Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Ten Things NEVER to Say to Someone Who Doesn't Have Kids || Guest Post

As someone who has been diagnosed with 'unexplained infertility' – which basically means no-one knows why I can't conceive – I've had my fair share of questions and comments from people wondering why I don't have kids yet.

People don't have children for many reasons. Some can't, others don't want any. But whether someone is childless by choice or by circumstance, it's never ok to say any of these things to them...

1. “Why haven't you got kids yet? Don't you want them? Shouldn't you get a move on?”

When people find out that I'm 34 and have been married for six years, more often than not their first question is, “Have you got any kids?” It's an innocent question but when I say no, the next question is usually, “Don't you want them?” to which I take a deep breath and answer yes, of course I do. Most people will sense my tone at this point and decide not to push it any further, but some are oblivious and keep the questions coming: “So WHEN are you planning to have kids? You're no spring chicken, y'know!”

2. “You'll change your mind when you're older!”

Some people don't actually want kids and that's fine. What's not fine, however, is thinking you know their mind better than they do. If someone tells you they're childless by choice, the correct response is simply, “Ok” - not “You just haven't found the right person to have kids with yet” or “You'll feel differently when you're 30!”

3. “You'll understand when you have kids.”

It's insulting to tell a woman she doesn't understand something because she hasn't pushed a baby out of her hoo-ha, especially when that's beyond her control. Even if what you're saying is true and it's something only another parent can relate to, your comment is not helpful at best and downright hurtful at worst.

4. “You don't know real love until you have a baby.”

Wow. Just wow. There are no words for this one. If someone actually said this to me, I'd just turn around and walk away.

5. “You think you're tired? Wait until you have screaming toddlers like me!”

Parent logic: I am the tiredest person in the world. 'Tiredest' isn't even a real word, but I'm too tired to use real words. If you don't have at least one child, don't even think about complaining that you're tired. Tiredness is reserved solely for parents of young children, didn't you know?

6. “Well, you don't have kids, so your opinion doesn't matter”

Admittedly, not many people are this rude, but this comment was actually made to my sister (who's infertile and desperate for children). Someone at work made this remark because she dared to offer advice to someone else (who asked for it) who was having a problem with their son. A third party who'd been listening to the conversation butted in with this corker. She spent the rest of the day locked in the toilets in tears and eventually got sent home.

There's also a plethora of stupid things people come out with when they find out you're battling infertility. Sometimes it's because they feel awkward and don't know what to say. It could also be because they want to offer help. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself opening your mouth to say one of these things to someone who's just told you they can't have kids, just say “I'm sorry to hear that” instead. It'll save both of you a lot of embarrassment.

7. “It WILL happen, I just know it!”

In their defence, the people who say this are usually just trying to cheer me up and say something positive. But it's their certainty that gets to me the most. Are you God? You can't possibly say that it'll DEFINITELY happen. You don't know what's wrong with me - hell, the doctors don't even know what's wrong with me. If it's all the same to you, I'll disregard your blind optimism.

8. “Just relax and it'll happen! You're too stressed. Go on holiday, have a drink or two and you'll come back pregnant!”

Newsflash! That's not how infertility works. Oh, and I don't drink. So telling me just to get drunk and it'll happen is inane. Advice like this is why I'm stressed.

9. “My friend was trying for ten years with no luck...but now she has five kids!”

People always like to tell you about the exception to the rule. A friend of a friend who was told they'd never have children and now has a small army of the little critters. But these people are just that – the exception. That story about your friend doesn't make me any more pregnant.

10. “You just need to practise more!”

I know you're trying to lighten the mood by making a joke, but when you're constantly having sex (even when neither of you feels like it) in the hope of conceiving and still getting your period month after month, it's just not funny.

If you don't have kids, what are some stupid comments you've received?

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