I found out yesterday that my cousin, several years younger than I am, who has been married only a short while, is pregnant. I’m in my thirties and have been married for nearly a decade.
I asked another relative if that’s what my cousin was calling to tell me, as I wanted to be able to prepare myself emotionally to respond to yet ANOTHER person getting pregnant, while I sit here and wait. Unfortunately, the relative I asked started telling me that my cousin was “afraid” of telling me her news because I “react very badly” every time children are mentioned.
It’s both an unfair assessment and an insensitive thing to say. It infuriated me. Why do people think they can tell me how I should feel about infertility?
I will admit that I react strongly when family members ask me point-blank “when” I’m going to have kids. Even before being diagnosed with infertility, I hated that question; it’s no one else’s business, and can’t I be supposed to have some value even without procreating? But I’ve never reacted in any way other than saying “Congratulations!” to someone announcing their pregnancy. I might, in the privacy of my home, lament the fact that I’m the only woman in a six-state radius that doesn’t have kids and isn’t pregnant, but I don’t take my frustration out on other women.
I don’t want lots of expression of pity or sympathy from my family, but an acknowledgement that this IS an emotionally stressful time would be nice. Perhaps some statement of “you know, it must be hard to hear this…” instead of “you react so poorly”. Maybe a little bit of support for WHATEVER I choose to do about infertility, rather than wondering why I don’t immediately jump into the magic cocktail of drugs that fertility doctors use. Instead of feeling loved and appreciated by family members despite my lack of children, I feel like no one believes me. Do they think I’m exaggerating? Or that my feelings are entirely disproportionate to the cause? Or that infertility should be as quickly accepted, like it’s as simple and unimportant as a common cold?
I feel very, very alone in this whole situation. My usual support network is not being very supportive, and the whole subject rubs my emotions so raw that I can’t even tell people that their words are more hurtful than helpful. I used to joke that I should wear a sign around my neck that said “I’m deaf, and can’t hear you” to get people off my case. Now I think it should also say “I’m infertile, so please stop telling that I’ll never be a real adult until I have kids.”