What Not to Say to Infertile Couples

So here goes, married 6 years going on 7, & still no baby. Why? To be honest, I think I was probably in denial of accepting the truth that something was probably wrong with me. I mean, how could it not have bothered me that I wasn't having my monthly cycle? I didnt think that anything was wrong with me at the time, but some drastic changes happened so quickly to me, that I felt like it all had to have connected somehow. I married Roger weighing in at about 100 lbs. and within 1-2 months, I had gain so much weight. I went from 100 lbs to 145 lbs. I had gone from a size 0/1 to a 9, in just 2 months. How was that even possible? I didnt even feel a change in my diet. I felt like everything I did was still pretty much the same as it always was. Another thing was that my acne, which was pretty bad all over my face, had cleared out immediately. For some odd, strange reason, I just stopped breaking out as soon as my monthly cycles stopped as well.

I couldn't make sense of it much, but, I just kept going on with my life as if it didn't even matter.  I waited about 2-3 years before I actually went in and saw a doctor. At this point some other things were happening to me that I just couldn't seem to get over. Throughout the 2nd-3rd year, my nose bled more than it ever did. I never had problems with nose bleeds, yet that year, my nose would bleed every other day on average. I realised there was a pattern, in the way that I was so-called, 'naturally' treating myself. Being Hmong, I would constantly get herbal remedies & teas from everyone who heard that I wasn't getting my period.  At that time I was daily brewing a pot of Chinese herbal tea that was supposedly good for Womens Wombs, curing/healing my body, well thats what it claimed anyways. I noticed that I was fine before I started drinking it. So I decided to stop. But when I stopped drinking the tea, my body didn't restore itself to its normal functions. My nose was still bleeding, not as often, but still more than it should. I was getting really sick & tired of it, so I called my doctor & notified her all about what was going on. She had me scheduled to go in and get it cauterized ASAP. And thats what they did! It was nerve-racking, but it had to be done.

During the time that I was seeing my doctor, I was put on birth control pills to help me get my period. It helped. But I came to a realization that I didn't want to let my body get used to taking BCP's all the time. Plus, I wanted to know that I could be able to conceive, and I didnt want the pills anymore because although, it gave me back my period, It prevents you from conceiving. I think I took it for about 3-4 months &I quit the pill. I lost my period again. And for a while again, I stopped seeing my doctor. Changed my healthcare provider & waited it out.

I did notice throughout the whole entire time I was having irregular periods that, if I was working out or staying fit, my period would come back naturally--without the pill or meds. But I was always off and on about working out. Due to the busyness of life, I wasn't well disciplined enough to make it a lifestyle. It wasn't much of a priority to lose weight cause I didn't feel like I needed to be so hard on myself. I struggled for a bit earlier on during my marriage, but, I came to a realization that I will never be able to meet people's standards. And that I am a child of God & that I was created in His image. I was made perfectly. And I am beautiful no matter what people say. And so are you, whoever it is that is reading this. You were made perfectly in His image & beautiful just the way you are! From that point on, I started not caring about what people had to say about weight or weight loss or about what other people thought. I dress according to my moods & I love fashion. I do my makeup & I wear it out with confidence. I dont care if I have a rainbow on my eyes, I walk it out confidently because that's how I am able to express myself, through creativity.

So I only worked out every now & then. And that was left at that. I continued on with the things I was doing at home, and work, and church. And then about 2 years ago, I finally decided that I couldn't put it off any more. I knew I was still young & I shouldn't have to stress out about TTC (trying to conceive). But I knew that I was going to have a hard time TTC because I wasn't getting my monthly cycle. So I called my current Healthcare provider & automatically setup an appointment for me. And it was the repeated cycle, spoke to my Dr. & then got some advice & bloodtests done. At this point I had done a bit of research & felt that I must have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). I spoke to her and asked if the symptoms I was experiencing could explain it. She wasn't too sure. After getting my blood test results back she said I was fine & scheduled me to come back for an ultrasound 2 weeks later. And so I did just that.

I went back for an ultrasound, and within a couple of weeks, I went back in for results. She had said that there were little particles on my ovaries, but they weren't big enough for her to see if they were cysts or what. So she didn't diagnose me with PCOS. She also mentioned that I had a little muscle growing on the wall of my cervix. It was just one tiny little muscle but she wasn't sure why it was there, but encouraged me to not stress out about it & that its nothing big. She just concluded that she didn't understand why I wasn't having my periods or why I was having problems TTC. So she just referred me to see an OB/GYN. And that was that. I felt kind of hopeless for a moment when she said that to me. There I was talking to her, thinking to myself, "You are a doctor & through blood tests & ultrasounds, you can't even tell me why I can't have my period & why I am having such a hard time TTC? What kind of Doctor are you? Please just tell me something to make me feel better!"

At this point I gave up seeing this Doctor as well, cause she wasn't doing me any justice. She wasn't helping the situation, so I just chose not to return. So again, I took another break. I decided at that point that no matter what the doctors say, I know that my God will bless me withchild when the right time cause I have faith. People around us would always ask, "Why haven't you had any kids yet? Do you not even want kids?" or, " Its okay, you guys are still young, enjoy all the freedom that you have while you still can." But please, these words are the last ones I'd like to hear. It is so painful to see everyone around you get pregnant year after year without trouble. A lot of couples around us got married after us and had no problem conceiving. Which was so heartbreaking at times.

Please be more careful to those around you who are child-less. You don't know what they are going through. They may brush it off as if they are trying, but deep inside it kills them when you say things to them even if you didn't intend to.

What Not To Say...

Don't ask a childless person when they are going to have a child. They may be going through the process of trying to conceive but have not yet achieved success. Asking them only reminds them of their problem. They need no extra reminders.
Don't relate stories of your fertility to them. Hearing "my husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant" is very annoying. While well-meaning, the statement is insensitive.
Don't give advice such as "just relax," "you are trying too hard" or "take a cruise." All of these very common comments imply that the couple have control of their fertility . Most of the time, these couples have absolutely no control over their fertility. Implying control leads to feelings of failure and guilt when this advice doesn't work.
Don't offer advice such as sexual timing, position, herbal medications or other totally unproven therapies. There are literally hundreds of old-wife's-tails that, when followed, can drive an infertile patient nearly crazy. Their physician will have covered those natural aspects of their care that may maximize their chances for conception. Once again, please to not imply that they have a sense of control.
Don't express your derogatory personal opinions regarding insemination procedures, test-tube babies or adoption. Sometimes, these are their only hope for having a child. These are your opinions and uninvited advice is rarely desired nor constructive. You are absolutely entitled to your opinion, simply keep it your own. If they ask for your advice, then feel free to state your opinions, but do so in a kind and considerate manner.
Don't place blame by accusing the couple of exercising too much, eating the wrong foods or drinking alcohol. These couples may already be blaming themselves. Their physician will have already covered the medical and reproductive consequences of obesity, smoking, alcohol and recreation drugs. Support them in the cessation of these activities and minimize the guilt associated with their consumption. The guilt rarely leads to cessation but often moves the individual to increased consumption.

What You Can Say and Do...

Do provide couples with plenty of emotional support by saying "It must be difficult to go through this" and "I'm here to listen if you need to talk."
Do remember that men can be just as emotional about the problem, sometimes even more so. They may feel their masculinity is at risk.
Do understand the couple's need for privacy.
Do try to understand that if they are your employees, frequent doctor's appointments may be necessary during business hours. Please try to accommodate them as much as possible. Not doing so may also be construed as a form of discrimination and place you at legal risk.
Do understand why they may not make it to a baby shower or a holiday event. These frequent events can become overwhelming for an infertile couple.
Do tell the infertile couple that there is hope.


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