COPING WITH FERTILITY PROBLEMS, PART II
From a reader responding to Part I: “I can’t imagine asking someone how old their kids are without first asking if they have kids! How insensitive. As for Sue’s dilemma, if you’re not able to get pregnant maybe it’s not meant to be. I know that sounds uncaring, but there is always adoption. People like Sue and Dave would be wonderful parents for some poor kid without a home or family.”
Another comment: “Sue could concentrate on her career. Maybe Sue and Dave should consider just being happy with each other. Would that be acceptance? Remember, it’s not what you don’t have in life that matters. It’s what you have that you should be happy with and appreciate.”
Here are some coping suggestions from your blog hosts:
It seems the easiest way for Sue to cope across situations is probably also the hardest. If she could learn to be direct, people would probably stop offering suggestions or digging too deeply. Being direct would make it easier for her to interact with her immediate family (who do not know about the miscarriages or that she and Dave have been trying to conceive for years). Sue has never discussed the issue with her parents. She feels as though she is letting them down; she fears they will judge her. Unfortunately, avoiding a problem is not effective coping because avoiding makes problems bigger.
So, step one for Sue is to come clean, especially with her family and close friends. She also needs to make it clear how their comments make her feel: “What you think are helpful suggestions don’t help me at all and really upset me. I know you’re trying to help, but please wait until I ask for it.”
Other situations might not require being so blunt. Humor or canned responses can be helpful. “We are just enjoying hanging with Dave’s sister’s family – plus no diaper duty!” or “You’ve met Dave – I can only handle one child!” Then she gracefully redirects the conversation to something else, such as asking about their family.
Sue can find strength in numbers. There are many support groups for would-be mothers and fathers. A quick Google search yielded 45,200,000 results for “child loss support forum.” Sue can learn that she is not alone in her struggle, which might help to reduce some of her guilt and self-blame.
Sue is Catholic. She is limited in what she can to avoid her Church’s teaching. She can, however, talk with Priests from her own or another Parish. She may find herself surprised at how sensitive they can be, and the spiritual guidance they can offer.
How about Dave? What can he do to help his wife? Again, we would like to hear from our readers. In a week we will post Part III of this issue and include your comments.