20 Things NOT to Say to Someone Facing Infertility 

In the infertility world, we tend to notice trends in the things people say to us. “Advice” that is given, even by the most purely intentioned people, that is far more harmful than helpful. So, in no particular order, here’s my cohesive list of the top 20 things not to say to someone struggling to get pregnant. Prepare yourselves, the sass is real, y’all. Ready? Great!


1. “Just stop stressing”

– No. Just, no. First of all, that’s way easier said than done. The more intense the treatments, the higher the stress. I mean, you have to not only repeatedly poke yourself with needles (or be poked by other people), but you legitimately time certain injections down to the minute. Any delay, even by 30 minutes, can be catastrophic. So yeah, it’s stressful. However, not the cause of the infertility in the first place. Second of all, we play the self blame game enough as it is. This reminds us that there’s something more we could be doing when in reality, there’s probably not.



2. “You’ll get pregnant if you adopt”

– First, I know this sounds crazy, but adoption isn’t right for every family. Not only that, but it’s a very long and difficult process that is very costly. In fact, it’s no less stressful or less of an emotional roller coaster than infertility treatments. In some cases, it’s probably more stressful. So, just because your cousin’s boyfriend’s sister’s mom got pregnant after she adopted, doesn’t mean that’s how it works every time.



3. “Just have fun ;)”/”Trying to get pregnant is the fun part”

– I’ll combine these two. For starters, it’s “fun” in the beginning when you’re starting out. Then you start tracking ovulation because fun isn’t working. Then it’s not so fun anymore. If you think trying is the fun part, clearly you’ve never tried and failed to get pregnant.



4. “Just get drunk”

– Tried it. Still not pregnant.



5. “Have you tried _______?”

-Yes.


6. “Maybe it’s not meant to be.”

– For a million reasons I don’t have room enough to list, just don’t say this to anyone. Ever.



7. “But you’re young, you have time.”

-I have severe damage to my reproductive system that actually gets increasingly worse as time goes on so no, I really don’t have time.



8. “Try (insert random sex position) or putting your legs in the air after sex”

-I’d really prefer not to discuss my sex life in this much detail, but if you must, refer to number 5 for this one.



9. “Maybe you should try losing weight”

-Can we not discuss my weight? I’m painfully aware that PCOS make gaining weight incredibly easy to do, and losing weight near impossible. I stick to a pretty strict diet (with the exception of occasional slip ups) and am a fairly active person, so thanks for that.


10. “Take a vacation!”

-This goes with number one. Also, I’m saving all my pennies for expensive fertility treatments since I have an actual medical condition that prevents me from getting pregnant. You see my problem.


11. “My (insert relationship) had trouble getting pregnant, they did (insert treatment). You should try that”

-To quote a fellow infertility warrior, this isn’t as simple as sharing beauty tips. (See also: number 5)


11. “Take one of mine!” / “My kids will make you change your mind”

– This isn’t Amazon, and I wasn’t looking for a review of motherhood. Please cherish the gifts I so desperately want


12. Anything considered medical advice

– I’ve had the test, I eat the things, I take the meds. Please, please, if there’s not an “MD” after your name, refrain from doling out medical advice 


13. “It’s all in God’s timing”

-Believe me, I know. God and I discuss His timeline allllllll the time. But, in behalf of non believers, please be sensitive that not everyone is a believer and this might actually be more frustrating in those cases.


14. “Wow, I can’t imagine! All my husband had to do was look at me and I was pregnant.”

-Don’t ever respond with this. Literally ever. 


15. Anything about miscarriage

– I’ve never had a miscarriage personally. But I imagine things like “at least you can get pregnant” “it’s for the best” “there must’ve been something wrong with the baby” or “you can just try again” are anything but helpful


16. Anything about “real” children

– In reference to adoption (or egg/sperm donation) the term you’re looking for is “biological.” Those children are real, and those adults are the parents. “Real” parents. Perhaps not biological, but still “real”


17. Referring to IVF successes as “designer babies”

– Stop. Just don’t do that.


18. “You don’t need IVF! God performs miracles every day!”

-That He does. And my baby will be no less of a miracle. In fact, I feel strongly that God is telling me to do ivf. 


19. “It was just a negative pregnancy test”

– I have a less than 2% chance of getting pregnant naturally. While not impossible, it’s extremely unlikely. Doesn’t make it any less disappointing each cycle when I’m still not pregnant


20. “Get a dog! It’s basically the same thing”

– I have four. Not the same.


There you have it! My comprehensive list of things not to say to a woman (or man) experiencing infertility. I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally know that most of you have nothing but good intentions. People don’t know what to say, I get it. But unfortunately, sometimes saying something you think is helpful is actually the opposite. So what can you say?

“I’m thinking about you”

“How can I help support you?”

“I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this”

“I’m here for you”

“Hoping/praying/wishing for your baby, too”

Join us on our battlefield. Lock arms with us. Be there to listen. Give advice only when it’s asked for. Love on us, support us, be there for us. If the person you know struggling with infertility is a person of faith, offer to pray with/for them. If they’re not, you can still offer positive thoughts/vibes. We don’t want or need to feel judged. This journey is hard enough, and we’ll be judged enough when we actually become parents. Just love and support us until we get there.

And, if you can’t find it inside yourself to love and support us on this journey, then simply keeping quiet is best. I can appreciate and respect that not everyone “gets it,” but you know what they say about when you have nothing nice to say…

Hopefully you enjoyed my *attempts* at humor, y’all. Thanks for your continued support!

Until next time,

Mal

Follow the leader

I’ve learned so much in the past few weeks about following the path God is paving for me. It’s funny, you think you’ve got it all figured out. You think your relationship with Him is on fire and couldn’t possibly change or improve. But then He breaks you down in a new and different way. Sure, it hurts. Sure, it’s scary. But it’s also necessary. You need those experiences so that you can go to a whole undiscovered level of Him.  

Everyone always tells me I’m so strong and I totally appreciate that! But if I’m being honest, I still have bad days. I still cry and ask God why I have to wait. I recently had a night where I didn’t think I could do this infertility thing anymore. I didn’t think I could handle the weight of my maternal desires anymore. But then He sent me a dream of my baby girl and I remembered why I have even stuck it through this long in the first place.

One of my absolute favorite songs right now is called “Called Me Higher” by All Sons and Daughters. The song has legitimately been on repeat on my iPhone for weeks now. It speaks to me so deeply and profoundly. In fact, we sang it in church a few weeks back and I wish I could describe the presence of the Holy Spirit around me in those moments. Wow. The lyrics I’m really feeling connected with right now are these:
And I could hold on

I could hold on to who I am and never let You

Change me from the inside

And I could be safe

I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home

Never let these walls down


But You have called me higher

You have called me deeper

And I’ll go where You will lead me Lord

“I’ll go where you will lead me, Lord.” Profound. Infertility is hard. Life is hard. I could have chosen to let these trials drag me down. Sometimes, I actually did. I could’ve been comfortable just simply believing in God and believing that He’d eventually give us our baby. But He called me higher than that! I had to know and trust that where He was, and is, calling me was is going to be more amazing than I could even imagine. It really is as simple as a game of follow the leader. He stuck his hand out to me, and I took it. The Lord wasn’t satisfied with idleness, and frankly, neither was I. 

Since I finally surrendered this journey to Him in July, I’ve seen a major shift in my relationship with The Father. He’s always around me, always talking to me, always directing my steps. I mean.. honestly. He’s doing some crazy stuff. Y’all, I’ve always dreamt of the medical field. Anyone who knows me, knows that about me. But a few months ago, I felt Him call me to ministry. Specifically in the realm of infertility. I actually had one friend mention this to me without me ever sharing that with her. Ministry!? Not in the form of becoming a pastor (I don’t think), but definitely being an example and a light for women who know this hurt. What??? But God, ministry wasn’t in my plan. 

Then again, neither was infertility.

 

“In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord. “If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God.” -Isaiah 66:9

God never intended for me, or any of us for that matter, to suffer for no reason. There is always a story to be told. Whether you’re experiencing a death or loss, whether you’re experiencing a divorce, illness, job loss, infertility, etc. The Lord is always for us. When these things come along, it’s to shape our testimony and prepare us to go out into the world and share the good news of victory. He makes beauty from ashes. Even the most devastating and tragic events will be something beautiful in the end. I may be waiting for my sweet miracle, but Jesus Christ bought and paid for this struggle when He died on the cross. He paid for yours, too. The battle is already won! He has called you and I higher than our pain, higher than our struggles, and higher than idleness. He has called us into action! Don’t just sit and wallow in that pain. It hurts, and the last thing you want to do is to keep going. It may even feel like you can’t keep going. But I promise you, He’s got so much up ahead. You’ve just got Trust that He’s called you to it.

I refuse to sit back and be quiet. I refuse to let this struggle be for nothing. I refuse to not celebrate the victory that I know is coming. I refuse because He chose me. He called me. And buddy, I’m going. Why? Because He’s never failed me yet.

Have the most blessed day,

Mal

Dear Joshua

My sweet husband,

Where do I even begin? I guess I’ll start by telling you I love you. I know you know this, but this is just your daily reminder. Let me tell you why.

I love you because you take care of me. Whether I’m sick, emotional, or facing some sort of problem, you’re always there to make sure I’m taken care of. I love you because you support me. Whatever crazy ideas or endeavors I come up with, you’re right there to cheer me on. I love you because you’re willing. I ask some crazy and silly things of you sometimes, and generally, you go along with them. You’re willing to do things, even outside of your comfort zone, simply because I ask you to. I love you because of your sense of humor. I couldn’t even begin to count the times we’ve sat and laughed until we cried with each other. I love your paternal instincts. I completely and utterly melt anytime I watch you interact with children, especially our nephew. These tiny glimpses at the kind of father you’ll be are exactly why I fight so hard to make you one. I love your passion. Whenever you do something, you do it 110%. You’re driven and hard-working, and I’m so inspired by it. I love you, because you’re you. The Lord designed you perfectly for me in His image, and I’m so grateful for that.

I know this infertility thing isn’t easy. It’s changed the both of us. Mostly for the better. We both have grown exponentially in our relationships with the Lord. But it’s changed us in other ways, too. Like the way the corners of your mouth now turn downward when you hear the news of the pregnancy of someone we know. I don’t know when we will get to announce our own pregnancy, or when our journey will be over. What I do know, is that I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

One day I’m going to watch you become a father. I’m going to see joy spread across your face as you lay eyes on our child for the very first time. I’ll watch you gaze into the eyes of a tiny human as you nervously hold them for the first time. I’ll watch you grow into the amazing father I know you’ll be as you learn to bathe, clothe, and care for the child we waited so long for. I’ll get to sit back blissfully and watch you run around the house with a squealing toddler. I’ll watch anxiously as you teach our children to ride their bikes. I’ll sit nervously with you when our children leave for college. I’ll celebrate with you when they each get married. And I’ll rejoice with you the day we become grandparents.

Until then, we just have to wait. Impatiently, faithfully, and prayerfully. I know we will receive our blessing. I know this, because the Lord has told me we will. When that day finally comes, I don’t know that anything else will top that. So even when things are tough and I’m falling apart, I’ll lean on you because you’re my rock and you get me through those times. When things are exciting, I will celebrate and rejoice with you as we praise God for the blessings he’s given us. Above all, I will continue to love you as your wife and your best friend because that’s my current role, and one that I love to fill.

Thanks for waiting with me,

Your wife