a default to abortion (parenting is). It's a very different mind-set, with the process being very thoughtful.

    Fact: Surrogacy is not easy. Outside of a lot of legal hoops to jump through, there's also the grieving that comes with this process. It's such a misunderstood process and yet people who have never faced it throw it out there as a great option.

    Final fact: people's reproductive choices are NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS! Just as it is considered rude to offer someone advice on their medical care, so too is it rude to weigh in on this topic. Offer support, listen, but never ask prying questions.

    *steps off soapbox*

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  4. Wow sorry to hear those rude comments. Some people haven't a clue.

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    1. They really don't... and they seem to come out of the woodwork lately. I didn't even touch on all the interesting conversations I've had surrounding open adoption and birthmothers. I think a lot of people are stuck in the 1950s.

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  5. Oh man! so sorry you are having to deal with these silly conversations and you are right about advise people give. I always feel people don't even realize how awful their words of wisdom could me ;)

    Stopping by after a long time Jess and I want that phone to ring soon :)

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    1. Thank you so much! Yes, silly indeed. So interesting how people can be so emphatic in their misconceptions and ridiculous advice.

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  6. It might have been the same (well-meaning, friendly, but definitely misguided) guest who asked Romeyn and I how many children we have (two) and then proceeded to ask me when I was pregnant (um, NO, NOT how I got my bonus-children...but thanks for bringing THAT up...). I gritted my teeth, bit my tongue, and told her what we would have gotten to anyway...that these are my stepchildren, my bonus-children, my hearts. Seriously, folks...you don't have to give birth to a child to be a parent!!! Grr. Pay no attention to people who can't be bothered to realize that this is the truth.

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    1. Ack, I'm sorry you were hit up by the well-intended but idiotic family conversations as well.

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  7. I have learned how to get past so many hurtful things in this journey. Pregnancy announcements, insensitive people, etc. One thing that still gets me going is "If you just do (insert random thing here) you'll get pregnant." Or once you relax, you'll get pregnant. Once you adopt, you'll get pregnant. Once you use donor eggs, you'll get pregnant with your "OWN CHILD". That one is my new un-favorite. Some people just need a high five...to the face...with a chair ;)

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    1. Ha! I love your high-five idea. The thing is, the occasional comment you can shrug off. But when they come and come and come and EVERYONE has an opinion about adoption... argh. Although everyone has an opinion about uteruses, too. High giving with a chair should be a go-to! :)

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  8. Call me crazy, but after reading those remarks, I'm not seeing a problem with screaming, "WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU???"

    *sigh*

    I'm sorry people suck sometimes. You're being a much bigger person than I would probably be. *hugs*

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  9. Oh man the things that come out of people's mouths. Once in a while it would be nice to be able to shout WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU but then the person may not listen to the education that you have to give them. Hopefully they learn from the conversation and don't say the same thing to someone else!

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    1. Seriously! I think sometimes my face says WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH YOU but my mouth says something far more diplomatic and calm. It's so true, a snarky reply would result in no listening to the ACTUAL INFORMATION I can share with them on the realities of family building when you have infertility. I can only hope I spare someone else a stupid comment! :)

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  10. Oh, good grief. I'm impressed that you're able to see that people are trying to connect with you, even clumsily. That can get lost in the inanity, can't it? Such a good phrase: "It is not a causal relationship."

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  11. You have a lot of patience. I don't know if I would be able to get through those conversations without saying something I would probably regret in the future. And it's true -- their intentions are probably good and all they want to do is say the right thing and connect.

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  12. Basically what Mel said.

    smile breathe educate repeat must make a body weary. You are wearing it well. Kudos.

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  13. I'm starting to become resigned to the fact that there's no stopping people from saying stupid shit. I used to think I could say the right thing and avoid it but nope it's like diarrhea. It's just going to come out.

    Anyway, the pregnant-after-adopting thing is (you'll probably know the term for this) an example of one of those things that stick in your mind as notable, so it seems more common than it is. So everyone has a story, but that doesn't mean it happens all that much.

    Statistically, you are equally likely to get pregnant after infertility whether or not you adopt. I can find you the link if that would help. Think I read it on Resolve.

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  14. UGH! I'm sorry on behalf of human kind. We just decided to move on to donor sperm, and I am already getting the "why?"s. I want to just be like "why do you care?"

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