It is very hard to sing “For unto us a child is born” as a Christmas song, when deep down one is thinking about how that is not the case.
Couples struggling with infertility often avoid parties or friends and family whom they think will pressure them about having a child, when there is already plenty of internal pressure.
Approximately one in three couples in their mid-30’s without children struggle with subfertility, and most have thought about the possibility before others raise it. Trying to suggest a couple follow a timeline you think is right (rather than one they or God sets for them) can seem presumptuous. I’ve heard several subfertile couples say the next time someone asks them about their fertility, they’ve said they will respond, “Since we’re talking medical issues, you look as though you’ve gained weight. What are you up to now?” Asking about fertility is that personal a question to those struggling with it.
There are far more polite responses to, “When are you having kids?” such as, “Why, is there a shortage,” “We’re planning a couple dozen more scrimmages before entering the playoffs,” “I traded my biological clock for an Apple watch,” “We’re ready if you’ll pay for them,” and “We’re still searching marshes for a reliable stork.” Being able to laugh helps wellness for many circumstances and medical conditions.
If you want a friend or family member to have children then simple, unconditional love is the best way to support them. They’ll talk about it when they are ready and your showing them the importance of family and connections can be a far greater call to action than words themselves.
If you are personally struggling with subfertility, don’t go through it alone. Get medical support and talk to others. Even a few words to friends can often connect you with someone who has been in a similar situation and gotten through it. (However, people who’ve had a few drinks and forgotten contraception don’t count as experts on conception…) Also, whether the advice you’ve gotten is good, bad, or ugly, you can always turn to experts. It is unlikely that you will have circumstances we haven’t seen before—it is amazing how normal so many problems are for which couples think they are the only ones.
Regardless of whether you have the family you want, are exploring more, define it differently, or are reading this for a friend, we wish you a joyous 2019 and hope that 2020 is your best year yet!
Dr. J. Preston Parry and the Positive Steps Fertility team
From simple explanations, to high tech solutions, or a simply a fresh perspective if what you’ve been doing on your own or with a doctor hasn’t worked, come see us in our Monroe, Shreveport, Madison, Starkville or Hattiesburg MS offices.