Christmas is a time where we sometimes get to see family and friends we haven’t seen for a while. This may bring up anxiety about what questions they may ask, how you’re going to feel around them, or you may wonder if you should tell them about your fertility journey. You read our article on ‘to tell or not to tell, that is the question’ here but they key is to do whatever you feel like doing. Hopefully the tips below might help to ease your anxiety.
Anxiety is often compounded at family gatherings or parties where an overzealous aunt or co-worker will undoubtedly ask you various questions about trying for a baby or presume you are pregnant because you aren’t drinking (I will always struggle to understand why people think this is an acceptable topic of conversation).
If you’re feeling defensive or uncomfortable when people ask, you are 100% normal. There are people who ask in a completely innocent way, and many others who are just being nosy. Regardless, the question implies that when and whether you have children is someone else’s business… and it’s not.
To overcome this you might tell them to mind their own business, blame the good old antibiotics for your non-drinking, or just change the topic. You might decline gatherings and stay at home with close friends or family who understand and won’t ask you questions. However you react is right for you. It’s your business, not theirs.
Here are some other tips from verywellfamily.com:
Remember: You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation
You might feel like you need to explain yourself. You may feel tempted to blurt out that you’re trying very hard, thank you very much, but there are problems.
This might be an OK way to approach the question, but not in all cases. Unfortunately, not everyone is as compassionate as they should be. Some may give unwanted advice, make blaming comments, or otherwise respond negatively.
Of course, some do ask innocently, unaware of the hurt their question may bring to you. Others simply aren’t sensitive to boundaries. If posed with this question, answer simply and then switch the topic.
How should I respond?
You may be burning mad or feel like you want to give the person who posed the question a piece of your mind. But, with practice, you can learn to stop yourself from going that route. Your emotional energy is best directed elsewhere.
Try taking a deep breath, let it out, and answer in one of the following ways:
- “Not sure. So, how’s your new job?”
- “Ask the powers that be, because I don’t know.”
- “I’d rather not talk about it, thanks.”
If you want to go for something gutsy, you might answer:
“That’s a rather personal question, don’t you think? Anyway, how’s your new job?”
If you’re feeling brave, and you have already decided to start telling people about your struggles, you may use this as an opportunity to talk about infertility:
“Actually, it’s interesting you ask… we’ve been trying for a while now.”
Honesty as the best policy?
Some women suggested that the best answer is an honest one. One pointed out, “it’s not fair to withhold information from loved ones while simultaneously being mad at them for not knowing what we haven’t told them.”
Other women suggested that, when you’re honest, it allows others to open up about their struggles—whether they relate to fertility or not—and you begin to realise that you’re not alone. We all know that this taboo around infertility is a problem.
As one community member shared, “Most of the people we know and care about aren’t trying to hurt us with their nosiness; by telling them the truth that their questions are painful, it lets them know where you are and gives them an opportunity not to cause you further pain.”