The infertile in the corner

Last night I went to my first major social outing since our loss. It was a house party to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday.

The good news is I didn’t get absolutely intoxicated. I had a few beers (meaning the most I’ve had since the beginning of July), but in the end, I came home almost sober.

The bad news is I had to deal with a group of fertile women who had no clue that they were being insensitive.

It was one of those occasions where the crowd just doesn’t mix well. Her friends vs. his friends = awkward. Fortunately for me, I know both sides. To start, I sat in between both groups as to participate in whichever conversation I enjoyed more at the time.

Her friends don’t have children. Most are married, but one woman is single.

His friends all have children. My husband and I and the hosts themselves were the only ones from that group without kids.

Anyway, the wives of his friends started discussing their birth stories. Yes, you heard me right. They were discussing their birth stories right beside the woman who experienced her first and only pregnancy loss just over 2 weeks ago.

I tried to ignore it, but it was just too much. They talked about when they realized they need to go to the hospital, how they made it up to labour and delivery, etc.

I got up and went outside for a bit.

After that, my night was tainted. I went and sat on the other side of her friends as to avoid his friends – and their incessant baby chatter – as much as possible.

Throughout the night, a few of his friends wives asked how I was doing. I just said, “I’m ok“. One of the wives even asked when I was returning to work. See, it’s not as if they don’t know. 

While we were cleaning up at the end of the night, I told the wife of the birthday boy that I couldn’t believe they would talk about that in front of me. I understand that they don’t get it, but still. There is a thing called common sense. 

Her response was, “Oh Lindsey, you always so sensitive.

She proceeded to go on and say that she totally supports how we are pursing treatment to have a child, but that I need to get over some things.

She doesn’t get it. I am not JUST doing fertility treatments. I am not JUST recovering from surgery. I am mourning the loss of our baby girl. She totally does not understand how profound a loss of a child is.

She told me that I will have a baby one day and I need to not let what people say get to me.

I responded by telling her that there are NO guarantees that we will have our OWN child and that maybe those people need to become more aware as to not be so insensitive themselves.

She gave me a hug and apologized for her own insensitivity, but kept reminding me to stop being so sensitive.

I fumbled for words knowing that whatever I said would probably not make a difference at this point.

I feel like I should have spoken up. I should have asked them to change the topic. I should have pointed out their insensitivity.

Instead, I did what so many in my situation have done before me.  I held my tongue. I left the room. I let myself feel ostracised. I didn’t enjoy the party.

Please dear God, give me strength and a voice to endure the many challenges I expect to face as we move forward on this journey. Please show me the way to create awareness to make this world an easier place for those of us facing infertility and miscarriage. 


40 thoughts on “The infertile in the corner

  1. I’m so sorry. I just had surgery last night for my second ectopic. After my first in April, I couldn’t bear to be around anyone. People’s lack of sensitivity just kills me. I held my tongue a lot the first time but this time I’m not taking any shit from anyone. If people can’t care or can’t be sensitive I need them out of my life. It sounds harsh but you need to be surrounded with love right now not people who basically tel you to suck it up. I hope you find some peace and healing.


    • Oh I am so sorry to hear that you had to go through it again. That is one of my biggest fears right now. I am sending you much love and light as you recover. Thanks for your kind words. You are so right. Enough with the bullshit.


  2. Oh I feel for you. I had some people like that in our life too. I had to pull away because it wasn’t positive for me to be around that but more so that I knew there was only so much those people could comprehend. Not everyone is capable of the empathy I needed and it wasn’t for me to change them. Your current experience and subsequent loss doesn’t require you to be any more stronger; you’re already plenty strong. You’re currently in mourning not only for the obvious but for a multitude of underlying things so be as sensitive as you need to be to nurture and protect yourself. You don’t get any awards for hanging out with people and “just try to get through it”. I’m sorry the party sucked, I really feel for you.


  3. That is just awful. What is wrong with people? I have turned down invites to events that I’ve really wanted to go to because I know there are friends that will be present who are pregnant, and I really can’t handle the conversations that come with that. But I’m a coward and would rather bow out than say something. My old workplace had so many pregnant/fertile people who used to brag about how they would get pregnant by just looking at their husbands. I had to leave that place too. I’m sorry. That really sucks. I am surprised that your best friend wasn’t more sensitive to it. Hugs.


  4. I am so sorry you had to deal with such insensitivity – sadly people just don’t understand. There is no text book easy way to handle those situations, but I am impressed at how you handled it.
    I can honestly say some of our friendships have drastically changed over the last two years, some of our friends have been amazing and some have been so insensitive and horrible that we no longer consider them friends. We have chosen to surround ourselves with only those who are supportive and compassionate – it’s the best decision we could have made to help us get through our losses.


  5. Man that sucks–I guess it’s common (almost cliché) for women to exchange birth stories but I’ve never witnessed one of these conversations. I also think that’s a strange topic at a wedding–why don’t they talk about their engagement or wedding stories–something relevant? And yeah knowing that you’ve been struggling I can’t rationalize why they chose to talk about birth. WTF.
    I still think you expect too much out of the “fertiles” (i.e. confiding in your friend that called you “too sensitive”) because even if they don’t *say* it, that is what they are thinking. They have no concept of what it’s like to struggle–they lack the ability to empathize. So you’ll probly always be disappointed by the response you get (which oscillates between dismissal and extreme pity–both suck IMHO). Sorry they suck 😦 XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You were not ‘being too sensitive’ at all. You were doing what I would do/have done. You could have been so much more ‘sensitive’ about it! It’s sad that people who haven’t been through it personally can’t put themselves in other people’s shoes. They probably get so excited to talk about themselves that they don’t even think about how it would affect someone else. A pregnancy loss is so many losses in one. The baby, possibly a tube, hope, joy, innocence, fertility sometimes, and friends.


  7. I’m sorry you had to deal with that. It’s so hard to know what to do in those situations. I have started speaking up sometimes, but it depends on the person and the situation. Sending lots of love your way!!!


  8. oh hun I am so sorry! Props to you for getting out though and please don’t let what happen deter you from getting out again. I hope you find your voice and can speak up next time you feel the way you felt last night…you deserve to be treated with sensitivity and respect. Sending you hugs! xo


  9. So sorry!!! It is their insensitivity that needs changing. You are feeling what is natural and you are not being too sensitive. Nobody can understand that depth of loss without having to endure it. Hugs!


  10. Sorry you had to deal with all that. People just suck sometimes. Especially since they all (or at least most of them) knew what you’ve been through. You’d think someone would have tried to steer the conversation in a different direction. And horrible that your friend told you to stop being sensitive. I would have told them all off and left. You deserve more support and love than that!


  11. Ugh! That is terrible, I’m so sorry that happened to you. I totally understand that if they have kids they will obviously be brought up, but to talk about birth stories right in front of you when they know about your very recent loss is just wrong. 😦


  12. I’m so sorry this happened, how awful, and then I can’t believe your friend told you that you needed to stop being so sensitive. You’re right, she doesn’t get it, sounds like none of them do. I’m just so sorry. XOXO


  13. I am sorry that there are these insensitive people around you who knew about your struggles and loss but still chose to talk about something that would potentially upsetting for you. I am so glad that you spoke up to your friend, but am also so sorry that she said something that would have hurt me badly. She clearly does not get it… and that is just so hurtful. How can anything expect you to “get over things” when you just had a loss? It’s totally unbelievable. Big hugs, girl. ❤


  14. I’m so sorry love. They and your friend were being so rude. It makes no sense that they would be so cavalier in their words around you knowing full we what you’ve been through. I would have had a fit! Unfortunately very few have the empathy or sympathy to know how to talk around “us”. Xo


  15. I. Am. speechless! Too sensitive! Oh Lindsay, I’m so sorry you went through that! And shame on that entire group of women! What is the matter with some people? I understand it can be hard to relate to when you’ve never experienced IF or loss, but where’s their basic compassion? have been there too and I too have walked away and not said anything. It’s just so hard some times. Some people just don’t understand how luck they are. It’s maddening. Big hug hon.


  16. I’m just so sorry—for your pain, and for that horrible sense of isolation. What makes me crazy is that you were *trying* to do something healthy, something good for yourself, and it’s like you got slapped in the face.

    No matter what, you were strong and beautiful and life-affirming for going out and socializing, for trying.

    Shame on that woman for telling you to get over things and stop being so sensitive. Makes me see red.

    And shame on any woman who would talk about her birth story in a situation where someone she *knows* just had a loss is sitting there a captive audience member. That’s beyond insensitive. It’s cruel.

    I once had to go to lunch with my boss and and three co-workers, because it was my boss’s birthday. We sat at a very small round table. They all knew I was carrying around a deceased fetus at the time—there was a week between the heartbeat stopping and my D & C surgery, and I had to work that week. I looked a little pregnant and felt very sick. And cried often at my desk, right beside theirs. At a certain point during the lunch, one of them gets out her iPhone and pulls up photos of her kids, starts passing it around the table, and I have no choice but to take the phone. Then another coworker does the same thing. Then my boss. Images of babies and children. There was nowhere for me to go, and they kept passing them to me. Finally I got up, my lunch uneaten, without saying goodbye. “Thank you for the birthday lunch!” my boss called out in a sing-song as I fled the cafeteria.

    What is it—what could they be thinking? They can’t possibly have forgotten what happened to your baby, those women telling their birth stories.

    At the same time, it’s not your job to confront them, not unless you are feeling like you can and want to. I used to feel this added pressure to be an advocate in the moment, and a sense of failure for not speaking my truth. But then I realized that I was entitled to being quiet when I needed to be quiet, I was tired, so tired, and I couldn’t expect myself to be superwoman—especially after a loss.

    In short, however you react to this b.s. is the perfect way to react. Love to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’ll never understand the gross lack of empathy and awareness people have for infertility. How could she even suggest that mourning the loss of a baby and all the emotions that go with it is “too sensitive”?! The fact that you went to a social event despite the heartbreak shows your strength. I’ve pulled away from a few friends over the past year and decided they weren’t good people for me during this journey or they weren’t someone I could lean on for support. I’m sorry you had to deal with that flat out rudeness and empathy from your friends.


  18. This one is never going to change. All moms talk about is their birth warrior stories or how they did cloth diapers/reading/bodily functions better than anyone else. They have nothing else to talk about.

    There have been a few times I said my baby is dead point blank when people asked me about birth stories, but it’s not productive. They weren’t attacking me, it just gel

    The world will continue to behave like this, and it isn’t a personal insult. So, yea, it kind of is you being “too sensitive.” More accurately, you don’t have the tools to deal with this yet, but you need to get them or you won’t be able to function in the real world.


    • I read your comment when you first posted it, but I wanted to take a few days to digest it before I responded. Your bluntness isn’t what I’m used to with the infertility community, but I appreciate your honesty. What tools would you recommend?


      • I think over time you will learn what works for you. You might have some neutral baby topic you like to talk about that you can handle and deflect to. You might make it all about gross bodily functions. You might joke you never want kids. You might just retreat and run away.

        The hardest choice is outing yourself as infertile or trying to educate some moms about being sensitive to infertiles when they are just trying to brag about their OMG cloth diapers.

        Moms will continue to act like this, and it will continue to hurt like heck. You have to be able to deal with it, because it is not going to change, and in most cases it is not a personal insult. Sometimes people who know you are suffering will hurt you, but most of the time they are just oblivious.


  19. I am so sorry that people who knew what you went through couldn’t pull their heads out of their butts to realize what jerks they were being. Had nothing to do with your sensitivity level. Sending you a big hug!


  20. You are right, we can’t say with 100% certainty that someday you will have a baby, but all signs point to the fact that you will. And I know, this sounds harsh, but I’ve been there too. I remember feeling low after our loss, of fearing it would never happen for me. But it did for me, and it will for you too, I have faith, even if you don’t right now.


  21. You were in no way being too sensitive and it makes me angry that someone would even suggest that. I understand that the general population does not understand infertility which is fine but a little common sense goes a long way. One of the hardest parts about infertility for me has been choosing who to interact with. I have lost some friends but have gained others. I hope you are able to find people who can give you the support you deserve.


  22. Oh my gosh, I got so angry and frustrated for you just reading about this experience! How insensitive and just plain rude can some people be?! Too sensitive. How about too ignorant, because that is what her comments were! It blows my mind how ignorant most people are when it comes to infertility and miscarriage. I too sometimes don’t know what to say in the moment, and then later of course I think of the PERFECT response and it’s too late. So frustrating. I agree that you are most certainly not being too sensitive. Right now you need to take care of you, and if people don’t like that well then it’s their loss.


  23. Pingback: Another one bites the dust | Awaiting Autumn

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