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Dear Sarcastically Southern...


September 05, 2018

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Sarcastically Southern advice column is written anonymously by a woman in Bulloch County. To submit a question, please e-mail her at sarcasticallysouthernblog@gmail.com. Stay tuned for more information on her upcoming blog and Facebook! Follow her on Twitter at @SarcasticallyS5.

 

 

Dear Sarcastically Southern,

I just got married last November and I’m already getting “the questions.” I swear, if I had a dollar for every time someone has said, “When are you going to have children?” and “You know, your mom really wants to be a grandma,” then I could retire! Why do people think that the SECOND a woman gets a ring on her finger that we are counting the days to ovulation and conception? What if I decide I don’t want kids? What if I struggle to conceive? Will I be getting these questions until I have a child?

 

Sincerely, No Womb at the Inn

 

No Womb,

I know I haven’t been doing this column for very long, but I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have not related to a question so much since I started writing.

Unfortunately, many people don't see these questions for what they are: an invasion of privacy and a potential emotional trigger for someone. They don't realize how hurtful those questions can be for a woman who is battling with infertility or who is struggling with the decision on if they want to have children.

 

It is no one’s business but yours and your husband’s if you want to have children. Gently remind the people who ask of that fact. If they feel that they are entitled to know things about your personal life and your personal decisions, then they should be someone close enough to you and your spouse that you can have an honest and open discussion with them about how their questions affect you — and I suggest that you have that conversation. If you’re like me and humor is your way to cope, then by all means, make a joke about it. But for your own sake, do not let them cross boundaries that you aren’t comfortable with. Set the precedence NOW or you will NEVER hear the end of it!

 

Readers, since we’re on the topic of pregnancy and babies, I want to address some things with everyone.

 

In today's time, more people discuss things like this openly, but a taboo surrounding pregnancy, female body and infertility. There's so much that we still don't know about infertility and what causes it. People talk about miscarriages in a hush-hush way. Women avoid telling their friends/family about a pregnancy because of the risk of miscarriage! Friends and family should be the support system that a woman turns to when she experiences something tragic like that, not the people she tries to hide it from.

 

Here are my top five things that other people should know about infertility:

 

1.      When is it okay to ask someone if they are having children or if they are pregnant yet?

NEVER. It’s not OK to ask that question unless the woman has told you that it’s OK. And even then, don’t be surprised if the question catches her off guard one day and upsets her. Infertility is a horrible battle than many women wage and it’s a roller coaster ride of the physical, emotional and mental kind.

To be completely honest, I have struggled with infertility for over five years and it is heartbreaking to be asked “Are you pregnant yet?” People don’t know all the details of my life — what if I’d just seen a negative pregnancy test just that morning and your question pushed me back into a pit of sadness that I’d struggled all day to climb out of?

2.     One in eight women struggle to conceive.

Think of eight women that you know and chances are that one of them is either currently struggling to conceive or will in the future. Fertility issues are more common than most people think. With such a high rate of occurrence, women should not be ashamed to discuss this with their friends and family.

3.     Don’t dismiss our fears, feelings or worries.

I can be happy for you and your pregnancy and sad for myself that I’m not able to conceive. I can worry about the fact that I may never have a child and still want to snuggle your baby.

4.     Adoption/IVF is not always the answer.

Some women cannot maintain pregnancy — no matter how they conceive, whether naturally, through In-Vitro Fertilization, IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) or another form of treatment. Some women will never be able to afford adoption or IVF. If you are having a conversation with a woman who is trying to have a baby and you feel that you can ask about those as options for her — by all means, ask her. But whatever her reasons are for not considering those as options… RESPECT them.

5.     “Just stop trying and it’ll happen” is some of the WORST “advice” you can give someone.

I’m 99.9 percent sure that no medical professional EVER would give that type of medical advice and if you aren’t their doctor, your advice isn’t relevant. Have there been women who have stopped trying and then conceived? I’m sure there are — but women who have medical issue with conception (like endometriosis, PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, etc.) then they may not even ovulate — and if medical intervention hasn’t helped them, then stopping medical treatment isn’t going to make it any easier! It’s our human nature to try and help each other when we see them struggling, but sometimes all we need is a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen and a warm hug to ease our worries.

 

After six years of trying to conceive, I could really write a top 100 list of things people should know about infertility and how to help a friend struggling with it. There are two main points that I want you to take away from this. 1) Knowledge is power. If you’re aware that someone you know is struggling to conceive, educate yourself on what they are struggling with; ask them to tell you more about it. Be sensitive to their feelings. Imagine yourself in their shoes. 2) Infertility can cause so much more than problems conceiving. It can cause mental exhaustion through worry, restless nights, depression, anxiety and much more. It can cause spiritual doubt and questions of “Why me?” Physical pain comes along with many of the conditions (and also the treatments for the conditions). Treatments are expensive, so money can become an issue. The stress that goes along with all of these things can cause issues with your spouse. Infertility touches EVERY aspect of a person’s life.

 

 


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