When someone experiences or goes through infertility, or pregnancy and infant loss, it's very hard to tolerate just about anything someone might say. For a long time it can feel as if there are no correct words to help your heart heal, but on occasion, someone will say a gem that really makes you feel a little warmth and brightness during such a stressful and dark time in your life.
On the flip side, there are also the people who say things that you absolutely cannot believe another human being would have the balls to say to someone experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, grieving over the loss of a pregnancy or coping with a stillbirth.
If you or your loved ones are dealing with these heart wrenching issues, hand all the people you know and love this list of what NOT to say someone enduring fertility or pregnancy/infant loss.
1. "You can always adopt."
After I miscarried, an old ex-friend of mine's advice was "Well there are plenty of babies and kids looking for homes. You can always adopt."
While that statement is true, number one, nowhere in that statement does it acknowledge the grief I experienced and number two: news flash sister: Not everyone can afford to adopt. I know I couldn't back then and I still can't! Throwing those words around is foolish. Adoption is a completely lovely way to grow your family, but not everyone is equipped to do so. Please, bite your tongue people.
2. "Maybe it's not your time."
Really? Really? Saying that to someone struggling with infertility is like a dagger in the heart. Is there some schedule going around in which people "sign up" to have kids? Is Wednesday not a convenient day for someone with the first name "May" to conceive? "Maybe it's not your time" doesn't offer any support for your friend or loved one struggling with fertility issues. Just save it please.
3. "God has another plan for you."
I understand this phrase brings some comfort to select people and there is absolutely nothing wrong with someone finding solace in spirituality and religion, but to simply tell someone "Oh hey guess what? Looks like a baby isn't in the plan for you that G-d has scheduled. You'll have to get over this."
4. "Well, you have one child at least."
For the parent who has a child or two children and wants to expand the family, that sentiment doesn't make matters better, especially to someone who just lost a pregnancy or experienced a stillbirth. That baby or that potential baby was a spirit and being in his or her own right. You can't just substitute one child for the other. Sorry, not sorry.
5. "Kids aren't all they're cracked up to be."
Yes, children are hard work but I am pretty sure that the person enduring fertility issues and/or grieving the loss of a pregnancy wouldn't mind the hard work of a child.
6. "At least you can get pregnant."
Telling this to a woman who miscarried or suffered infancy loss won't make her spirits any brighter. At least you can – insert any phrase of life…what does it really do? At least you can be quiet. Right now. Amen.
7. "What happened?"
This is the sort of phrase that shouldn't be asked. It's meant out of genuine care but when someone loses a baby, pregnancy or simply can't conceive, let him or her give you the blow by blow details when ready. Don't ask. Your friend or loved one may not be ready to speak just yet.
Knowing what to say to someone in this situation isn't easy. Offering to listen, saying you're sorry, seeing how you can help someone—perhaps run errands or bring coffee over, is the best way to help someone enduring fertility issues or saying goodbye to a pregnancy.