23 February, 2012

I'm infertile, not stupid

I once had a close friend tell me how to take a pregnancy test.  This is a woman who had no problems getting pregnant, had two children easily, and probably only took two pregnancy tests in her life!  She did this after I’d been trying for years, and lost my first pregnancy, and was busy charting my cycle, taking my temperature, etc, and far more in tune with my body than she was or ever had been with hers.  She had obviously never considered what these struggles of mine meant, what I went through every month, that I might anxiously take pregnancy tests, hoping I'm pregnant, worried about another ectopic pregnancy. 

Assuming the infertile know nothing about the conception process, or indeed pregnancy, is so wrong.  I would never have lectured my friend on healthy and unhealthy foods.  She's had a life-long issue with weight, and belonged to Weight Watchers many times.  She knows exactly which foods she should and shouldn't eat.  And she knows how to step on a scale.  Just like I knew exactly what to do to get pregnant - and how to pee on a stick.  

Those of us who have been through infertility know enormous amounts about the conception process, and many of us know all about the early weeks of pregnancy, and many more of us (whether we’ve got there or not, whether we’ve experienced it or not) know a lot more about being pregnant (and sadly what can go wrong) than women who have been pregnant themselves.  I know that – for various reasons – I do.  

On a brighter note, I helped a friend/workmate – not infertile, but getting worried after six months of trying – to get pregnant by informing her she needed to have sex before ovulation not after.  I take credit for creating her sons.

Have you ever been treated as if you’re stupid just because you're infertile?


  1. Oho! I got married "too late" at least according to one of my SIL. My SIL's and BIL's, after obviously I wasn't pregnant 6 months into the marriage, asked whether or not I "knew how to do it".
    They said things like "at your age, you should hurry up, don't you know you're in a high-risk group" blah, blah, and more blah.
    To me, those comments only prove that they're the stupid ones.
    *big hugs*

    1. SparklingRain (I love that name), I love your blog, but having trouble commenting. I didn't want you to think you're being ignored.

    2. Mali, thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment on my blog :) xoxo

  2. I also heard some stupid comments that I married "too late".
    I was 28 when I met the love of my life and 30 when we got married.

    What a stupid comment - can you marry BEFORE you meet the love of your life? Of course some women do - just marry any guy that they are currently with - because it it the right time to start to make babies. Anyway, not my stile.


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  4. Well, my Mom once commented that we had trouble getting pregnant probably 'coz I took the pills for about 1.5 years before we started trying (in Indo, there's still this belief that if you use the pills or injection to prevent pregnancies, you'll have trouble getting pregnant 'coz over there virginity is still considered VERY important and living together before marriage is shunned upon).

    Anyway, in my defense, I told her that there were others who took the pills for years but once they stopped the pills, they got pregnant in a month or two or three. Thankfully she never mentioned that again and she supported our decision to stop trying to have a baby and to surrender to life without kids.

  5. The other day a coworker decided that she need to inform me that her daughter took several months to get pregnant. After a few months of trying her daughter started elevating her legs after sex and BANG she was pregnant. I know she is just trying to offer good advice, but if she was really close enough to me to give me advice she would know that we were ttc for 7 years...and yes we did the leg elevation thing, and we did it a lot. People don't understand that infertile people spend a lot of time trying to find any method that could increase their chances. I really cringe when people offer me unsolicited advice without knowing anything about my personal history. They just assume since I am in my early/mid 30’s that I had better get going on it. They don’t realize we tried our hardest, failed, and moved on.

  6. I've had the relaxing advice a lot. Which is very stupid, when you think about it.

    I did the legs in the air thing. At the same time I would remember sex ed at school and being told that standing up after sex wasn't a reliable form of contraception, and wondering if doing the opposite was really going to be any help with conceiving!

  7. You're so right, I think many of us know much, much more about fertility, conception & pregnancy than the average person on the street. We had bereaved but non-infertile parents attending our support group & I was amazed sometimes at what they didn't know. :p

    Fortunately, I was never subjected to any of the "maybe you're not doing it right" comments :p but I did get a few "what are you waiting fors??" :p

  8. When I first shared my early menopause diagnosis with some male colleagues they offered their 'help'. I thought it was funny and kind. (well, and stupid)
    (And at the same time was very grateful it was my eggs that were the problem, because two of them would have been phenotypically suitable as well as kind and attractive)

  9. I have definitely felt this way sometimes already in only 2 years of being infertile. People typically assume I know nothing about getting pregnant (whereas, I know a lot b/c I have a good friend who has PCOS and I was there with her through her struggles to get pregnancy and pregnancy, plus I wrote papers in college on vegetarianism and pregnancy) and nothing about actually being pregnant or having a child.

    My most recent annoyance was I was telling a friend of mine how my best friend who just had a baby recently is already saying she's not sure she'll do that again. My friend (who doesn't have any children) said to me "Well, Nicole, that's what all new mothers say... it will pass" - or something to that effect. But, I often feel like people think because I am infertile I couldn't even imagine what it would be like to be a parent or pregnant or anything like that. I find it really annoying.

  10. Not infertile over here, but stupid. I could never manage to pee on the stick, I always had to get a paper cup...maybe not "stupid", maybe just awkwardly uncoordinated.