Once the people around you find out that you are trying for a baby, it’s almost as if you were begging them for advice. Now, I am all for advice, especially from those who had faced fertility challenges too (thanks A for the TCM recommendation!). There is so much that I do not know of and I am happy if someone were to open up my mind and teach me about something that I might have missed out on.
Even if I am a chronic Googler and have a PhD in Googling.
What drives me bonkers are those people who say things that are either a) entirely far out of the universe, b) without any medical or scientific basis, or c) not connected to our situation at all. And then I have to smile and nod my head dutifully even though my brains are going STFUSTFUSTFU!
So here you go, the top 10 platitudes/advice/rubbish that people tell me which irritates me and my hardworking but sadly misunderstood uterus:
1) But you are so young! Why try IVF?
Now, infertility is a medical challenge. Unlike wine, unfortunately, it doesn’t get better with age. In fact, it all goes downhill as you grow older. No amount of vintage ageing will make the sperm swim faster (motility) or look prettier (morphology). And neither will my eggs resemble the eggnoid equivalent of Maggie Cheung as I become older. These things need medication and changes in lifestyles to improve.
Also, my age is the advantage in this uneven playing field. If, even after taking the express bus (essentially what an IUI is), his boys are not keen to hook up with my girls, it’s obvious that going the natural route isn’t going to work very well either. The chances of a successful IVF decrease significantly as the female gets older. In this case, I am our trump card as am Fabulously Gorgeous young thing married to a grumpy old fart. Also have plenty of eggnoids in my ovaries, hopefully just as Fabulously Gorgeous.
2) XYZ took 10 years to conceive. The moment they stopped trying, they conceived!
Thanks but that was really depressing. You mean I have to be on the IF bandwagon for 10 frigging years? What kind of encouragement is that? Would YOU want to try for 10 years? And I’m not quite keen to try “giving up” just to see if it will work because tick tock tick tock goes the clock.
3) Next year, you will have twins collecting ang pows during CNY.
Yes, the chances of multiples are high in IVF, between 20 to 40 percent, depending on the number of embryos you transfer. But the chances of a live birth per IVF treatment are only about 30 odd percent as pregnancy does not equate to live birth. Even though I was a mathematically challenged arts student, I can still tell that the odds are actually AGAINST us.
Now, at this stage in time, when a reproductively challenged couple is looking at IVF, they are only thinking of having ONE child. Doesn’t matter if it’s a boy or girl, just FOR THE LOVE OF GOD let us have a child.
Also, have you seen me in real life? How am I supposed to carry and birth two little watermelon things with that dainty pelvis of mine? There’re all sorts of very real health concerns here.
4) You will appreciate your baby more when he/she arrives.
Am I so sadly inhumane that I NEED to jump through hoops and hurdles in order to appreciate my child? I’d like to think that even if my kid is born thanks to some good ol’ fashioned sex, I’d still love and cherish that little bugger just the same.
5) Maybe this is God’s plan for you.
Erm, I don’t think so. Does this mean God doesn’t like me as much as He likes you? I simply cannot believe that God would sit there on the throne, chewing his pen and saying, “Hmm, I think yAnn and her husband should have a child after five IVF treatments. That will teach ’em patience, haha!” I don’t think my God does that and frankly, neither should your God.
6) So sorry to hear this but I think I will face the same problems in future
I am very sorry too to hear that you believe you may face infertility in the future. If you ever do, I promise to do my best as a friend to you, to offer you support because I have been through it. But right now, I don’t really care. Right now, it’s about me because I am the one who will have to get through whatever IVF brings. I’m putting me ahead of everyone else, including that occasionally arsehole husband of mine. The only advice I can give you now is to get yourself checked out by a fertility specialist ahead of time. The only help I can give you is to offer you my doctor’s contact. But until you are staring down the barrel of the smoking infertility gun, I don’t give a flying fuck.
7) Are you sure you want kids?
This is often accompanied by sad looks in the direction of their misbehaving spawn. No, am actually not quite sure if I want kids. I set myself up to be a genetically modified cow with all these HORMONES because I FEEL LIKE IT! I love being a raging hormonal monster just because! Also have way too much money, shall spend it at the doctor’s! La dee da!
8) Why don’t you take my kids?
Again often accompanied by sad looks in the direction of their misbehaving spawn. Your kids are adorable, they really are, but I don’t want yours. I WANT MINE. I want a mini me who has got my eyes and my mess of wild but Fabulously Gorgeous hair.
9) What you should not eat/do
Many women have conceived with a coffee cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I really doubt that my 1/4 cup of coffee a day or twice a week can of Coke will seriously impair the functions of my uterus.
10) Just relax and you will get pregnant
Honey, no amount of relaxing will help you to get pregnant if a) your partner’s sperm is looking a little sad and sorrowful, b) you don’t ovulate and the sperm is busily swimming around for a target that does not exist, c) your egg flounces right into a wall because your tubes are blocked. I could go on forever with all the fertility problems that could plague a couple but IF is a medical condition that needs to be treated. I promise you, I am pretty relaxed, I’m not mentally translating the National Anthem to Swahili all the time.
What you can say: “I know you are going through a tough period. I may not understand but please let me know if there is any way I can help you.”
And the funniest advice that someone has given me? It’s from someone who shall not be named on my blog: “Wanna know how I conceived you? By waving my legs up in the air after sex!”