Thursday, February 5, 2009

just call me Ann Landers

I tend to get irritated when people offer me unsolicited advice. This happens if people hear, or suspect, that you're trying to get pregnant. They tell you how you need to relax, or about their third cousin's neighbor's wife who got pregnant after they adopted, or they might even whisper something about 'doing it from the back' (I kid you not, this actually happened to my husband).

But lately I've noticed that being infertile causes me to want to offer equally unsolicited advice and (as I think of it) wisdom to other people.

A college friend of mine got married this weekend. We weren't terribly close, though we are in the same profession so we've kept track of each other. She lives on the other side of the country.

A few years ago, she decided to adopt a foster child. She wanted to be a mom, she was tired of waiting to get married, and this little girl needed a home. I truly admired her for that. She was a single mom for about three years, which is no small feat.

She met this guy on eharmony, I think. They dated for a very short time (slight red flag). His first wife died less than a year ago (slightly larger red flag). She has a very forceful personality; from what I can tell, he doesn't. When she emailed to tell me that she was getting married, she said something like, "he doesn't really like to make decisions, so I'll get to make all of them." RED FLAG.

So they got married this weekend, and she posted pictures on Facebook, and we were wall-posting back and forth a bit. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Congrats! Love the photos!"

Her: "Thanks! We had a couple of days to ourselves and are hoping to have a honeymoon later. We're hoping to have another child so everything is on hold."

Me: "Enjoy the newly married life - hope you do have some time for just the two of you."

Her: "We had yesterday between the hours of 8:00 and 3:15pm."

That wasn't really what I meant when I suggested the "time for just the two of you" thing. I was actually thinking along totally different lines. Here: I'll show you. This is how the conversation went in my head:

Me: "Congrats! Love the photos!"

Her: "Thanks! We had a couple of days to ourselves and are hoping to have a honeymoon later. We're hoping to have another child so everything is on hold."

Me: "Hold on a second. You met and married this guy in a matter of months, you've been desperate to get married for years and appear to have latched onto the first guy who agreed to marry you, and now you're talking about having a child - all within less than a year! Are you insane? And also, why does everyone think that having a child is an automatic thing? DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT CAN BE TO HAVE A BABY? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT WE'VE BEEN THROUGH? And then you just throw around the phrase "we're hoping to have another child" like it's nothing, like you can just HAVE SEX and then get pregnant without any problem? Do you have any idea how pissed off I will be if you get pregnant before I do? DO YOU?"

Her: (logs off Facebook and never speaks to me again).

I know that my vast over-reaction to her baby lust is just that: my over-reaction, and my problem. I am using every fiber of my being not to send anything back to her today. If she wants to have a baby, that's her decision (their decision, I hope), and it does not really have anything to do with me. The amazing truth is, most people can get pregnant by having sex. This is a fact I appear to have forgotten. My lashing out at her will do nobody any good.

I think it might be time for another yoga session.


  1. OK, her response about 8:00am - 3:15pm just made me laugh out loud. I feel so sorry for that guy....

    My job involves being at weddings, and most mention starting a family "right away" into their toasts. I sit in the corner with my head about to explode!

    Now I need yoga too!

  2. Love, love this post! I found it on Stirrup Queens and just had to comment. Part of me gets angry because I've lost my innocence; part of me is jealous because yes, it really is that easy for some people! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great post - I'm new to the blogging community but have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. Facebook does pose it's own set of new challenges. Since I've joined, it seems that every person that I have ever met in my life has kids and got pregnant on their first try. Now they are all asking me about my kids. I finally did that 25 Random Things About Me post where I state - No, I do not have kids. If things change, I'll be sure to let you know. Otherwise, quit asking.

  4. Yeah...its amazing how easy it is to forget that most people don't have to plan out every fricking detail of a potential pregnancy.

  5. Here from Friday blog round-up... and, wow. You know, I almost forget that people can actually make babies by having sex. I don't know exactly when I started thinking like that...

    Excellent post.

  6. Here via Friday Round-Up....yeah. I so hear you.

    Sex equals baby. Incredible. I'm still surprised every time it happens to someone...the last of whom was my cousin...30...on her honeymoon.

    I was TWENTY and it took a million treatments rounding off with 2 IVF's and a fet. WTH?? HOW? HOW DOES SEX equal a BABY? HOW?

    What, bitter infertile you say? Who? :)

  7. Great post. You are so right about fighting the urge to offer unsolicited advice from an infertility perspective, despite having been on the receiving end of similar frustrating comments. I should remember this next time I am getting mad at someone for an insensitive remark.