You Can Keep The BUT
How people unintentionally minimize your feelings of infertility.
Infertility is a hard emotion. It is a pain that no one else can see, a pain that we have to pretend is not there, and a pain no one understands unless they themselves have felt it. Trying to grow your family is a very private matter, but there comes a point when everyone thinks it is their business too! When or if you decide to share with others the hurt of infertility you can open yourself up to the BUT...
But, God has given you so many foster kids to love.
But, You can concentrate on teaching all those fourth graders that just adore you.
But, maybe motherhood isn't God's plan for you right now.
But, you should just enjoy your marriage for a while.
But, miscarriage is natural.
But, you're lucky, you get to sleep through the night!
and my all time favorite I've heard...
But, now you can keep practicing making a baby!
Thank you BUT, your but is not helpful. It actually makes things worse. In that one innocent comment to find something to say in the awkwardness, you actually just took away and minimized my feelings of being infertile. I know you meant to be kind, but I left our conversation feeling guilty. Guilty that wanting a child to call me mom is selfish.
I recently read a post that did just this, and it spurred me to write. I wanted so badly to comment that instead of supporting a friend, who is a wonderful foster mom, this commenter took away her friend's feelings about infertility and injected her own. Yes, she is a great foster mom! Yes, God has given her a big job! Yes, Yes, Yes! Just say that...please don't add a but whatever to your comment!
Infertility carries emotions, even depression, as severe in some cases as a cancer patients. You wouldn't console a cancer patient with "but, you look so great without hair!" Please don't do that to a friend who has suffered infertility or child loss. Please have compassion for your friends, coworkers, and neighbors who are struggling to have a family of their own.
This is the reason so many women feel ashamed to talk about their infertility. We already feel guilty enough that our body is not working properly! Compassion can go a long way when talking to our friend who wants to share their infertility with you.
SO...one simple request when having these conversations. Leave the ,BUT off the end of your comforting words. Your condolences are enough. Nothing else needs added, no advice needs given. Just a hug and I'm sorry is all your friend truly needs.