Thursday, 27 September 2012

Some things Filipinos say to their Fertility-challenged friends and family

OR:  What NOT to say to your fertility-challenged friends and relatives if you value their friendship
So you have stopped going to gatherings - parties, weekly family lunches, school reunions. You especially avoid baptismal parties. That's when nosey, er, well-meaning relatives, friends and neighbours ask when you're going to have a baby. You use to enjoy going to fiestas...especially when your cousin set up the karaoke. You used to be the centre of attention as you belt "Dancing Queen" and show them your killer dance moves. But then the Spanish inquisition always happens. When is a baby coming? What's taking you so long? Do you know how to make a baby? Is your husband shooting blanks? What's wrong with you? Maybe you would like to switch your song from "Dancing Queen" to "Killing Me Softly"?

You tell these well-meaning relatives, friends and neighbours that some couples have infertility issues. That's when clichés start pouring in. You’re tired of not knowing what to say when people say these things --supposedly to make you feel better. You bear and grin it, of course. You're so diplomatic; you should have been in the UN! You continue to be polite and nice even if a remark has pushed our touchy, infertile button. Or you stay home and avoid meeting people.

So you don’t have to hide from people forever, here are some suggestions in responding to other people’s useless well-intentioned platitudes.
(Note: if you are like me and have a problem sounding undiplomatic, use these responses as an inner monologue. For example, if my cousin says "when are going to have a baby?" I answer "soon" but I think "it's none of your business.")

It will come. I just know it.
                Really? Wow! Have you been recently appointed as a modern-
                day prophet?
Relax. You’ll get pregnant if you’ll just reeee-lax!

               I tried relaxing but my fallopian tubes are still blocked. Know any spa that can unblock my tubes?
In the end, it will be okay.
How do you know? Granted, in the end, everything will be okay. However, it’s not “the end” yet. It’s NOW. And right now, I AM not okay.
You’re lucky you don’t have any children. They’re just headaches.
Why do you have 13 children then? You must love headaches!
Don’t be angry/sad/disappointed. (Don’t feel the way you feel right now.)
Why not? Don’t I have the right to my feelings just as you have the right to be utterly confused listening to me? I can see how it’s difficult for you to understand how I feel right now because you haven’t experienced what I’m going through right now.
As a saying goes: “Don’t expect anyone to understand your journey especially of they have never walked your path.”
Everything happens for a reason.
Yeah, maybe. But I don’t need for you to explain or rationalize things to me right at this very moment. I don’t need it. I don’t want it.
Do a headstand after sex.
Been there, done that. In fact, I have danced the fertility jig in my backyard in my birthday suit at midnight when the moon was full. All I got were nasty mosquito bites and the lingering mephitic smell from the skunk that scared the bejesus out of me!
Have you prayed the 9-day novena to the fertility saint?
Sure, I did that. I have also lighted countless of vigil candles in the span of the 2 years I have been trying to conceive that frankly if I lighted them all at one time, I would have set a church on fire. And yes, I have offered eggs to the Carmelite nuns. Because everyone else continually offers eggs to the poor nuns for prayer requests, I won’t be surprised if the nuns will start having heart attacks due to a dramatic increase of their cholesterol levels!
(And one of my “favorites”….)
It’s God’s will. Just accept it.
Okay, for example you get stranded in Caramoan Islands by yourself – WITHOUT the whole crew of the reality TV-series Survivor. Will you just sit in the pristine beach the whole time, gnaw on your nails and wait for Jeff Probst to rescue you? Hell, no. You’re going to look for food and water, find coconut palm trees with which to make a shelter, start a fire by rubbing some bits of bamboo trunk (unless you’d like to eat that wild chicken you chased for an hour raw), search for twigs and branches to keep the fire going, etc, etc, etc. It maybe God’s will that you are in a deserted island BUT is it His (or Her) will that you die?       

So will I able to accept it if because of my fertility problems, I won’t have a child? Eventually, yes. Of course, I can accept that. But not without trying first. Not without trying my darndest best.
Accepting God’s will, sure. But God gifted me my own will, too.
Besides, when I was a little girl, I was taught to “do my best and God will do the rest."

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