Wednesday , July 30, 2014 - 5:56 PM
Delicacy has never been a strong skill of mine. Nothing about me is petite, subtle or ethereal. Instead my mouth is gaping, inappropriate behavior robust, and I only find myself associated with grace when I come face to face to those who forgive my offense. A couple of years ago I did learn to think before I speak about 50 percent of the time, and those times occur when I have actual empathy to speak on the subject.
I find myself second guessing the decision to speak when I’m confronted with a pain I cannot speak to — women who cannot have children. These women are different than women who do not want to have children; having three myself, I can understand the sentiment from time to time.
According to the Office of Women’s Health nearly 6.1 million women struggle with infertility, thus struggling with a world which doesn’t understand or address a problem such as this. For me, I have no clue on appropriate responses, usually meaning well, instead sounding like a babbling, ignorant Donald Sterling character. There’s also no Idiot’s Guide to Keeping Your Foot Out of Your Mouth books stocked on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.
I’m only now readjusting to life with Brian. He spent some days in Alabama doing rocket science stuff. His duration at home included some snuggling, but for the most part we’ve debated who did more work while he was gone. Only one of us ended his night in a hot tub and minibar … While out with a group of friends I made the remark how my kids drove me crazy and what was I thinking having all these darlings. The comment was made in jest, until I realized how insensitive the remark was to a friend struggling with pregnancy. As I replay the scenario in my head it’s as if the ill-conceived comment exited my mouth in slow motion i.e. Whhhhhy Diiiiiid I haaave kiddddddddssss? Doh! A moment where I chose a joke over kindness.
She waved off my insensitivity with her usual class, but I went home haunted. I apologized, only to regret how I phrased those words. This led to a post-convo text which only put my stupidity in print. Basically I kept digging a hole, when I broke the shovel I went and bought another. At this point I arrived at the conclusion I don’t know how to speak with women who can’t get pregnant, can’t carry a baby past age of viability or dealing with a failed adoption process.
Until my children I didn’t full digest this complex situation women are living with. Now that I’ve spent the last five years in the phase of motherhood I’ve learned these few things of what not to say:
1. Don’t say this is part of God’s plan. For some this can be a comfort, for many it’s a slap in the face to his/her religion. It’s a medical condition, not God’s plan.
2. Don’t offer advice or solutions on how to get pregnant. Essential oils aren’t going to bring on pregnancy so don’t bother pushing your merchandise.
3. Don’t say they have plenty of time to keep trying.
4. Don’t automatically assume it’s a female issue. The Centers for Disease Control says one-third of infertility is female caused. Another one-third is a male issue, and the last third is a combination of the two genes together.
Here I have a list of what not to do. What I really want are those perfect words to convey my sorrow, understanding, and anger I feel when good people don’t get what they deserve.
It’s funny to look back at my verbal quilt of moronic comments: saying “freeballing” in a sacrament talk (I did that); patting myself on the back on how clean my kids are as one stands behind me eating boogers; and insisting I can tie my own lumber to the roof of my car only to have it cascade off as I pull out of the Lowe’s parking lot. It’s OK to be silly, not so with being cold.
It’s as if each day of my life is a page meant to be written and placed in Idiot’s Guide to Keeping Your Foot Out of Your Mouth.
Meg Sanders fell down the rabbit hole of motherhood four years ago quitting her job as a news producer. Now she spends her days grasping onto her sanity, striving to be a good person, and fighting the urge to eat her young. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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