A friend of mine posted this on Facebook yesterday, and I think it's brilliant. For those of you who don't feel like going to the article to read it (though you should - it's short, I promise), it's a theory on how not to say the wrong thing to someone. The person who created it did it in response what people said to her while she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, but the concept could be applied to any challenge you experience in life.
I started thinking about this in relationship to what all of us have gone through, or are currently going through, with communicating to others about our infertility. How many times have each of us struggled not only with sharing our experiences, but also with receiving negative responses? Too many to count, I'm sure. (In fact, I did a post a while back on the stupid things people say to us about infertility. I should do a Round 2 on this, as it's such a great way to vent about this frustrating aspect of infertility.)
So, wouldn't it be great if we could simply give these ignorant morons this guide for how to respond? Instead of trying to think of a clever response or dodging the comments altogether, we could try to enlighten them on how to comfort others - without necessarily engaging them in a five-hour conversation where we're trying to explain the depths of infertility. (Because we all know how trying that can be.)
Of course, this isn't just a phenomenon that occurs with people who don't understand our disease. Sometimes, ALI community members need assistance in knowing what to say, as well. Most of us are fairly considerate, but I've seen instances where women aren't as understanding as they should be toward the circumstances of others. Or we struggle to find the right words and all we end up spitting out are the wrong ones.
Regardless, this is the kind of thing I've often wished I had printed on a card to hand to others when they had some smart remark about our struggle to have kids. This way, instead of wanting to punch someone in the face for saying that we "must not be trying hard enough" or maybe I was one of those women "who just shouldn't be a mom," I could instill some empathy. It's a great lesson in teaching us that it's not always about us or what we think. Instead, it's about what the person at the center of the ring is struggling with.
Comfort in. Dump out. Perhaps this could be your response next time someone tells you to relax and open the wine.