AdoptResources's Blog

blogging about adoption, attachment, parenting & family life

The things people say…

with 9 comments

A tweet a few days ago reminded me of some of the fairly tactless things people said to us when we were finding our way towards a family… comments like “are you two not going to have babies soon…? Too busy enjoying your holidays/nights out etc etc…”, some people came to the conclusion that it was my decision to focus on my career and expressed sympathy that I was preventing my husband from becoming a Dad!

Once the word was out that we were having problems in the baby-making department, we were given all sorts of advice from “relax – you’re thinking about it too much…” to various stories of friends of friends who had twins on their 23rd IVF treatment. The implication seemed to be that if things weren’t happening, it was down to a lack of positivity or too much stress. There’s no disputing that people get pregnant at times when they thought it was never going to happen and that there are links with stress and fertility, but the clumsy assumption that all we need to do is chill a bit is oversimplistic. At a time when there’s a lot of soul searching and looking for answers, being told your state of mind is the deciding factor is not really that helpful…

When we moved on to adoption, more pearls of wisdom came our way… “Oh I know someone who had triplets a year after adopting… it’s like it all starts to happen once you stop thinking about it…” etc etc. Now, I have lots of very positive and happy feelings about adoption but relaxing is not a word I’d used to describe fast-tracking a child-free existence to, in our case, family life with two toddlers!! 

I know most of the people who made those throw-away comments meant no harm and may even have thought they were helping, but as far as I’m aware there is no evidence that comments like those mentioned above promote fertility or offer support in adoption.

My take home message? Infertility/fertility is a fairly complex area  not directly linked with perceived levels of relaxation. If conception is proving tricky, it’s not down to the personal qualities of the couple involved… and adoption is amazing and at times magical but definitely not something you’d do to relax or de-stress.

Written by adoptresources

May 25, 2010 at 12:13 am

Posted in TTC, views of adoption

9 Responses

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  1. I think a lot of people are just plain inconsiderate – I was told to relax, stop worrying last summer when we had big difficulties with my pregnancy, to be honest I’d have loved to have stopped worrying but it really wasn’t happening given the issues we faced

    I hope that at least I’m more aware of how throw away comments can hurt and careful what I say

    Muddling Along Mummy

    May 25, 2010 at 9:33 am

  2. Thanks for a great Blog and so true . I actually think the starting point with Infertility stress is to acknowledge that this IS an incredibly stressful time rather than trying to ” buck your ideas up ” !

    From that point to treat yourself as kindly as possible and be proactive in looking after yourself . To find the things that work for you as an individual rather thatn a one size fits all philosophy .

    Infertility just is stressful and adoption a wonderful , but not easy route to take . People going through these issues deserve to treat themselves and be treated with compassin not criticism .

    Anya Sizer


    May 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

  3. Thanks for the posting this! I agree, I don’t think people are trying to be inconsiderate or hurtful… I just think they don’t know what to say. We all love message of hope, but sometimes it’s just not a possibility… and none of their business! 🙂 I actually heard a statistic a while back: Less than 4% of couples who adopt become pregnant themselves. I’ve chosen adoption to create my family. It was my choice and I’m excited about the future and what it will bring.


    May 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm

  4. I’ve been keen to adopt now for several years and now that I’m on my own it’s probably not an option. But even when I’ve mentioned doing it some people have been incredibly, in fact abusively, outspoken. Both my parents were adopted so it has always made sense to me but people are often outspoken just to make themselves look clever.


    June 19, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    • Thanks for commenting – sometimes people don’t realise the impact of their throwaway statments… don’t discount adoption because you’re on your own, there are lots of single adoptive parents out there. Check with your local adoption agency to see what their policy is. Happy to have a chat with you if you want…


      June 22, 2010 at 3:59 pm

  5. Just wanted to pass on the “A Blog With Substance” Award to you:


    July 13, 2010 at 1:03 pm

  6. It’s true – people don’t mean to cause offence, they are thinking that they may be helping with their well meaning advice and comments. They just can’t ever imagine what it’s like to be on the receiving end, unless they have been in the same situation.

    When we first experienced problems starting a family, no one needed to know – but when the baby we were expecting died, it became common knowledge amongst our friends, family & neighbours as I was very ill and hospitalised.

    At my first social outing afterwards, a well meaning neighbour asked me publicly if the doctors had found out what was wrong with me that had caused the baby to die.

    If I wasn’t already riddled with guilt that I may have done/not done/eaten/not eaten/thought/not thought something that brought about the sad loss, I certainly was then.

    I’ve learnt that people are unthinking, not uncaring.

    After many further tragic losses we finally were lucky enough to have a daughter in 1997. We can’t have any more children. I am grateful for her and I give thanks everyday.

    Heather Bestel

    October 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    • Hi Heather – thanks for your lovely comments and for sharing your experience. Your daughter is one lucky lady…


      October 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm

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