But then there’s the other group of special women who know this day is coming and they approach it with dread. Infertility affects about 1 in 8 couples. Do you know someone who has struggled or continues to? Chances are you do. Maybe you are one of them. We are, and the intended parents obviously are.
Would you have guessed it by looking at us? Of course not. Not everyone is open about their personal struggles and so it’s especially important, at the very least on Mother’s Day, to be aware that your well meaning words could touch a friend or family member in a very emotional way.
I’d like to share a few pieces of a fairly humorous article that CNN recently published, written from Nia Vardalos’ view, looking back on her struggle with infertility.
For years, at Spring social gatherings, some women would innocently ask why we didn’t have children. Others would overhear and exclaim what a great father my husband would be, so why on earth didn’t we have kids? When I would give a tight-lipped answer: “we’re trying,” they would not go silent.If I can leave you with anything, then let me leave you with the thought that you never know what a person’s struggles are. Be thoughtful, encourage others, and band together as women instead of judging without understand their circumstances.
They meant well, but they would loudly persist with up-beat advice: stories of this sister or that friend who had tried forever, and then a “miracle” had happened. All I’d wanted was a snack. Now, crudité in hand, I was up against the food table, being advised by pretty, chipper moms bouncing beautiful, pudgy babies on their hips.
A lot of “You Should” advice came my way. From the “latest technique in Europe,” to “just adopt from China” – everyone weighed in. I understood it all came from them wanting to help. It was meant with goodwill. But it was a painful, overwhelming subject for me. I just wanted to throw dip in the air and run. Those were the nice women. Some women were, um, well… they were turds.
No matter where I went on this day, I was an easy target. If I drank anything non-alcoholic, there were women who would pat my tummy and say “when are you due?” A small social guideline: don’t ask a woman if she is pregnant, unless her water breaks on your flip-flops, a baby arm dangles out of her vagina and she asks you to cut the cord. Then, and only then, may you ask if she is having a baby. Otherwise, shut up.
Please, on Mother’s Day, have some compassion. If you see someone without kids, do not ask them why they don’t have children, why they don’t just adopt, or if they are pregnant. Please be kind. Be quiet and pass the dip.
I am writing this for the friends and family who listened, didn’t pry, and above all stuck with me on my quest to be a mom. If I am happy on May 9th, it’s largely because of these people’s quiet empathy and unending encouragement. And, if I am happy on this day, it’s because I am in love with being a mom and so grateful for the circumstances, as painful as they were, that led me to my wonderful daughter. - CNN ac360 blog
I’m so incredibly fortunate to be a mom, and the challenges to get there make it all that much sweeter. That is why I feel so passionately about making this couple’s dream a reality. I want them to experience the joy that I do, and that millions of others do without as much effort.