How to Handle Insensitive Comments About Fertility?
Monday, June 26, 2023
If you are working through fertility issues, you’ve probably learned that you can’t share your experience with everyone. No doubt, someone will say something that dismisses your feelings or outright offends you.
Unfortunately, the grief that couples experience is not really validated as an actual ‘loss’ on a societal level. Many people simply don’t understand what it’s like to go through challenges trying to conceive. Unintentional remarks can feel dismissive, leaving the couple feeling sad and anxious.
If you’ve been subjected to insensitive comments, here are some tips that you can try:
Change the subject
If someone asks a question you don’t want to answer, change the subject. You don’t owe anyone information about your infertility or treatments. If they don’t get the message, try the another tactic.
Respond with humor
Educate and inform the person about your situation in a kind, but informative way. On some days, this is easier to do. Responding with humor can ease frustration, and nicely remind the commenter to choose their words more wisely.
Be straightforward, and say it’s a private matter
You can either choose to openly discuss your fertility treatment or if you don’t want to discuss it, let them know that this topic is personal to you and that talking about it makes you uncomfortable. It can feel releasing and will give you control of the situation.
Remove yourself from the situation
If you’re just not able to make any kind of response, it’s perfectly ok to excuse yourself and walk away. And use some of your own coping strategies to regulate your emotions so you feel like you’re in a better place.
Let your partner handle the conversation
After privately deciding what is off-limits to share, let your partner handle snarky comments or the nosey aunt, or in-laws.
Focus on self-care during this time
It could be that they are feeling helpless and trying to make you feel better. Keep in mind those comments are coming from others, who probably “don’t understand pregnancy loss or infertility.” Sometimes, such situations can be avoided by avoiding social event for a bit and seeking out healthy social support. It is incredibly helpful to connect with at least one or two other persons who have gone through this situation.