Updated: Apr 4, 2019
There are so many inappropriate questions we get asked throughout our lifetimes, but none more intrusive than people asking about fertility.
When we first got married, I lost count of the number of people who asked me if we were going to have children... to start with I answered with a very positive 'oo, I hope so!' but before long I got to
well, babies don't always come just because you want them to!'
and not long after that I was heard to answer with
'what are you actually asking?? do you want to know if we're using contraception? perhaps you want to know if we're having regular sex? what is it actually that you want to know???'
Yes.. OK, I can see now that our sub-fertility and the delay to pregnancy might have been causing me some stress .... 😂
When I was in the very early stages of pregnancy for the second time, having had a miscarriage already, I was at work one day (at a company that make and sell products for IVF, where a lot of my colleagues were embryologists and reproductive scientists and the rest were very familiar with the field of fertility) and one of my colleagues asked me if I was pregnant again (she knew I had miscarried at least once), when I answered 'no', she actually had the audacity to ask if I was SURE !!? in between my incredulity and disbelief, I managed to stutter
either I AM pregnant, and I don't want to tell you, or I'm not and I'm sad about it - either way.. its NOT your business
Perhaps a little harsh, but I've always been fairly straight down the line!
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.
I can certainly help with some strategies and be a sounding board for the anger and frustration you're feeling, but in the meantime, I would like to turn the tables on these questions - let's change the conversation around fertility!
Let's make a list of better questions to ask people who are newly partnered, newly married, women who don't have children amongst a sea of friends who do... Anyone, anytime.. More appropriate questions than 'so, when will we be hearing the pitter-patter of tiny feet??"
Have you read any good books lately?
Do you have any plans for travel?
Are you enjoying your work at the moment?
Did I hear that you have bought a house?
Are you watching insert latest crappy reality tv show name here (anyone who says yes to this one is immediately dead to me 😂)
So who's the better cook in your house?
I'm not the worlds best at small talk... so hit me with your ideas!