Trigger Warning: Discussions about ttc, pregnancy, “miracle cures” for infertility & childlessness, and trolls
Recently, I was cleaning out my personal email account and noticed one titled, “The Pregnancy Miracle.” Rolling my eyes, I sighed and clicked to open it because I wanted to unsubscribe from this “miracle cure,” wondering how they even got my information. As I quickly read through their message, I realized that I had purchased one of their books ten years ago (8 years into our infertility battle). At that point, we were done with infertility treatments. But obviously, I had not given up on getting pregnant, as I was still searching for a miracle cure… It is shocking to me that this purchase was only two years before my hubby and I decided to try and accept our childless not by choice life.
Back to the present… It’s 2018 and five years into accepting my childless life. In fact, I have redefined momhood for myself and am now creating a new, beautiful and courageous existence. I unsubscribed from “The Pregnancy Miracle” because I am no longer in search of a “miracle cure.” My miracle has come in the form of nieces, nephews, fur babies, and our exchange daughter. And I am quite content living our what is…
Thank goodness, most people have stopped offering me advice about their “miracle cure.” When we were trying to conceive, several thought our “cure” was to either just adopt or just relax. I looked for my own miracles in yoga designed specifically to improve fertility, the book I mentioned above, avoiding certain foods, alcohol, hot tubs, and carnival rides… Oh, and actual infertility treatments conducted by licensed medical professionals. After we stopped trying, someone offered to do acupuncture on me to see if it would help me conceive… I declined.
Nothing had worked. So, I stopped looking for a miracle cure.
Not So Helpful…
When I started this series, “Not So Helpful: Things You Shouldn’t Say to the Childless,” I stated, “I want to help educate those who truly want to support we childless about how best to do that. By giving them a view from our perspective, perhaps they can ‘get it’ a little more…” I went on to explain, “Now, not everyone wants to ‘get it.’ And I get that! This series is not for those who simply want to argue, question, or belittle. If you realize you are dealing with a troll or an overly critical person, just move on. There are plenty of people out there who want to understand our struggles and support us through our battles. Don’t waste energy on those who don’t care to empathize.”
I wrote that last bit of advice based on personal experience. While I do want this series to focus on educating those who truly desire to help us, I think taking a moment to explore an overly critical person’s take on infertility and childlessness is beneficial. To do this, let’s look at an exchange I had on Instagram several months back…
A Miracle Cure…
One Saturday morning, I received this message on my Not So Mommy… Instagram. (Now, don’t forget about that trigger warning. If you are feeling vulnerable today, please do NOT read this.)
It started off nice enough…
“Have you been trying to conceive for years? Or did your doctor tell you that there’s no way for you and your husband to have a child? Well, I’m here to tell you that there is still a chance of conceiving your own child. Here at [email to miracle cure], you will find your answers.”
Even though I received this message five years into accepting our childlessness, it still caused a physical reaction in me when I initially read it. My heart beat faster, I got nervous, anxious… I thought about deleting the comment and going about my beautiful Saturday. But then, I thought about my fellow childless not by choice community and the fact that I encourage you to speak up for yourselves. So, I decided that I would practice what I preach and try to have an intelligent conversation with this person.
So, I responded…
My husband and I have severe infertility. We have not used birth control in over 15 years and have never gotten pregnant, despite 7 rounds of infertility treatments. I am currently peri-menopausal at age 41. I can assure you that there is no “remedy” to our infertility. We are childless not by choice, have accepted that, and our thriving in our Plan B. While I completely support the need to pursue whatever options one feels led towards building their family, I do not want to give false hope. The reality is that approximately 75% of IVF treatments fail. Plus, infertility is a medial condition, not cured by meds, food, essential oils, acupuncture, yoga, etc. We found our answers in letting go and accepting the what is. We are infertile. We are 1 in 8.
Feeling that I had clearly explained the reasons behind our childlessness and shown that I was content with my life, I thought the person would either not respond or tell me that she understood and appreciated my honesty.
I was wrong.
Then, she tried another angle…
The next statement I received was, “I bet you haven’t tried everything.” She went on to tell me more about the “miracle cure” that supposedly worked for her and ended with “You are not hopeless.”
Well, that response was disappointing.
So, I tried again to educate…
Still hoping to educate, I tried again…
I assume you have not read any of my blogs. Because they show that I am far from hopeless and understand God’s plan for my life. Getting pregnant is not the only way to build a family. Before commenting again, I ask that you read a bit of my story, get to know me… My journey has been complex and beautiful. I am childless, but not childfree. And I know exactly who I am in Jesus.
Surely that response would work. I was more direct about who I am, plus I let her know that she can learn more about my story on my site. After reading some blogs, there’s no way she’ll keep pushing this “miracle cure” on me.
I was wrong.
So, she tried to appeal to my spiritual side…
She responded, “Trust me, I tried it. God has a plan for you and that plan is for you to be a mother.”
Are you freaking kidding me?! This lady is starting to get on my nerves. Let me try this again…
So, I tried to shut her down…
Obviously, you commented again without reading any of my story. There are different ways to be a mom. You don’t have to get pregnant. Again, I am fully confident that I am living the life God has planned for me. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt that your original comment was meant to help. At this point, however, your comments are becoming hurtful. I am not interested in your “remedy.”
Okay. That should shut her down. I was very specific. I don’t want her help.
She responded… Again.
“Let’s chat privately.”
To which I said, “No, thank you.”
To which she said, “It’s unlike you to give up easily.”
Okay, lady. Now, I’m really getting angry with you! So, I said….
“Respectfully, please stop commenting on my account.”
And she commented again. But it was so rude that I will not share it here.
And finally, I stopped engaging.
And I stopped engaging, realizing that it did not matter what I said. This person wanted me to buy the “miracle cure” and wasn’t going to stop harassing me until I either purchased it or stopped engaging in the conversation. So, I stopped engaging.
Now, she did private message me, so I blocked her. And I deleted all her comments from my Insta page. A couple other people messaged me, as well. I did not even try to have an intelligent conversation with them. I simply blocked them and moved on.
Why did I share triggers from a troll?
Why do I share this with you? Something that is difficult to read and contains so many triggers? Because I want to show openly, honestly, and in its rawest form what we childless not by choice have to deal with… The rude, inconsiderate, unsolicited advice and comments that are thrown at us…
You don’t have to be a troll to cause triggers…
For those outside our tribe, you might be thinking that you would never be so harsh with the childless. Well, although you might not continue to hound the person like this troll did, remember that the negative, physical reaction in me was triggered by the very first message. The message that had a pleasant tone and was simply offered as help.
So, when you suggest the childless drink more milk (seriously a piece of advice given to fellow childless not by choice warrior), do IVF, try acupuncture, drink some wine (to relax, of course), or whatever “helpful” miracle cure you have… Well, the childless will probably look at you and smile and try to explain… The childless will try to hide that their heart is pounding, their palms are sweating, their chest is aching… Your simple piece of advice has triggered them and depending on where they are in their journey, it has the potential to cause a BIG wobble… When she politely excuses herself, it may be to go to the restroom and cry because she feels so isolated and misunderstood.
A Not So Mommy… community member put it best…
“Most people feel like they need to fix our situation and offer suggestions. But they proceed to do this even when I have explained that we are trying to move on and find peace with our lives. I feel like people don’t respect our decision to stop trying…”
So, respectfully, please stop offering your miracle cure. Please, stop trying to fix my childlessness.
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Part 2, “Not So Helpful Jokes” will begin next Wed, 29 Aug.
Featured Photo: Remy_Loz on StockSnap.io