Things you should never say to a woman who is trying to conceive a child or is pregnant and other insensitive things women have been told with the “best intentions”
I've been trying to write this post for over 6 weeks, but every time I start - I stop. Why? Because I'm scared that I am going to offend someone with what I am going to say because they have said it to me. But then after seeing my therapist today, I realized “why am I so scared of posting this and afraid of offending them, when they had no problem offending me when they said the thing?” I am such a people pleaser and would rather sit with these feelings inside and not hurt anyone else instead of speaking my truth and letting those people know that what they are saying is not ok.
This is such a heavy and intense post that It will have to be done in three different parts: What not to say to someone who is trying to conceive, What not to say when someone is pregnant and lastly what not to say after someone has had a baby or has suffered a loss of a child.
What not to say to someone who is trying to conceive
Most women have a 28 day cycle. And during those 28 days, you menstruate anywhere from 3-7 days. So let's say you have a 7 day menstrual cycle, that leaves 21 days in your cycle. But did you know that your most FERTILE day to get pregnant are days 12-14? Well, that is the case if you have a NORMAL cycle. Not everyone is normal. Not everyone is fortunate to ovulate during that time period. So when you are trying to get pregnant and you do the ‘deed’ during day 12, 13 & 14…you then have to wait those AGONIZING 14 days to see if you are getting a period or you’re finally pregnant.
Every time I would get my period, for 8 months straight…I felt like such a failure. What is wrong with me? Why is it so hard for me to get pregnant? I did the deed on all the right days during the month, why am I not pregnant? It was so much easier for me to get pregnant with Jamison, why is this so hard? Those questions would FLOOD my brain on a daily basis. I would research the best positions, what foods to eat to prepare my body for being pregnant, taking prenatal vitamins early so my body knew that we were trying to incubate a baby. And the funny part was, none of it was my fault. I had a Mirena in me for 4 years and no menstrual cycle during that time. Once I had my Mirena removed, my cycle time frame went from 28 days to 24/25 days and I would menstruate for 3 days instead of my previous 5 days. Once we figured out that my body had changed DRASTICALLY from the last time I was pregnant, my OB and I were able to create a game plan on how to get me pregnant. Not everyone is as fortunate as I was to be able to get pregnant naturally without the help of IVF or other fertility drugs, but I did suffer what they call “unexplained infertility” for those 8 months and it was the longest, most emotional 8 months of my life.
So now I ask you to imagine yourself in my shoes, trying so desperately to have a baby. Feeling like your body is broken, like something is wrong with you and literally crying every month you get your period. Then read some of the things that were said to me and other mothers like me.
“ Just stop trying. It will happen when you aren't thinking about it” “Just relax, It’ll happen when you stop planning” “Just calm down”
Telling someone who is desperately trying to have a baby to “just stop trying” is the DUMBEST thing you can tell someone. How can you think that comment is going to help them feel better? Have you ever wanted something SOO BADLY just to have people that are you ‘friends and family’ say “just relax, it’ll happen when you stop planning”. You don’t say that to someone. Especially when you have a very short window of opportunity to make the child.
“God knew you didn't need another child” “Are you sure you want more kids?” “Maybe it's not in God's plan”
Whether it is truly in God's plan or not, unless you are God don't assume you know what is in his plan. And yes, apparently I want more kids. This is why I am fighting to have this child. I truly wonder if God looks down at you when you’re saying “it's not in God’s plan” and is like “Girl, you don't know me. Keep my name out your mouth”.
“You can always adopt” “Can you just do IVF?” “You’re doing IVF, isn’t that like super expensive”
Yes, adoption is always an option but it really isn't as affordable as the celebrities make it out to be. And also, some people want to have a biological child that looks like them so offering up adoption is not the answer they are looking for. And IVF is also extremely expensive. Not every couple can financially afford to go that route and give up trying for that baby when they look at the overall cost. And for the couples that can afford it, its not like it works right away. It can still take months or even years to have that baby. So reminding them how expensive it is, is not necessary. Trust me, they know. And they are willing to do whatever it takes to get the baby of their dreams.
“You just aren’t putting your feet high enough” “It’s not that hard, just have lots of sex” “Have you tried [insert old wives tale] it worked for me”
Umm it is that hard especially when you are hit with unexplained infertility or your cycle isn’t the same as it once was. And “just have lots of sex?” What if your partner's men aren’t swimming adequately? Instead of telling the woman what she needs to do, how about having the man make sure he got some Michael Phelps still swimming inside.
“Time to give that child a sibling” “When are you having more kids”
Not everyone tells the world when they are trying to have a baby. Women have been told to keep that a secret and also don't let anyone know you are pregnant until after the first trimester. So be careful when you talk to a mother about having more babies or trying for the first time. They may be suffering silently, and your words can be triggering for them.
“Maybe you waited too long” vs “You haven't been trying that long”
If someone ever says “maybe you waited too long” I give you permission to hit them. Like, don't you think this is something already going through my mind? I personally CRIED when It was month 7 and I wasn’t pregnant thinking that maybe I waited too long to decide to have a baby cause now im geriatric and my uterus wasn’t cooperating like in my prime. No matter how you say it, whether you are trying to say it nicely or not, just don't. Also saying “you haven’t been trying that long” is equally as offensive. In my case, it didn't take long for me to get pregnant with Jamison so I thought my body was going to keep that same energy and get pregnant right away. Whether it's been 1 month, 1 year or 3 years it goes by extremely slowly for someone trying to have a baby. So please, be more empathetic and less judge-mental.
* * * * *
So if you can’t tell, I am a little hormonal and have a lot to say on this part. It just breaks my heart hearing other women say they have heard these same things that I have and they don’t know how to respond to their “loved ones”. If you want to support a friend who is trying to have a baby, please don't say any of the things mentioned above. Instead say things like this:
Here is my reminder that words can and do hurt, so be mindful of what you say and whom you are saying it to.
This post is brought to you by Jamison & Bexley | Adventurous clothes for adventurous kids
This is beautifully and eloquently said.
Taryn Stover on
Well said, can’t wait to read the rest of the series of blogs. Women can be so thoughtless when it comes to pregnancy. From my own experience, I did go on birth control after my son’s birth – didn’t want another baby quite so soon after becoming a first time parent. Then, when I did come off birth control, and 5 long years later no pregnancy, I went back on it because I didn’t want my children that far apart in age. During the 5 years, I was always asked “when are you having another?” “isn’t it time for another” “Nick needs a brother or sister” and I just replied with “we’re trying.” Then you get the “you mustn’t be trying hard enough” and those sorts of comments. … Then when it didn’t happen and I went back on birth control, I was asked well into his teens “when are you having another?” Good grief, it’s nobody’s business, but I constantly felt compelled to make the explanation – we tried, it didn’t happen, I don’t want them this far apart. Because of how those comments made me feel, I try very hard not to ask about anyone’s pregnancy or their plans for children (or no children). I did ask my sister after she had been married for quite some time if she and her hubby were planning on having any (not when… not why… but if they were planning on it) and she replied no, they didn’t want children. It isn’t my business to know why, so I haven’t asked. She’s fantastic with kids, and in fact tutors elementary school children in reading, and has mentored high school children through their college planning experience. She’s great with kids. Anyhow, wishing you an easy and healthy pregnancy and birth, and congratulations on your growing family!