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"Didn't you want any more? " *facepalm*

(30 Posts)
DennyDifferent Sun 05-Jul-15 17:38:05

At a family do today for my step sister's birthday, two members of her family separately commented on how 7 year old DS had grown etc and both asked, "Don't you want any more?" I managed to restrain myself from replying, "Well, we haven't used contraception since he was born, I have Pcos which reduces my chance of ovulation and polyps which mean even if I did conceive it would probably result in miscarriage, and has three times in the last 6 years.. so yeah I do want another, I physically ache for another. ooh can you pass the menu?"

I know they meant no harm but so much of infertility is dealt with in secret, it sucks I have to watch what I say to stop others from feeling uncomfortable, but they don't!

My actual response was, "you never know what might happen..." with a weak smile and a shrug of the shoulders.

What are your best responses when people ask questions like this? Do you answer honestly, spare their feelings or come up with a witty retort?

WhatWouldFlopDo Sun 05-Jul-15 17:52:13

flowers for you Denny
I got this from one person in particular, not even a friend, just someone from play group. "You'd better get on with it, you're not getting any younger" "only lonely" "only child syndrome" etc.
After being questioned for the 3rd time in a year I told her straight "yes I want more, but I've lost 4 already, 3 of those in the last 18 months and I'm getting on a bit now so I might not be able to have more". She's not asked since. I didn't spare her feelings because she didn't spare mine, not once.

PixieChops Sun 05-Jul-15 18:05:56

I've thankfully not suffered in the way you have OP, but I can understand your frustration. I'm an only child and I never got this "syndrome" that people speak of and neither was I that bothered about being on my own.
I kind of agree with the way PP dealt with it and just told them straight. I can't imagine the pain and suffering you've gone through thanks and I think getting the Spanish Inquisition about a very personal and sensitive subject would've tipped me over the edge and I would've screamed at someone so well done for keeping your cool.

WorkingBling Sun 05-Jul-15 18:11:22

Personally I have never understood the secrecy around infertility. Especially around family and friends. I absolutely would say, "well, yes. We would love more but clearly it hasn't happened"

Having said that, I once had some dick, after I explained fertility issues, suggesting that I could still plan to have a baby so it was born at a good time for schools! Honestly, people are pathetic.

sleepyhead Sun 05-Jul-15 18:34:18

The problem with being open about infertility (although I agree with the principal), in that doesn't stop the intrusive questions:

"what have you tried?"
"have you tried ivf?"
"donor eggs?"

They always know someone who "relaxed and it finally happened" or tried some herbal thing or saw some expensive doctor.

And you end up feeling judged for just not trying/wanting/relaxing/spending enough ...

Frank85 Sun 05-Jul-15 19:20:10

God this is annoying
As soon as we got married.... " are you having babies soon?!" " when are you having babies"
Well I have one ovary and had my tube flushed out before we got married we have been going at it in the vain hope it might work.... Now pumping myself full of hormones from IVF but you know no guarantee that will work
Did I miss anything.... O yeah my natural killer cell count is so high that we were really trying for nothing!


Ilikesweetpeas Sun 05-Jul-15 19:51:02

I know exactly what you mean OP. My DC is 7 as well and I'm so fed up of these questions. I am open about IVF and miscarriages but it's so wearing. To the poster who said about infertility not being a secret. I no longer keep it a secret as people need to be educated about this but when ttc my child I was simply too emotional to have talked about it.

ToGrapefruit Sun 05-Jul-15 20:21:59

I hear you OP. My DD is 8, and people do just keep on with the asking annoying/ awkward questions. As sweetpeas says it's so wearing being open, and it's also wearing being evasive or saying things like 'I'm happy with the way things are', because they never seem to take this as a cue to shut up about the issue, and by evading the truth, I end up feeling cowardly and pathetic.

Met someone for the first time at a social do last week, and after finding out I had one child aged 8, she asked me (while surrounded by other people), 'so, why did you decide to only have the one?'
Nothing inherently rude about the question, but just not one that I think is considerate. I could have answered honestly- 'Well, I didn't choose to only have one, but the miscarriages and now major medical issues mean that that's how it is', but didn't feel able to. And then felt like a pathetic coward. So mumbled some excuse and asked her a question about her family. She told me about her several children, and then started on about it again, 'so did you not want any more?' etc.

What I found most awkward was that a friend who's youngest DD died was with us, and I know she always answers the question as to how many children she has with total honesty, dignity and confidence. And I feel my own issues are nothing to hers, so why can't I just be like her and tell it as it is.

OP- To answer your queries about the best response, I honestly don't know what it is. I wish I did! I lack confidence badly in this area.

18yearsoftrying Sun 05-Jul-15 21:02:25

flowersto you all.

I realised I had done the right thing in not telling absolutely every member of DH's family when I was reminded at a family funeral I'd been married for 12 years & it was time to get on with it.

The person who asked me had 4 children by 3 husbands (not that that on its own iritates me) so I blatantly replied.....

"How often do YOU have sex?"

They're ignorant. They've probably no experience of it.

scienceteachergeek Sun 05-Jul-15 23:52:43

I constantly have to remind myself that the people who ask all the time don't actually mean to upset me. They've just have no experiences of our struggles.

After three years of being married with no pregnancy I've told a few friends, simply because I just felt I'd run out of excuses. I got away with about 18months of 'We just don't feel ready yet'. Then I moved onto 'He works nights and I work days, when do you think we have time for sex?' My Mum's not stupid and think she's figured out we're struggling but I can't bring myself to tell close family. I just couldn't cope with all the questions.

I haven't been rude to anyone when they ask. They're just the lucky ones who have zero experience in all of this bull****.

Love to all of you xxx

temporaryusername Mon 06-Jul-15 00:01:50

Questions and comments like that are really stupid and thoughtless, no-one with any sense or consideration would ask them. So I don't think you need to spare anyone's feelings. People should know they have asked a very stupid question. Tell them so, or if you don't feel like it just say it is complicated/private/none of their business.

I think there is an element here of people not wanting to face uncomfortable realities - when we see someone missing out on something, it is preferable to think it is a choice rather than face the facts that many people are struggling or suffering. It isn't acceptable though, people need to wise up, no excuses.

DennyDifferent Mon 06-Jul-15 07:55:18

thanks Thank you for sharing your experiences. The positive thing I have taken from my infertility experience is that I would never ask those kind of questions and I have a better understanding of what might be going on "behind the scenes " for people, or more to the point, I have no idea, so better not assume and ask stupid questions!

I've spoken to my close circle of friends about it and explained how those kind of questions could make someone feel. it was like a light was turned on, as soon as they got it, they couldn't believe they hadn't thought of it that way before. Maybe if I had the courage to be honest when people ask, they might be more thoughtful next time... well done to those who are brave enough.

lugo40 Mon 06-Jul-15 09:00:32

I have to agree with the poster who said if your honest they then make comments which imply you just are t doing enough.

My personal favourites are "do you think you are becoming too stressed about it?" And "you just need go
Get pumping more"

All from people who decided to have try for a baby and 40 weeks later were in the delivery room!!

DennyDifferent Mon 06-Jul-15 21:17:15

I've had one or two people that I have opened up a bit with, when we were considering adoption at one point, say "well you know as soon as you do you'll get pregnant, that's how these things work." I thought that showed a rather flawed understanding of biology on their part.

purplemeggie Mon 06-Jul-15 22:33:50

Honesty has worked best for me - I tend to say "We would have loved more, but it didn't happen for us." If they persist, they get "well, they botched my caesarean and by the time they worked out what had happened, it was too late." My DS is also 7 and the questions seem to have stopped - probably because I am 42 and they have rightly concluded that it's unlikely to happen now. We are quietly going ahead with DE IVF...if it works, there will be some very surprised people out there!
As with some of the other posters, I find I mind less if I remind myself that it is people's ignorance of our sorrow that makes them so tactless - they have no idea of the pain and guilt of secondary infertility. And I hope a gentle, but honest answer means that they will think a bit more before asking someone else a tactless question.

mumtosammy Mon 13-Jul-15 14:41:21

Totally agree, it’s so hard dealing with these questions. I read recently that 6 out of 10 cases of infertility are now secondary infertility, yet people still don’t seem to understand it at all, and there isn’t as much support either. I’ve had ‘well that seems a bit strange since you’ve managed to have one without problems’ and ‘you just need to relax’ so many times now.
It’s exhausting, at the worst points I avoided situations where I knew the question would arise as it upset me so much and I don’t feel able to be honest.

Chattycat78 Mon 13-Jul-15 17:17:45

Hey guys, I can relate to this too. We've had to have ivf for our first baby, and although I'm absolutely totally grateful for him, I'm already dreading the questions when he gets older (he's six months old) about whether we want another one. I'm expecting it to be a struggle to have a second (;if it's indeed possible at all) and I can already visualise all the pregnancy announcements from my Nct class.....��

18yearsoftrying Mon 13-Jul-15 21:41:31

Yep. Chatty,
I'm there already & I've had to leave the room to hide my tears.
I sometimes just hide my face behind DD & snuggle into her, to try & hide my distress too when it comes up at the social coffee mornings etc.

It is so hard.

Chattycat78 Wed 15-Jul-15 07:37:43

Yes I know- and I've really noticed how people just expect to have a second- all my Nct class are already talking about when (not "if" I notice) they have their second....I just smile along as I wouldn't dare to presume such a thing. I also feel bad for my son At the idea of him being an only child and wonder if I've been selfish having him knowing that it may not be possible to give him a sibling.

purplemeggie Wed 15-Jul-15 11:06:25

Easier said than done, Chatty - (because I've had my share of the guilt especially when ds asks for a baby sister) but we are trying to focus on the positives of having an only child - the things that we can afford to do for him that we might struggle with if we had others to consider. One of these came up yesterday - we had a meeting with his school and they were recommending that he sees an OT. The NHS wait is over a year, so we're going to pay for a private assessment. Little silver linings -and on balance we'd all prefer a baby! - but there will be other more fun things that we'll be able to do for/with him in due course.

Chattycat78 Wed 15-Jul-15 11:21:38

Thanks purple- and I know you're right! It's just hard to see it I suppose when you're thinking about a second! I'm glad you're managing to focus on the positives!

G1veMeStrength Wed 15-Jul-15 11:24:56

My friends says simply and with dignity 'sadly we haven't been able to but we do try to look on the bright side'. She is very graceful and composed but I have seen her 'behind the scenes' as it were and my heart breaks for her.

Chattycat78 Wed 15-Jul-15 14:44:26

That's a good response- maybe I'll try that in the future. Laughably, less than an hour ago my cleaner asked me when we were planning on having a second one...! I had to explain how hard it was to have a first! Sigh.

Chchchchangeabout Wed 15-Jul-15 15:28:49

Chatty - I have a sibling and think I would have been just as happy as an only. We get on ok but just never see each other. I don't think you can ever guarantee a sibling will be better than no sibling for your dc, it's all a bit of a lottery really.

inamaymaybewrong Tue 21-Jul-15 17:35:53

Oh I'm so glad I'm found this thread! We have a precious DS, nearly 3, from IVF and we're trying for #2 but have lost 2 pregnancies since last November (1 FET and 1 total surprise natural). I'm nearly 38.

Denny I have PCOS too.....

chatty I could have written your posts, especially about the NCT group chats. They are 8 of us in mine and 5 have already had their seconds. One second is already 1 and none of the firsts are 3 yet. None have hinted at any fertility or MC issues and they all talk about having conceived sooner than they expected to. All the ones that had seconds also did that thing where they got back to work FT after the #1 so that they can have full mat pay for #2 which they (rightly for them) assume will be born within a year of them going back to work. I cringe at such conversations. There have been some very insensitive things said too, and now that we're adding MC to IF as we try for #2, I've resolved to just be factual and open in my responses as the need arises. I'm coming out of the closet!

Whatwould - I completely agree with you on not sparing others' feelings when they show so little concern for ours. That's another reason I have resolved to just be factual when the issue comes up from now on. ILike I agree with you too! I also think the taboo of IF and MC need breaking and people need educating on these things, but like you, I felt too sensitive to tell anyone but close friends and family when we were trying for DS.

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