Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A 'fession

I want to make a confession-

Several years ago, when I was working and  a client came seeing me for depression and grief. She also was struggling with infertility issues, and wondering if she'd ever get pregnant.

I said "what's wrong with adoption?  Why don't you adopt?"  


I didn't realize how harmful that was to the client.

The client had shut down on me.    I was wondering why.

It was only after I started seeing doctors in and out, about the tumor in my uterus, looking into surrogacy and adoption as throwing ideas around as back-up plans (privately), and then I encountered people telling me "go adopt, what's wrong with adoption?"

That's when I realized the mega-message under that statement "why don't you just adopt?"

In other words, I was telling the client that she is a failure for not having the capability to carry a baby.  I also was implying that she is giving up too easily about adoption when I did not realize the complications about adoption (both international and national).  


Sometimes I think about this person, and if I had another chance to see her, I'd tell her

"I am sorry.  I did not understand what it is for you to live through this."  


  1. (((HUGE HUGS)))

    We all make mistakes and we all have said/written the wrong things. I hope that by learning to forgive ourselves, we learn to forgive others more easily, too. There are so many things that I didn't know before I became an IFer, but the bottom line is that we're learning to be more sympathetic and empathetic day by day. :-) One step at a time. :-)

    1. And it's funny how we had just talked about forgiveness on your blog. Like I said on your post, I need to work on this to forgive myself- which is harder. It seems to me, easier to forgive other folks, but not myself.

      Sometimes I like to think that IF helps us become more connected to the world, becoming aware of layers of emotions and dynamics of society, especially their perceptions toward IF community and unrealistic expectations for women (motherhood.) Sometimes I like to think that we have gotten a gift that not many could acquire unless we lose something first- somewhat like shamans- they had to go through severe trauma or near-death experience before they'd become capable of being there for their communities, with healing, praying and keeping everything connected from oldest crone to day-old child in a circle of life. I know I'm a bit kooky this way, but that's what is helping comfort me sometimes.

    2. Yeah, I know! What a coincidence! :-D I think sometimes it's easier for me to forgive others, sometimes it's easier for me to forgive myself.

      I actually agree with your second paragraph in your reply to my comment. That's indeed a gift - provided that we use it to our benefit and the benefit of the people around me. And I think it's a good/important way to comfort yourself. :-D I do that, too. :-D

  2. dear Wolfers,
    can you believe - I did exactly the same terrible mistake.
    When I was 30 (freshly inlove, just starting a relationship, absolutely clueless about future infertility problems) I asked a coworker (then 37): "Why don't you adopt?"
    (she was just after failed 2nd IVF cylce).

    My question made her sad. I was completely clueless then.

    (luckily, she did get twins when 39).

    What infertility tought me is to be extra careful with words, in all situations.

    I guess when I met this old me, aged 30, I wouldn't perticularly like her. She was too chatty, to happy, not mature at all...

    1. It sure help me realize that I'm not only one who had the same presumptions, of the world being 'all fine'- It's easier, I notice, to try to fix, to advise, etc...sometimes folks want to be listened, not advised to death- Ditto for you and me- When thinking about my self at 30, I was too afraid, always apologizing, jumping at shadows. A lot of things had changed by then...

  3. I think before we have walked the road many of us have uttered the same word and feel that we have made the same mistake. I think it is time to forgive yourself, as hard as it is, even a little bit.
    Just like Klara, we both know now that infertility has taught us to choose words more carefully.

  4. I coworker of mine accidentally got pregnant and wasn't sure what she was going to do. She then miscarried and I said to her it was a "blessing in disguise". She said all she wanted to do was to be pregnant again. About 2 months later she was. I asked her why she would "go out" and get pregnant again knowing how uncertain she was before her miscarriage. And she said the pain of her miscarriage was too much to take...I couldn't understand...I do now!! And trust me my miscarriages weren't blessings in disguise!


    I think completely different now!

  5. What Amel said (way better than I could ever say).


  6. Oh, I have made the same mistake myself! Upon finding out that my friend had fairly severe PCOS and that it would make it very hard for her to get pregnant (the doctor going as far to tell her - "the sooner you start trying the better" and she was only 25 at this time), my response was 'well, you can always adopt!" As if I somehow cured her sadness about maybe not being able to have natural children. (she by the way, has had one child. we are no longer friends for completely unrelated reasons).

    Anyway, it happens to us all. We say it because we want to cheer the person up. To make them feel like they do have options still. That they can become a parent some how. But, as we know now the hard way that this isn't what most people want to hear.

    So. Don't be too hard on yourself about it. It happens to us all.