Q: So, When are you guys having a baby?
The silly season brings with it all kinds of wonderful things, but if you're trying to conceive, it can be a really tricky time... it's a marker of time, the end of another year. All the ads tell us that it's a time for family, for children and for magic... but for women and couples who are trying for a baby, it can be full of sadness, stress and worry. Is this really 'it' for our family? Why isn't it happening for me, for us? What am I doing wrong?
I know people ask these questions from a place of caring and wanting to show interest in your life and what your plans are. These are standard questions in our society... but I think they shouldn't be. I think they are intrusive, and to be perfectly honest, not really anyone else's business.
If you are having a bit of a rocky road to parenthood - whatever that might be, these questions can really throw you for six.
My clients often talk to me about how to manage this aspect of fertility treatment.. who do I talk to? who do I tell? how do I explain what we're going through? and who am I likely to need support from?
How do I explain all of this to my boss? my Mum? my sister? my colleague that I only talk to once a month? and how on earth do I cope with yet ANOTHER pregnancy announcement that I just KNOW will be followed with a sly look at me and questions/assumptions that it will be 'your turn soon'....
Its a really tough part of trying to conceive that people rarely touch on, your GP is unlikely to talk about and you'll probably forget to ask your fertility specialist if you're seeing one 'cos you'll be too overwhelmed and bamboozled by all the other information they're giving you.
It can help if you have a few pre-prepared answers up your sleeve for the dreaded question... here's a few of my suggestions:
A: Thats a really good question - I wish I knew the answer
A: Sometimes these things take longer than you think - We hope sometime soon
A: It doesn't always happen just because you want it to
A: I'm not sure, it's something we are still figuring out
A: When the time is right, it will happen
A: Perhaps we may not ever have a baby - we're not sure yet
A: The answer to that question is not really in our hands
A: We're getting the best help available, so maybe 2020 will be our year!
A: It's not something I feel comfortable talking about right now - can we talk about something else?
A: That is a really personal question. Some people have a hard time getting pregnant and questions like that can make them feel bad about their situation
A: Having a child is one of the most important decisions in life, and making that decision takes a lot of time and thought
A: I already have one! (then refer to you husband/spouse/partner)
A: I don't know - but we're already on the hunt for babysitters - can I count you in??
A: Actually, it's kind of a private matter, can we change the subject?
A: Well, we're trying, we're doing our best, we just haven't been lucky yet
Or you could be extremely blunt and go with:
What exactly are you asking? Do you want to know if we're having sex? or perhaps you'd like to know when my next period is due?? or maybe you would like details of my last miscarriage?
(yes, I actually said this to someone once... fair to say I was feeling a little stressed!!)
I found it was really helpful to clue in a few really close people - my sister, my mother.. let them know where we were at and to spread the word that it wasn't something I wanted to talk about it. It was particularly hard because I am generally such an open book... but after a while it all became too much and I asked that the word be spread to please stop asking. I normally hate the idea that people are talking about me behind my back (I know, I know.. what people say about you behind your back is none of your business and shouldn't matter).. but in this case, I was glad that they kept their 'helpful' comments and advice to themselves or confined to conversations when I wasn't there and we could all just get on with celebrating Christmas all together. It kind of took ME away from centre stage and I was actually able to forget about it for a few days.
If I did get stuck in one of those conversations - my sister or my Mum would jump in with a great conversation changer and move the chat away to something else :)
It truly does help to have someone on your side
It also helps to have a plan when you get home - New Year, New You.. that kind of thing. Make an appointment now for a clarity call and make a plan for the New Year. It might be some lifestyle changes, perhaps a 'deadline' of when you'll take the next step, or perhaps some guidance to the right fertility specialist and an appointment for February (that you can cancel later if you don't need it).
You will feel more relaxed heading into the silly season if you have a plan for the New Year
(you can book a free half hour chat with me here)