8 Things Not To Say To Someone Trying To Conceive

I’m not technically infertile, just over the hill. If you saw me in good lighting, you might mistake me for 35, but you know what they say: you’re only as old as your ovaries. And those biatches are past 40. Can they still produce a sibling for my daughter? Time will tell. I’ve been trying to conceive for a year, and so far all I’ve gotten is a lot of unsolicited advice. Here are some of my favorite pearls of wisdom. And by pearls, I mean snowballs with rocks in them.

1) Just relax, and then it will happen.

Nothing is less relaxing than being told to relax. Or more guilt-inducing – gee, maybe my emotions are preventing conception. It’s all my fault! Nonsense. If stress really prevented pregnancy, there wouldn’t be any Lohans.

2) Kids are a pain in the ass anyway.

So is working, but that doesn’t mean I want to be unemployed. Downplaying the joys of having children is disingenuous, and we all know the best things in life usually take some effort. Don’t try to talk me out of wanting what I want.  Just sympathize.  Repeat after me: “I’m sorry, that’s tough.” Was that so hard?

3) Losing a few pounds could help.

This might be true, but it’s also mean, and I’m emotional, so don’t you dare say it to my face. Slip me an anonymous note or something.

4) Maybe you should switch doctors.

I know your heart is in the right place, but planting seeds of doubt is crazy-making. If you want to offer up a recommendation, a better approach would be, “Do you feel confidence in your current doctor?”  If the answer is yes, let it drop.

5) Have you considered adoption?

Have you considered minding your own business? Adoption is a big and very personal decision–not one that you need to be a part of. Unless you’re a healthy knocked up teen who wants to finish high school. Then we should talk.

6) My cousin couldn’t get pregnant either so she got a dog.

Success stories are great. Failure stories do us no good at all. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was put on bed rest to avoid premature labor. A “friend” felt the need to share the story of another woman who’d been on bed rest, only to miscarry. Nobody likes a bad news bear!

7) I’m so glad I started my family early.

There are many things I wanted to be when I grew up–“cautionary tale” wasn’t one of them. If my struggle to conceive makes you feel lucky and fertile, go home and tell your partner while you’re making relaxed, non-procreative love tonight. I don’t need to hear it.

8) At least you already have one kid.

For those of us dealing with secondary infertility, trust me, we know better than most people how lucky we were to get the first kid. And yes, it’s way better to have one than none. But pointing it out feels like shaming. It’s not like I’ve forgotten that I have this perfect little human whom I love more than life. She’s the reason I’m in this mess – I’m hooked on baby, jonesing for more joy.

If I sound bitter, I am. Kidding! But it feels good to vent. So thanks for listening – really, that’s the best thing you can do for someone trying to conceive.


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  1. Wendy
    Posted April 26, 2013 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Oh my gosh, Amy. Have people really said this stuff to you? I wish women could carry a small bidder’s card, like the ones you see at actions, that says “Shut the f*ck up” on it. Whenever someone says something stupid, you could just hold it up.

    • Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

      I should sell those cards on my website! Yes, they really have said those things to me. My good friend (truly well meaning) who said #4 told me i should have at least given her credit by name.

  2. Posted April 28, 2013 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I am impressed that you still want to make another person after such definitive proof that people are idiots.

    Keep on keeping on. But if anyone asks you if you’re trying for a specific gender, you absolutely have societal permission to punch him/her in the sex organs.
    Alan recently posted..Keeping the Boys from Getting Liposuction. Or Ruining the World.My Profile

    • Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      One of my favorite comments ever. Come back soon.

  3. Posted April 29, 2013 at 4:00 am | Permalink

    Wow. #3 is the worst, and I definitely agree with #1: telling me to “calm down” does anything but make me calm. Also, this is a shameless self-plug, but my last post was about dumb s#@% people say. Your “I’m sorry; that’s tough” quote was almost verbatim what I wish people would say in less-than-pleasant situations.

    • Posted April 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

      Funny post – great minds :) I liked your commenter who complained about things happen for a reason…that one drives me nuts.

  4. Posted April 9, 2015 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Yes and yes and yes again! I discovered your blog today and pretty much want to read every post. And I think you might be having a baby RIGHT NOW?! We have been trying for baby number 2 for almost a year, and I also am of “advanced maternal age” (what is that anyway??). You made me laugh and have hope all at once with this post and your blog – thank you from the bottom of my heart xoxo

    • Posted April 13, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jessica, yes we just had the baby! I am really happy you found my blog – we went on such a rollercoaster trying to conceive kid #2. I think I probably panicked too early – sometimes it just takes a while. I never imagined it would take 2 1/2 years but now the reward is my oldest is 4 and really able to understand what’s happening and be helpful. Sometimes it all works out. Best of luck!!