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So what do you say to people who say things like "I'm praying for you".....?

(92 Posts)
HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 12:47:45

......or who offer you all kinds of stories of hope when you find hope so bloody exhausting and pointless? I don't want to say "Thanks but that really doesn't help" in case it hurts their feelings, but I could really really NOT do with hearing things like "Never say never, my friend's son's partner is suddenly pregnant for the first time at 41", or "It'll happen for you sweetie, I KNOW it will. You WILL get your baby." How? How the fuck do you know that?

There are some people who will never succeed and I am probably one of them. Yes, I have IVF to come, but it's one round. One round probably won't work. I refuse to spend any more time helplessly hoping - I just want my life back. Four years TTC, two failed IUIs, more waiting lists than I can count, nothing apparently wrong apart from low AMH (and that's probably so low because I've spent so much time bloody waiting)....and never so much as a late period, let along a line on a stick, let alone a baby.

I don't want to sound bitter. I wish other people would just accept it. It's as though they find it embarrassing so they feel like they should jolly you along and encourage you, when actually they know nothing about it. When I said to my cousin we were only giving it one shot at IVF, she regaled me with stories about how several of her friends had succeeded on their second go, and how I really mustn't give up. I don't have five grand for one round of IVF - well, I do, or I could borrow it, but what's the point if I know it almost certainly won't work? Imagine paying back loans for years, knowing that it was for failed IVF. I couldn't do it.

It's not that I'm unpleasant, or ungrateful, or horrible. I just wish that it was more widely accepted that for some people, nothing will work, no matter how much positivity they have, or no matter how many good wishes they receive.

Just ranting really. Sorry.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 12:48:18

By the way, this thread makes it sound as though I have been telling everyone I know. I really haven't smile

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:00:04

God I hate it when people do this. In my case, not TTC, but about having disabled DC. "Oh I know he will be fine" - well, he wasn't, you silly mare.

Or my friend who died from Ovarian cancer. "I know she will be fine, she has such positivity, she's such a fighter."

I think it's the way they can go off oblivious in their facile denial, spreading sunbeams because it hasn't happened to them. I find it especially annoying when it gets religious. smile

I don't know whether they are embarrassed or just afraid to admit that shit happens.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:06:16

I'm sorry to hear about your son and your friend. It's true - it seems like an easy thing to say.

Funnily enough, it has been my mentally ill brother who has said the most sensible thing. "That sounds very hard. I'm sorry you're going through that." And he has schizophrenia FFS!

MIL said she understood that I was "sensitive" about it when I couldn't go and visit my pregnant SIL last New Year. No not "sensitive" - quite normal actually.

Thing with infertility is that so much of it comes from people who have had similar issues, and has got lucky. Because they were lucky, then everyone else will be as well. Doesn't work like that, sadly.

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:09:26

No, it's a very hard thing to suffer infertility. Interesting thought that people who have had good news are the worst offenders- I hadn't thought of that but I can see it.

I suppose people want to make things better, but actually some things just remain shit, that's the honest truth.

Sorry also to all those, including OP, who are suffering with infertility. Very hard for you.

Ephiny Wed 11-Dec-13 13:15:50

I think people mean well and are trying to be nice - but yes, this relentless 'positivity' thing is annoying and, when you think about it, not as nice as it seems on the surface.

Like the thing about people surviving cancer or whatever because of their 'positive attitude' or being so 'strong'. What about the people who don't get better, does that mean it's their own fault for being too weak-minded or negative?

Being optimistic is one thing, but refusing to accept reality is another. I would find this annoying and almost offensive, it's like they're saying your situation (and the possibility of not succeeding with IVF etc) is such an unmentionable or embarrassing or shameful thing that they feel they can't admit it's existence. That is not helpful.

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:19:35

People also say that suffering is a blessing in disguise as it will make me stronger.

I'll go with weak and happy, thanks.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:22:13

Yes, they definitely mean well and are trying to be nice. I get that totally, which is why I can't say anything like "Please - you're not helping."

I remember when I was in my early 20s, when I was young and stupid, talking to a supply teacher at the school I was teaching in. I asked her if she had children - she was 45 or so, I'd guess - and she simply said "No, we couldn't have them." My friend and I looked at her nervously. Ooh this was a bit embarrassing. What should we say? Oh God....I went for "Didn't you have IVF?", thinking as everyone in their 20s does that IVF works for everyone, because that is what actresses say in magazines. What a fucking massive twat. Yes, they had had IVF and it didn't work. Yes, they had thought about adoption and decided against it. She went on to say she had stopped being silent and scared about mentioning it, and that she and her husband had decided that if anyone ever asked, that was what they would say. In retrospect, good for that woman.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:23:04

Beast if anyone said that to me, they would be lucky to escape with their teeth intact angry. How could anyone be so rude?

moggle Wed 11-Dec-13 13:26:28

I think it is just human nature to try and put a positive spin on it, and also to just find it hard to know what to say on situations you don't have any experience of. Eg "I'm sure it will eventually work for you" might be appropriate for some trying for a year because chances are, most people at that stage will eventually manage to get pregnant. But how to you get across that you are so far past that stage .., I don't know. Sometimes I try to be charitable when people say annoying things and think "you don't know how lucky you are, that you have no idea what we're going through". I do sometimes try to think, what would I actually WANT to hear from someone? And it is hard- I think what your bro said is the best thing really- "it's so shit, I'm sorry you are having to go through this". I am trying to remember this when faced with situations where I don't know what to say or do, eg someone's close family member dying etc.
specifically re the praying... I don't mind this too much as it's nice to think people are wishing us well, but it is awkward as hell.., perhaps say"oh while you're at it, could you ask Him for a large pay rise for me too?"

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:27:40

Well, usually they don't mean to be rude, they are just trying to explain their position, usually, their religious position.

You get a lot of, "oh, they're such a blessing aren't they?" No, they are fucking not. I mean, of course you love them. But a blessing? Seriously?

Ephiny Wed 11-Dec-13 13:33:53

I think most people, unless they've been through it themselves, have no idea what the success rate (or failure rate, more to the point) of IVF is like, and would probably be shocked if they knew. People seem to imagine it's some miracle cure for any kind of fertility problem, and it's just not.

As for the suffering is a blessing thing -- if people want to believe that about their own suffering, that's up to them. They don't get to decide it for other people though.

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:34:52

But let's go back to the OPs situation as this is infertility thread and not all about me blush.

Do you think people are trying to do some kind of magic on you? Or just want to avoid the issue?

I will remember your brother's sensible thing to say next time I need it.

lapetitesiren Wed 11-Dec-13 13:37:15

So sorry for you. Re the praying - say thankvyou- they are trying to help. Rest? People are trying desperatly hard to find something to say at all- its out of their realm of experience- they are just doing their best to wave a verbal magic wand for you. In their own way they are trying to be supportive.
Awkward silence might be worse- or people avoiding you.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:38:17

I don't mind the praying any more than the "It'll work for you, I know it" and so on.

Perhaps it was an ill considered thread title. I wouldn't want to offend anyone, especially the religious MNers I have come to know and like over the years.

I don't know what I'm saying really. It's not that I'm not appreciative of good wishes and thoughts. I'd rather have that than what my in-laws demonstrate - a categorical refusal to acknowledge the issue. FIL was ranting about gay marriage the other day not being proper marriage. DH enquired what a proper marriage was. One with children apparently. I asked "So what does that make my marriage?"

There was an awkward silence as he self righteously poured himself yet another glass of Merlot, and didn't say anything else.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:39:17

Ah Beast, rant away. It's not all about me me me grin

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:44:58

No I truly think people are trying to be kind.

I think there is a real lack of information amongst the general public about how low success rates actually are. As well, as there being a lack of information about fertility in general actually - we're taught that if you have sex you will get pregnant, whereas for so many people it takes many months or even years of joyless, planned effort. It really isn't a case of accidentally falling on a cock and hey presto....nine months later and the patter of tiny feet.

I also think there's a refusal to acknowledge that couples who succeed with IVF after a long struggle frequently find the going very tough. I have several friends who really found it hard to come to terms with what they had to go through to conceive their children - the "it's really unfair" thing continues up to and past birth. It's not simply a question of unbridled joy for many.

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:45:27

FFS I just hid my own thread somehow. How do you undo it?

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 13:46:01

And now I will stop cluster posting.

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:49:06

I suspect what's annoying is the unwillingness to admit that it is sad, that it might never get better, and that that's unfair.

It's interesting, isn't it, that the nature of compassion does mean that we have to start by acknowledging the loss or the pain we are meant to be sympathising with. If someone has died, we know where we are. I've always liked that phrase "I'm sorry for your loss/ trouble" . But in other contexts, it almost seems as if its good manners to minimise the hurt the other person is enduring.

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:50:51

And a cluster post from me.. Actually a xpost... I know couples who have split after successful IVF, usually as the man feels sidelined. Not happy at all.

MrsMcEnroe Wed 11-Dec-13 13:52:09

Oh I know what you mean Hester. When my mum was dying from cancer, and people kept telling me "there's always hope" I wanted to scream at them. Actually I did scream at someone once. She forgave me!

Honestly, I think you would be perfectly entitled to say "thanks, could we just drop it because I don't wish to discuss it" or similar.

I never had an answer to "I'm praying for you" other than a muttered "thanks." As a committed atheist I WANTED to scream "Don't waste your energy!" but something (innate fear of offending people? Fear of being punched?!) stopped me.

For what it's worth, I am very sorry that you are going through this, and please feel free to tell me to sod off if you like...

Beastofburden Wed 11-Dec-13 13:55:42

What I always wanted to say to people who said they were praying for me was, "thanks, but it would be more help if you would babysit".

That and, "could you organise a cure then? Cheers for that".

Never said either of course.....

helzapoppin2 Wed 11-Dec-13 14:02:18

I hate it and I'm a god botherer! It would only be appropriate to say if the other person was of like mind. It's just inappropriate in my opinion!

HesterShaw Wed 11-Dec-13 14:03:35

MrsMcEnroe I wouldn't dream of telling you to sod off <dignified>

Oh arse. I'm a big conflict at the moment. The last thing I want to do is be rude to people. I like it when I know people are hoping for me and sending their best wishes. It's just the "Oh I know it'll work" stuff!

I wouldn't dream of likening it to what someone goes through with a family member having cancer, but from posts people have made I can see that the two things resonate somehow.

We have a good neighbour who has cancer. It sounds from what he says that he doesn't have long. He was talking to us the other day and said "I have some bad news: the cancer has come back and they can't treat it with chemo now." Poor old guy. So my IDIOT DH goes and says "So what can they do? Will you have another operation?" I nearly punched him. That was just ignorance though, and I guess it's the same thing as with infertility. People don't want to acknowledge that sometimes nothing can be done. All you can do is say you are very sorry and to please let us know if there's anything practical we can do.

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