I spent a weekend away on a women’s retreat, specifically geared towards wives of pastors. They’re a wonderful group of women, and it was three days of laughter, tears, growth and way too much coffee.
I’m going to make a generalization here, and I’m sure I will hear about it. Here it goes. FOR THE MOST PART, I get along with wives of other pastors. FOR THE MOST PART, we find plenty of things to talk about, we discuss “ministry” and our “calling” and the all-popular “how I met my husband”. BUT (and this is where some of you might get mad), there is a group of women at these retreats that believe a woman’s sole purpose in life is to procreate and tend a home. I have nothing against that mentality, I understand it fully, I can even see how its argued Biblically. But you know these women. They live and breathe for their husbands and their children. And when you’re sitting at their table, and the conversation eventually switches from “Who went to Bible college with whom” to “How many precious little ones do you have at home?’, its time to duck and roll as fast as you can. Because amidst the “Three beautiful little girls”, and “Six boys and a dog”, my glaringly-obvious “None” incites a riot.
“Don’t you realize how precious children are?”
“Haven’t you ever considered being a mother?”
“You’ll change your mind when you grow up a little, dear.”
To save myself from being stabbed with an errant fork or (more likely) with the pin-end of someone’s brooch, I blurt out something horribly awkward and conversation-halting.
“I’M INFERTILE!” I gasp, avoiding eye contact and shovelling chocolate cake into my mouth. Cue pitying glances. Cue “oohs” and “aahs”. And most of all, more than anything, bring on THE LIST. What list? This list.
THE TOP TEN WORST THINGS TO SAY TO AN INFERTILE WOMAN
(especially when she’s sitting across from you at a table, and her chocolate cake is almost gone, and the dessert buffet is empty.)
1. Just relax and it will happen: Will it? Really? The last eighteen months of my life which have been spent having ridiculous amounts of babymaking “practice” can all be solved with a quick trip to the spa? A few ‘in and out’ breaths? Or even, gasp, a weekend away at a rustic retreat? Tell me more.
2. Stop trying so hard: I know, I’m an overachiever. I get it. I understand that you barely had to think about trying to have babies, and you were magically nine months pregnant. I understand that you have four kids, and have probably only had sex four times, ever. I don’t think having LESS sex or paying LESS attention to my body is going to get me anywhere.
3. You’re too young for kids: Am I? Pray tell, what is the magic age for bearing children? If I just wait another six months, will I instantly get knocked up? Is it my 26th birthday? My 30th? Is it exactly 3 years and four months after my wedding? I would love to wait until you deemed my age appropriate to have kids.
4. You have so much time: I have a stock answer for this one. “I’m 23 and things aren’t working. I don’t think that waiting longer, until I’m even less fertile, is going to help my cause.”
5. I have a friend, who… I would love to hear more about your friend who tried standing on her head for four hours before dancing under the full moon. Or who finally got pregnant after eight long years of trying. Or who spontaneously conceived triplets after one late-night romp six days before ovulation.
6. God has a plan/Its in God’s timing I know. I really do. I’m not trying to make light of this at all, because I strongly believe that God has a plan for my life, and will work things out amazingly. I know that. That doesn’t mean that I need you to remind me. I already know things aren’t going my way – God’s doing a great job of convicting me on His own. Please don’t assist Him along.
7. Have you tried…? Yes, I have. You name it, either my hubby or I has tried it. All of it. For the last year. At least. Thank you.
8. Why don’t you just adopt? That is a very personal question, and a decision that’s not to be made lightly. When we choose to adopt, IF we choose to adopt, I promise you will be the first to know (after people I actually know, like, or am related to).
9. Maybe you aren’t supposed to be a mom. Is that like Paul’s conviction to be single? Perhaps I am not supposed to be a mother. If that’s the case, I’d like to come to that conclusion on my own. I can guarantee that you don’t have mama-radar, the magical laser-beam-vision that can deem a person Mama-able or not Mama-able. I appreciate your tact and sensitivity to this matter.
10. I bet it was all of those birth control pills . Yes, you’re correct. I bet that the entire reason for my infertility is that year of birth control pills I took to avoid getting pregnant as a newlywed and graduate student. I’m sure that those birth control pills, the same ones that thousands and thousands of women have taken before me, are the sole root of my problem. Thank you for your medical acuity.
Please forgive this outpouring of passive-aggressive sarcasm. I’ve obviously got issues that aren’t dealt with. If you’re going to flame me, please go ahead. I need to increase my comment count anyhow.