Things not to say to a childless couple...

1). If you really want kids, just relax and don’t try so hard. It will happen.
This was also a line in Angels in the Outfield. I don’t remember the Angels winning the pennant. Also, believe in a god or not, that being has not chosen to fix the physical issues I and my wife have. So if you know not of what you speak, be silent.

2). If you think you want kids get a dog.
I will keep this in mind when you let me know you have a food dish placed in your back yard and your kids crawl to it. Also, if your child bites me, I will put it down.

3). If you think you want kids, you can have mine. They will change your mind quick.
So, you as an incompetent parent want to offer me children you don’t want? Ok, I have a family attorney that will do the paperwork. But of course your husband, wife, grandma, etc would never approve. I understand it was not serious.

I am only posting this because I have heard all three in the last three days. Feel free to add your own.

SSG Schwartz

Gah, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to deal with these thoughtless and insensitive comments. The worst, I’m sure, is that they’re surely sincerely trying to say something reassuring or lighthearted, but end up just digging the knife in deeper. There’s this radical thing called ‘silence’ that a good number of people ought to try more often.

Gah, yes! I am sick and tired of hearing that - because it roughly translates to mean, ‘It’s your fault you’re not pregnant, you’re doing something wrong’. Even my mother has come out with this pearler.

I also personally hate it when people tell me ‘Oh, it takes on average 6 months for most couples to conceive’, or ‘yeah, it took us a while too, several months’. Not that reassuring for us, looking down the barrel of month 14 and counting, polycystic ovaries and a dodgy sperm analysis! (And we’re still at the early stages of long term TTC)

Could be worse - there is also a lovely trend of surprise which is also grating - ‘Oh, we managed first time!’, or (my mother again) ‘I’m not sure why you’re having trouble - all your Dad had to do was wave it at me’. Marks for humour, Mum, but still!!

  1. “But how can you be so selfish? What are you waiting for?”

Yeah, Mom put up with that one for several years… (docs claimed she was sterile, she evidently wasn’t).

This applies to everything. “If you really want X, just relax and don’t try so hard. It will happen.”

Yeah, right. Gets my vote as probably the most stupid advise ever.

But the rest is pretty harsh, too.

Then there is the “you can always adopt.”

Not that simple. Not everyone WANTS to adopt. Not everyone can accept an adopted child as truly THEIRS. Adoption of a healthy infant is expensive, and free adoptions through the foster care system are wrought with issues not everyone is willing to accept.

And the follow up to that:

“If you adopt, you’ll have one of your own…I know this woman…”

I’d like to apologize for being that woman. Its not easier to hear on this side that apparently I adopted by son as a fertility treatment to get my daughter. It also has all the echo of “if you just relax and stop worrying about it.”

Best wishes for success. My own response to these idiots was always to flood them with information. After a three minute lecture on odds of conceiving after a year of trying, or the statistical difference between couples who are trying and couples who give up and assume they are infertile conceiving (none, last I checked), their eyes glaze over and they MIGHT figure out why the only appropriate response is “I’m sorry to hear that” (unless its “I have an egg I can donate.”)

Bloody hell, how rude!

We always hear of the stuff the childfree get, and as one of them I can confirm it’s annoying as hell, but I think it must be worse to hear such stupid comments when you’re actually trying for a child and have had no luck yet.

When does this sort of stuff come up, Schwartz? Do people ask you if you’re planning on having kids and you say you’re trying? Just tell them ‘yes’ and fix them with a steely glare.

Why don’t you have kids? If I heard this once, I heard it a million times. There are many reasons for not having children: biological, genetic, sociological, psychological, financial, and just plain personal.

My standard reply is “None of your damn business.”

I wouln’t say anything unless I knoew whether they were childless by choice or by unwanted circumstance.

If by choice, I would say, “Smart move.” Otherwise I would just shut up.

'Course, in a world populated by people like me, we’d be extinct and the termites or dolphins would be in charge.

What about the helpful advice you suddenly start receiving about your sex life, such as “have you tried propping your hips up after sex” or “have you tried shagging till your eyes bleed”? The latter was an actual comment from a friend who got pregnant the first month they started trying and knows about the two years of trying we have under our belt.

Apart from being rather inappropriate, there is also the implication that the only reason you aren’t pregnant is because somehow you have been doing it wrong. Or not trying hard enough. I know we can be an oversensitive bunch (the infertile), but surely it’s not that hard to imagine that we may already have tried the basics by this point?

We are about to move on to IVF and if there is one thing that this whole stressful experience has taught me is that sometimes the best thing to say to someone who is going through something difficult, whatever that may be, is a simple “I’m sorry that you have to deal with this.”

What are you supposed to say when someone genuinely wants kids, can’t have them, and is telling you about it? This happened to me only yesterday and I had no idea what to say that wasn’t trite or stupid. People don’t always mean the things you put down cruelly, they are trying to give you hope, but I didn’t even say those things. Give me a proper response, please?

The bit about “relaxing and it will happen” is actually pretty good advice, in a general sense.

I guess the hard part if working out if the person you’re speaking with knows this already… which I suppose most couples who’ve been trying for a while will already know.

How about, “I’m sorry to hear you’re having this trouble. I hope everything works out for you.” I don’t think people who have issues like this are really looking to their acquaintances for advice, so much as commiseration.

How is that good advice? Relaxing won’t make infertility go away.

No, it isn’t. Not in the least.

When someone found out I was childless she asked “Well, have you ever been pregnant?” One of the most tasteless things I’ve ever heard in my life.

I can’t STAND #1. You know what, I could be comatose and there’s STILL no way we’ll conceive, short of a complete reproductive transplant (I’d like to ask you give her a 2nd vag, too, so we can “try” twice as hard and shut up the other half of ‘helpers’).

I tell people now that we’re childless by choice, which is partially true. We can’t afford to adopt, so we chose that we’re just not going to. And, for all those couples with kids, there are no ways of getting free money. EVERY adoption workkshop tells you to get a home equity loan (bad idea), and the paperwork is actually the EASY part of the process. Unless we want a heavily handicapped child. Those are free and available immediately with minimal hassle. State’ll even pay us too. Great idea for the couple with no children already. I also haven’t tried skydiving, so I’ll go jump out of a jet DB Cooper style to get the hang of it.

Finally, the Sheckstress is a pre-school teacher. Has been trained to be one since she was in 7th grade (Brazilian education system). She’s worked with close to 200 children, between 2 and 4, for 9 hours a day. I’m pretty sure she knows better than you do about how to control your child better than you, who sticks Johnny in day care from 7 am to 6 pm, then feeds him before he goes to bed at 8. Just because she’s unable to conceive doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to mother.

I got the, “So are you sterile or is she barren?” once. Yours is the first time I ever heard a more tasteless phrase. Well done.

:smack: That was said to us so many times by well-meaning relatives and friends. Fat lot of good relaxing will do you if you have an actual physical problem.
I don’t want to get into personal details here, but people, please do not say this to anyone who has been trying for any significant length of time, it ends up hurting more than helping.

Heh. No.

(Been trying for two years now.)