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Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Thursday, March 24, 2011

dear silent

You are hurtful.

When I told you we were adopting, I thought you would be excited. I thought we would finally experience that same reaction couples get when they tell others they are pregnant and expecting their first child. I thought I would have your unconditional love and support of everyone. Instead, it all feels the same.

I thought that people would stop saying stupid things or asking stupid questions, but that still happens, too. They are just different from the ones experienced by my infertile "sisters" who are going through fertility treatments or who are pregnant after long battles. They have to deal with issues involving embryos and ethics, ignorance involving the baby's biology, and remarks about lightening up and not taking their pregnancies so seriously. Meanwhile, I'm fielding questions about whether I plan to adopt a crack baby or if I'm going to be pissed when the birth mother changes her mind, because, "you know that always happens." (For the record: no and no. I also have no current plans to adopt a black teenager. Maybe in a few years.)

But, even with all of this, I must admit - the dumb questions are better than your approach of none at all. I'll take 10, "Are you going to adopt a kid with one leg?" inquiries over your complete non-interest. I felt the exact same way going through infertility treatments. The lack of phone calls, text messages, and emails hurt far worse than the stupidity. Silence, in my heart, equals not caring. Deep in my mind, I know this isn't true. I know you might just not know what to say. So you assume it's better to say nothing at all.

You're wrong. If I'm having a bad day, and I don't feel like talking about our journey or next steps, I'll tell you. But I'd rather have you ask and me defer than have you not say anything at all.

National Infertility Awareness Week is coming up next month. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is asking us to focus on busting infertility myths and, of course, breaking the silence. I think both of those are wonderful topics to discuss, but I want to focus on YOU. I want to encourage you on breaking YOUR silence. I've been more than open about our journey with infertility and now adoption, but I can't force you to bring up the subject. I can't force you to ask questions. I can't force you to sympathize with I'm going through. But if you love me, if you care about me as a friend or family member - which I hope that you do - I sincerely hope that you understand how your actions have affected me. More importantly, I hope you understand that I am not the only infertile person on this planet. Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Odds are, you know someone else who is suffering.

Don't let them suffer in silence. They deserve better.

We all do.

Aren't sure where to begin? Start here and here.

41 comments:

Do I Have to Be a D.I.N.K.? said...

Sorry for the stupid comments. It always amazes me what come out of peoples mouths! I am very excited for you and hope your know that!

It is what it is said...

I'm sorry that someone you hoped would be more engaged in your process is not. It sucks being let down by those we care about.

manymanymoons said...

I honestly HAVE to start writing down some of the comments we get surrounding the adoption. It's like people aren't aware they have said things out loud. Sometimes inner monologue should definitely stay that way!

Andrea said...

Another fabulous post Katie.

The Domestic Princess said...

I'm so sorry Katie! I know that can be so hard. On a side note, thank you for the reminder of NIFW.

serenity said...

I found the silence most hurtful as well. Because I could always give someone who said something stupid the benefit of the doubt - "they're just trying to help."

The silence (from my parents) to me was way more telling than the stupid questions. Even now, it's the elephant in the room.

xoxo

Baby Hopes said...

So, so very true about how painful the silence can be. I could not agree more.

erika said...

Silence does hurt. I am hoping your loved one will open up and be the right support for you. You deserve it!

AnotherDreamer said...

The silence hurts so much sometimes, you're right... more than the asinine comments even. So sorry you're dealing with stupid comments and deep silence (*hugs*)

Brave IVF Girl said...

Great post, Katie. *hugs* Sorry for stupid people.

~C~ said...

You bring up a really important point with this. For all of the advocacy and silence-breaking we might do, there's also somewhat of a burden on the shoulders of the people with whom we speak about it. The conversation goes two ways. It does no good for us to "break the silence" if silence is the response. And there's nothing we can do about that. Except feel like complete idiots.

someday-soon said...

It's so frustrating that some people say the most obserd things while others say nothing. I tried to focus on the fact that most people just had no idea what to say...and that each IFer wants different treatment. For me, I prefered to bring it up with friends when I wanted to talk...but that's just me. I agree that we should all try to be outspoken about our journey in hopes of supporting the other 1 in 8 out there!

Jen said...

This is a great post. I'm sorry you're dealing with silence. I know it can be deafening.

bodegabliss said...

What a powerful post! I think you speak for all of us here. Thank you. Beautifully written.

Geochick said...

Unfortunately stupid comments don't seem to go away. My favorite sais to me by a coworker was "So when the baby is born do they whisk it away from it's mother and not let her see it?" What the fuck century is this guy living in????

It gets easier to blow off though. Dead silence? That sucks too especially from friends and family.

Bumpy Journey said...

OMG- What an awesome post! I LOVE IT!!!

My So-Called (TTC) Life said...

Wow, what a post, Katie. Excellent. I thoroughly agree with you--it's those who don't ask that I find more hurtful than the ignorant who ask the stupid questions. I generally don't mind any questions. I mind the people who don't know our struggles and assume we're just putting babies off or that it's just that easy to have one in the first place. The silence is deafening sometimes.

Stefanie Blakely said...

Oh Katie... It breaks my heart that the people who are supposed to give you the most support have let you down... AGAIN. An adoption deserves as much celebration as any pregnancy. Please know that we are over the moon excited for you!

Michelle said...

I love this post, so honest & open. I know how hard it is when you are open about your journey and it is met with stupid questions or silence. It hurts, bad.
Sending love.

conceptionallychallenged said...

You have a very good point, Katie. We can only do so much, conversation has to happen between 2+ people. I hope the silent people in your life get the message soon.

Kelly said...

I agree, Katie, with you on all of this (and pretty much about anything that's classified as tough, tough shit in life). Anything is better than silence. Not that I appreciate dumbass comments but they show that they're putting some thought into things.

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I agree 100%. Great post as usual. Mad love to you girlie.

Seriously?! said...

I can soo appreciate this post. It sems like it never ends. My personal 'silent' in my adoption process is my mother. Of all people?! It's hurtful, and in my eyes, wrong.

I'm sorry it's found you too. You'd think that people would just be overjoyed that we're on a new path that will guarantee us a family, at some point. And instead, they try to impose more obstacles with their dumb comments...or silence.

Sorry. :( It sucks.

I'm still excited for you. I know for me, it's really helped me turn a corner...in a good way.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.;)

Sarah said...

I love this post. You are exactly right. I know all about the silence that surrounds infertility, no matter how much I talk about it. And I know my sister gets the silence with her adoptions as well. Especially with her daughter who is three and in Guatemala. Lots of people just never mention her, or just say they are so happy they now have Cici, like that just closes the book on Avery.

It's just hurtful.

Dawn said...

I just cannot understand how someone could not be so excited to support someone on their adoption journey.

My mother always likes to say "I guess I just don't know what to say because it was so easy for your father and I." Ugh. She said that today. I hate that one!

JC said...

I'm sorry you're having to deal with silence all over again. =( People should be SO excited for you, I know I am!!! It should be the same as announcing pregnnacy. It sucks when people let you down. I hope they turn around, and I hope you know we can't wait for you to adopt!! =)

Kim said...

The silence is painful, isn't it?!?! I so understand and get this. Nobody asks anything, it seems like they don't care, and you would think with your adoption plans there were be a new sense of excitement and hope. I'm sorry you are not getting the love and attention you deserve and need right now. Hugs.

amiracle4us said...

oh so true Katie!!! It's amazing how people get so caught up in their own lives, they don't consider other peoples. If we had cancer, the texts, calls, emails wouldn't stop, but bc we are infertile and 'healthy' its like we get looked over. (bad analogy???) hugs...

Rebecca said...

The silence is so hard. It really can be more painful than saying something ignorant. I'm sorry you're still dealing with that. You are an excellent voice for IF, though, and inspire me to become one as well.

Melissa said...

Ugh....when people make comments they really don't think about what their saying. I think people don't understand our road unless they have walked in our shoes. I did IVF but a friend of mine adopted twice from Russia. In fact I just stopped at her house today to meet her little girl. She is adorable. I have her pics posted on my blog. Congrats on your adoption journey!

Baby Hopes said...

I hope you don't mind but this post resounded so true that I included a link to it from my post today. Thanks again -

AplusB said...

Ugh, sorry about ignorance. But your blogging is so poignant and beautifully written, I have to believe you are reaching and touching more people than you'll ever realize.

Christa said...

An excellent post. I think this is the hardest thing for me to deal with as I go through infertility treatments and start the adoption process. I told close family members and it was a sort of "That's nice dear" response but with a total lack of enthusiasm. If we pursue adoption with full force and people continue to show a lack of support for it, then unfortunately those people cannot continue to be a part of our lives. Its a tough decision but we cannot accept people to be around our child who doesn't support their existence.

missohkay said...

I love this post. I walk around thinking no one cares quite often. Or maybe they cared at first but it wore off quickly. It really hurts.

Danielle said...

Since "silent" didn't say it, I will... CONGRATULATIONS! I am excited to read along on your adoption journey.

WaitingVicky said...

I, quite literally, read this entire post with my jaw dropped wide open. I didn't realize how naive I was until this post- I just assumed the comments about adoption would be so much nicer than those surrounding infertility. Speechless.

My heart goes out to you for having to deal with such ignorance. Sigh. Also, a huge congratulations!

Sara said...

Great post. I actually lost a dear friend over this during my primary infertility struggle. I just couldn't get past the "not asking = not caring" feeling. I know that probably wasn't it, but it just felt so much like it that it made it impossible for me to be around that person. I miss her still. Sigh.

Esperanza said...

What a beautiful post. I loved it. I also read the more recent post. I don't think I've ever read a post like that. I'm always appreciative of a unique point of view.

I hope your adoption plans go smoothly.

Happy ICLW!

AL said...

Great post, Katie. I always found the silence when we were going through treatments so hurtful. Not asking is so much worse than stupid questions.

even now that I'm pregnant, I hate that everyone wants to forget all the pain and tears it took me to get here. It all still matters.

Suzanne said...

Thank you so very much for putting into words what I have been experiencing with both my parents and in-laws. I see that I am not alone in this experience.

Pix said...

What a great post. Sorry your adoption news has not been greeted with happiness that it should have been. We deserve that joyful moment, and so do our kids. As annoying as those things are, I think they are making me a stronger parent-to-be. I'll surely call on that strength as we teach our child how to handle those type of people in the future.