The question of ‘When are you guys going to have kids?’ or a version of that can be very difficult for a couple. For us, the first year or so it wasn’t so bad, but it became a dreaded, painful question. People knew we wanted more kids, so after a couple years that question seemed to nearly disappear and it was the unspoken. It actually, for a period of time made me hesitant to hang around certain people and gave me anxiety at family functions. Though we know that you are asking because you care, just the presence of that question draws pain.
I don’t know the exact statistics but getting pregnant just isn’t that easy for some people. Some people aren’t interested in getting pregnant. So, be cautious with this question, be sure it is asked in the right setting and in the right way.
If you are out and you notice that the female party who presumably could be at the point of pregnancy, do not ask why she isn’t drinking. Do not make a fuss about not having a glass of wine or wanting to participate in an alcoholic beverage. I often choose not to drink any alcohol, this is a personal choice, it has never had anything to do with being pregnant. If the female is pregnant and you aren’t aware, it’s because she can’t tell you yet, don’t put her in that position. If someone is choosing not to drink, just let that decision be enough in itself.
I feel like the struggle we felt is so common but it is unspoken. People aren’t open about their struggles in getting pregnant or their discussions about adoption, this is because its a hard conversation, its often a hard reality. When it is mentioned it feels like you are being judged, like we are sick or incapable. I am confident that reaction is not the reaction that people intend for us to feel. But their lack of response or the look on their face says it all. Maybe they don’t know how to reply, maybe they have never asked a question then been shocked by a response. Be prepared before asking.
We know plenty of people that have had successful IVF & IUI treatments, but that isn’t for everyone. Please consider that is a huge choice and a very personal choice. To some it seems like a simple next step. For us, it was not the next step.
If you have judgements, be careful how you insert yourself. Realize the pain and suffering the couple has already had. Realize that they are making decisions together. These are very personal conversations be supportive of your family and friend’s choices.
If you are close with a couple going through any of these struggles, inform yourself. The couple doesn’t want sympathy they want empathy, understanding. Those of us that have traveled this path know that people typically mean well, just do us a favor and think before you speak. Nobody is asking you to understand the pain, just support our choices and be there for us to lean on when we need you.
We personally have been very fortunate with the support received from our family and friends about our choice to adopt. But I won’t lie to you, the questions early on hurt. We felt ashamed or inadequate to not have the answer of ‘we’re pregnant’. We have become very resilient and strong through this, but everyone comes out of the journey with different feelings, at different times and equipped differently so be careful what you say.