Stop asking women when they are going to have a baby!Aug 16, 2021
"When are you going to have a baby?"
It’s a seemingly innocent question on the surface. But to the woman who is struggling to conceive it’s like a thousand daggers to the heart.
It’s the question we self-isolate (yep, we were doing it way before COVID-19 came along!) to avoid getting asked.
Over 10 years ago, while on our honeymoon, my husband and I decided it was time to start a family. I’m your typical Type A personality, so I had it planned out perfectly. What I hadn’t planned on was it taking 7 years to complete.
After 6 months of negative pregnancy tests, we sought out help and were referred to a fertility specialist. We did all the tests and apart from my age (I was 33 at the time which is ancient in terms of your eggs) and my husbands’ sperm being a little sub-par, there was no reason for us not falling pregnant. So, we jumped on the IVF train, once again hopeful that this would be our solution.
During that time, we were asked by well-meaning relatives and friends -
“When are you going to have a baby?”.
The question was a little frustrating, but not too hard to handle. “We have a few things we’d like to do first”, we’d respond. Telling people, we were already trying wasn’t an option – I was an overachiever, so admitting I couldn’t get pregnant was a little embarrassing. So, we lied.
On our first IVF cycle, they discovered that I had a non-existent endometrium. It basically means I didn’t have a lining on my uterus for the embryo to stick to, so there was no point in completing the cycle.
For the next 6 months we floated looking for the magic cure to thicken my lining – different exploratory surgeries, homeopaths, acupuncture, diets, supplements, and Viagra pessaries (yep!). We tried the lot.
During that time, we were asked by friends and colleagues -
“When are you going to start a family?”
It stung a little, especially given the fact that we didn’t have an answer or a path forward. “We’re really focusing on our careers at the moment” we’d respond. It was starting to get a little frustrating.
A year into our fertility journey, our specialist pulled us aside and told us that the only real hope for us to have a baby of our own was through a Surrogacy arrangement. Being a control freak by nature, the thought of handing over such a huge responsibility to another woman sent me into a tailspin. This was not how I had pictured it.
But we were lucky. My husband’s sister who had witnessed our heartbreak first hand over the last year, generously and selflessly volunteered to have a baby for us.
For the next 6 months, we went through the necessary legal process – going before a board of doctors to determine there was no other path for us but surrogacy, copious medical tests, counseling on both sides, a team of lawyers to draw up and sign a surrogacy agreement, and a bucket load of money.
During that time, we were asked by people we had only just met -
“Are you going to have children?”
It terrified us, given the fact that we were now impacting our whole family in our quest to become parents. “Oh yes, one day” we’d tell them. We were in unchartered territory now.
For the next 2 years, we travelled a slippery slope. Every negative result was soul-destroying. Not only were we putting ourselves through the ups and downs, but we were making my sister-in-law endure it too. 9 IVF cycles and one miscarriage in total.
After our miscarriage, we were asked -
“Why don’t you have children yet?”
It was at this point that I began distancing myself from social gatherings. I couldn’t answer that question politely. I would either be rude or I would run to the bathroom crying.
Finally, we got pregnant, and this one stuck. For the next 9 months when we were asked that question, our answer was not your typical response. My husband in particular would have to tell people that his sister was pregnant with his child. Talk about awkward!! That usually shut them up though.
In December 2014, we finally became parents to a beautiful baby boy. He took us 5 years to meet, but was well worth the wait.
2 weeks later I fell pregnant naturally. There are no words to explain our shock, elation, and amazement. And then the questions started -
“Are you planning on having another baby?”
Our response to this question was going to be “No, just one child for us”. To be honest, we really did want to have two children, however my sister-in-law was quite clear that this was a one-time gig for her. And to be honest, I didn’t blame her. We were blessed and completely grateful for our little boy now. But given the current circumstances, I just shrugged and said “We’ll see”, while quietly smiling, given our secret.
8 weeks later, I had a miscarriage. It broke me. And because I didn’t want anyone to ask me that freaking question, I shut myself away while I grieved and picked myself back up again.
6 months later I fell pregnant again. And 9 months later we had a beautiful baby girl.
7 years, 9 IVF cycles, a surrogacy baby, 2 miscarriages, and a natural baby.
Today I am a fertility coach. I help women deal with the ups and downs, including how to handle the insensitive questions and comments that come with the territory of infertility.
I also use my voice to educate others on how heartbreaking having a baby is for some – in fact 1 in 6 Australians and 1 in 8 Americans.
Whether you are currently trying for your first baby, have suffered a miscarriage or stillbirth, or are going through secondary infertility, trying to have a family is not always a joyous occasion. It can be stressful, expensive, devastating, isolating, and soul-destroying.
Above all, it is private. Asking someone when they are going to have a baby or start a family may seem like an innocent question and a great conversation starter. But for some, it is a source of anxiety and heart-break.
You never know what someone is going through. So with respect for all those currently, previously, or who will suffer from infertility in the future, please STOP ASKING PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE A BABY!
If you'd like to read a little more about my story, you can in my book, The Injustice of Infertility. Available at all major online bookstores or head HERE for your free chapter.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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