Fertility Myths

August 6th, 2007
Posted By:

Swamp (c) Lynda Bernhardt

When I was trying to conceive, I lost count of the number of “solutions” to our woes offered by well-meaning family and friends. I can look back now and see the humor in these suggestions. However, when I was going through the process, I was not amused.

Here are some of the solutions that I was offered:

  • Just relax.
  • Go on a cruise.
  • Buy a two-seater car.
  • Have sex in the back seat of a car.
  • Drink cough syrup to thin your cervical fluids.
  • Hold your legs in the air for 20 minutes after sex. (That was an attractive view for my husband!)
  • Have sex every day for 5 days throughout your ovulation period.
  • Refrain from sex for 2-5 days before your ovulation period.
  • Carry a fertility stone at all times.

The one comment that bothered me the most was relax, relax, relax. One day when I was hormonal on Clomid, somebody made the mistake of telling me again that I just needed “to relax” to become pregnant. I retorted, “If my relaxing can quadruple my husband’s sperm count, then I guess we are in business.” The look on the man’s face was priceless, and it succeeded in shutting him up for the moment.

People mean well when they give you this kind of advice, but an infertile woman hears “just relax” as “it’s your own fault that you are not pregnant yet.” That was not the message that I needed to hear. I was already so frustrated with my body. I felt so helpless and deprived of a fundamental right experienced by most women on the planet. I did not need somebody telling me that I had brought all of this pain onto myself.

Fertility issues are medical issues that need to be treated by a doctor. We would not tell somebody with cancer or autism just to carry a healing stone in his pocket. Find a way to tune out the well-meaning but annoying advice from family and friends and listen to your doctor.

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3 Responses to “Fertility Myths”

  1. sarah16 Says:

    I think all women going through IF have to find a way to deal with people who don’t understand what we are going through. I also think some comments hurt some people more than others, it just depends on their personality. I’m lucky to have friends that just listen and don’t offer advice.

  2. Faith Says:

    You are definitely blessed to have friends like that. :0)

    I agree that we each have to find a way to navigate the unwanted comments. What helped me was to try to look at the heart rather than at the words. If the person said the wrong thing with the right intentions, I tried to just internally forgive the other person and move on. I have gotten better at this in later years. I got lots of practice during my trying to conceive years. :0(

    - Faith

  3. lucy77 Says:

    I’m SO tired of hearing “oh, they meant well.” People who say things like: “stop trying so hard!” and “You need to relax” and “as soon as you decide to adopt you’ll get pregnant” (all of which I’ve heard recently – and NOT because I initiated the conversation, belive me!) are as thoughtless as they were three minutes before these comments, when they asked you why you weren’t pregnant or didn’t have children yet.

    Whether someone means to be cruel or not doesn’t matter – they are being cruel and hurtful, and unlike the poster above, I have not met a single person dealing with infertility who isn’t bothered by these comments.

    If someone said to you, “gee, you should really get a nose job! Your nose is HUGE!” would you say, oh, but they meant well! No. You’d think they were rude, thoughtless and inappropriate.

    When someone tells me to relax, I now say something like, “gee, if that was all it took we’d REALLY have a population explosion. But thanks for that really, really helpful suggestion. No one has said that to me before!”

    In the end, I don’t really have a good comeback, but I shouldn’t have to. It’s personal, it’s intertwined with our sex life (if someone asked you about that, would you think they “meant well?”) and I should never, ever have to talk about it. Neither should you.

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