Thanks, but No Thanks to Unsolicited Fertility Advice

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Usually, I’m receptive of advice, especially when someone has thread that path, I’m about to take. It is only wise to tap into the wealth of experience of others. However, when someone offers me theoretical advice, based on what they had read or heard or think it should be, I’m like, “Okay, I hear you.”

That “Okay, I hear you” attitude came up recently with a tinge of irritation. When I got the flier for an online fertility talk, offering fertility solutions by a life coach, it sounded interesting. I was quite expectant, that if nothing else, there will be tangible coping strategies that TTC couples can apply immediately to their lives to ease the burden of the journey.

I missed the talk itself but went online later to check out the hashtag. Honestly, I tried to keep an open mind. I so wanted to see the positive in this talk, however, when I saw, “Children are rewards from God” Rewards for being good or bad? Being mad, after all, there are mad women who get pregnant and have babies? Reward for exactly what?

The part that got my ante totally up, was when this life coach started suggesting the TTC couples should try the adoption routine. For goodness sake, adoption isn’t for everyone. In that instant, I just knew, she obviously has never TTC” I had been there, I had once thought too, that adoption was easy and that it made “sense” that if you can’t have babies biologically, you could have them by adoption.

I have been educated on this matter over time and I just know that everyone’s path is this fertility journey is different. The solution is within each couple and only they can find it. I feel like, this life coach would most certainly blanch at the idea of surrogacy or donor cycles.  You don’t give advice on such a sensitive matter as TTC, if you have not walked in their shoes.

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Yes, the intention might have been good but the feel was all shades of wrong, at least from my end. As for the coping strategies, that I thought would come in handy. A TTC mom described them as commonsensical to any TTC mom. I might as well say, it’s a waste of data and time, that I should have been spent catching some shut eyes.

It’s laudable that there are so many people showing interest in issues of infertility and the challenges accompanying it. That’s great, as the more people who know about infertility, who talk about infertility, the better for us all and the lesser the stigmatisation is likely to become, as people become more educated about this condition that is depriving so many of their dreams of children.

That experience made me wary of any fertility talk or even someone providing fertility solutions and does not even look like they walked in the TTC shoes an inch or like yours truly, have walked with several women on this journey, courtesy of The Fertile Chick of course.

So, dear Life coach and fertility solution providers, kindly note that, while most TTC couples are open to advice, (provided they have shared their stories with you), you don’t offer solution or testimonies of people, who have overcome TTC. It inspiring and depressing at the same time.

Besides, let’s hear from the horse’s mouth as they say, (not that Kenny, a mommy of angels is a horse). The main reason, you shouldn’t bother, according to Kenny is because, “Practically everybody knows somebody who tried to get pregnant for years and years and finally, it happen after they made one simple change, like the story of the woman, who TTC for several years, until she found a doctor, who diagnosed her hypothyroidism and treated it. Voila! She got pregnant. Just like that.

I tell you at the beginning, advice like this from people, who have TTC or are even genuinely concerned, were appreciated. My husband and I knew, something wasn’t right and as JJC at that time, we were willing to try anything, I mean anything, I was quite guilty of that. But it changed, from our experience; the longer a couple has been trying to conceive the less they want to hear more advice.

Interestingly, people don’t understand that part. They think, the longer the years, you have been waiting, the more desperate you become. No, that’s not how it works, at least in our case. For us, it was a case of the longer you wait, the more jaded you become.  The thing is, we have tried everything; the teas, the diets, the supplements, the timed sex, the positions, yep and your imagination can play out the rest.

In fact, we do still seek and take advice. The difference is, we have limited our sources of information. The endless stories about what others did to finally conceive are plainly a pain, and more often than not, discouraging. So, please stop.

While we are on the subject of unsolicited advice, please stop saying this ever-quoted piece of advice, “It won’t happen until you stop trying.” Mehn! Whoever came up with that phrase, never TTC. Maybe that’s true, but the advice just isn’t helpful. Besides, how else is it supposed to happen?  Abeg, leave matters alone.

Since, I’m still ranting, I might as well include moms of one child or several children, for that matter, who sometimes tell me, they can relate because they so badly want another child. Ouch!!! It’s quite painful!

I share this point cautiously because I don’t want to imply that their struggles and feelings are not valid. No, secondary infertility can hurt terribly and leave you feeling confused. However, the presentation of those emotions is so important if you want me to hear you correctly.

I will not lie, it hurts when someone tries to artificially relate in an effort to provide some comfort. All that does is make the person seem cold, even if they are not. All I hear is “Oh you can’t have kids at all? I know how you feel because we can’t have two.” No, don’t bother.

Lastly, for any fertility solution sharing to come up, I think an established relationship is a prerequisite for this kind of sharing to happen positively.”

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So, before you advise, ask yourself, has this TTC mom shared anything with me? If the answer is no, then don’t bother and if this is an attempt to build a profile, by “helping” TTC couples, then, like earlier said, it’s the wrong approach. In fact, it is the wrong sphere. It’s just too sensitive.

It’s so easy to hurt people here, because they are already vulnerable.

Food for thought.

 

 

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

 

Photo credits:

1. http://everydayfeminism.com/

2. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/

3. http://www.mynd.nu/wp-content/

 

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Mine is secondary infertility as I have a teenager daughter from a previous relationship. Trust me, it doesn’t make it easier to bear just because you have one especially when you are in a new relationship. Infertility is hard and not better or worse because you have an older child or because of the period of time you’ve been waiting. It is H.A.R.D.

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