Thursday, February 22, 2007

Finding the Right Words

There are plenty of things that strangers will say to you that will drive you nuts when you are expecting or have twins. (Are they natural? Better you than me!)
There are just as many annoying things that people say when they learn you’re experiencing IF or that you’ve had treatment. (Did you consider adoption? Maybe you should give it more time and just relax.)

Because these responses are so prevalent, I have to wonder, are we such an unoriginal society that we must rely on these rote responses just to be able to say something? Do people not realize that their remarks could be seen as hurtful because they aren’t even thinking as the words come out of their mouths?

For example, have you ever responded with a rote response to someone before they’ve even had a chance to ask the anticipated question? I’ve been guilty of this when I’ve been particularly scatterbrained or distracted. The other day I responded “Fine, thanks, how are you?” to someone who normally greets me with “Hi, how are you?”, when this time the person had only said “Hello.” Oops. I felt pretty stupid. It just goes to show how thoughtless our interactions with people can be.

I’d like to think that after you’ve shared your joyous news about twins or opened your heart about your struggles with IF, the person you’re talking to could come up with more than just stock phrases and questions. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Even my mom, who was praying with every ounce of her being that I was going to tell her I was expecting twins after she found out we transferred 2 embryos, responded with
“Twins!?! Better you than me!” when I could finally share the results. Her response made me mad at the time…but as I think about it now, I guess she just went into autopilot speak.

Still, what happened to a heartfelt “Congratulations” or a “I’m so sorry you’re going through this.” Why can’t those be the stock phrases we use to address twins or IF?

Maybe we need to break the trend by coming up with effective responses that encourage the person to rethink what they’ve said. And maybe the next person they encounter will be spared. Here are some I’ve been thinking about.

Q: Are (your children) natural?
A: Why yes, are yours?

Q: You should just relax and you’ll get pregnant.
A: Do you really think relaxing will regenerate my tubes (or increase my husband’s sperm count/quality, or heal my uterus)?

Q: Have you considered adoption?
A: Yes, I researched the whole process. Have you?

Comment: Better you than me!
Response: You’re right about that!

Please give me your best responses to the annoying, repeated comments you’ve received!


Isabel said...

My dad asked if IF meant that God didn't want me to have children. He said: isn't treatment against your religion? I countered with: would you say that if I had cancer? He said, well that's a disease. IF wont' kill you. I countered with: God doesn't want you to get treatment for anything. God wants you to die.

Luckily, he laughed. Lucky, because I wasn't joking. Now I think it's funny. And I feel a little bad talking smack about God.

Jennifer said...

This might be trite and overplayed, but when people told me that I needed to stop stressing, I would make some comment about that if that were indeed true than women wouldn't conceive during wars or famines and other tragedies. I also get lots of rude comments about twins (I'm almsot 24 weeks). I wrote a whole blog entry about the ridiculous comments! Yes, I am well aware of the difficulties ahead (just as there are with ONE baby) but after such a long road and m/c's and devastation, I feel truly blessed to have two babies inside me.