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When I used to run marathons (over a decade ago, but who's
counting?), before the race, organizers would tell us to warn our supporters not
to say, "You're almost there!"
Apparently, it's one of the most dispiriting cheers to hear
when you're running a 26.2-mile race, unless you're already at, say, mile 26. Otherwise,
if you hear it at mile 18, even though you know the race isn't nearly over,
hearing it makes you think otherwise. And you get discouraged when you see that
giant hill in front of you, looming, with another 8 miles to go. (I remember
when I tripped at mile 21, and the only reason I did not quit was a friend had
joined me to "run me in"—accompany me for the last bit).
Apparently the "you're almost there" refrain is painful to
hear when you're trying to get pregnant, too.
"If you suspect that
your infertile loved one is having difficulty conceiving a child, avoid saying,
'I just know you're be a mother soon,'" writes Zahi El Kouri in "Don't Tell Her
to Relax: 22 Ways to Support Your Infertile Loved One (Through Diagnosis,
Treatment and Beyond)."
"Just relax and
it will happen" seems to be the most common refrain women who are trying to conceive are told. Which, if you think about it, is kind of ridiculous. I mean,
didn't we all start out relaxed about sex? Didn't we all have honeymoons and a
honeymoon period where we reveled in our partners and wondered if maybe that
one night was the one where our future families would begin?
doesn't make sense either for anyone going through fertility treatments—the single
most unrelaxing medical procedure around. IVF wouldn't work on anyone if
relaxing had anything to do with it!
But there are
lots more ignorant, insensitive and tone-deaf things people say to women trying
to have a baby. Here are some I've collected from real, live people.
1. Go on vacation.
2. You have to be patient; it will happen.
3. Have a few drinks and it will happen.
4. It will happen when you stop trying.
5. Stand on your head (yes, really).
6. Eat pineapple.
7. Don't worry, it's normal to have to miscarriage before a healthy pregnancy.
8. A miscarriage just means the baby wasn't meant to be.
9. I'm pregnant. It will be you one day.
10. It's God's will; it's not meant to be.
11. Children born through IVF were not created by God. They were created by man, and as such, do not have souls, and cannot be baptized in the Catholic church.
12. There are people starving in this world—you don't have it that bad.
13. You should just wait 10 years and deal with it then.
14. The world is too overpopulated anyway.
15. Isn't having kids just an egotistical thing?
16. Why do you need to reproduce your own genes anyway?
17. There are so many kids who need to be adopted.
"Remember, your company is usually worth more to your
infertile loved one than any specific comment or piece of advice," El Kouri writes. Noting the hardest thing to
do, the author adds: "Offer to help out however she needs and be prepared to just listen and be supportive."