Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Nothing Owed

Thanksgiving was hard.

Our parents came to visit for a few days to celebrate the holiday with us. Keep in mind that they don't know we are TTC or that we have been doing treaments. Over the years, it has become clear that they have decided that we just don't want kids. They no longer press us about grandchildren, but the subject does come up in their conversations. Not so much that they want grandkids, more the acknowledgement that there won't be any. They don't even say anything to us directly, they just mention it between them in our hearing. So there was that.

And then there was a phone call that I overheard. I don't know if my Dad even knew I could hear him from the other room. The comment I heard was:

"He said, 'Doesn't she know she OWES you a grandchild?" And I said 'She doesn't OWE me ANYTHING... that's bullshit!'" Blah, blah, blah... at which point I kind of wanted to vomit. I was so proud of my Dad, even through the red haze of outrage that he was having to field those kinds of comments. Better him than me I suppose.

I laid in bed for hours that night, with those words running round and round through my head. The arrogance and ignorance behind them is appalling. I am still incredibly angry. I don't know who said that to him, and I won't ask. If it was a close friend or family member, I prefer not to destroy my relationship with them over that knowledge. BUT. God forbid they use those words in my presence, I will not be held responsible for my reaction and it will not be pretty.

If someone were to (or has) said this to you, how would (did) you respond? How did you wish you had responded?


  1. Just curious, by why aren't you telling your parents that you are TTC and need doctors to help? Having my parents know what was going on (to different extents) helped them be more compassionate towards us during the process.

  2. Your dad is awesome. Feel free to tell him I said so. ;)

    I've never had anyone say that I owed my parents a grandchild (not to my knowledge, anyway), and I'm honestly not sure how I would react to that. I'd likely be too stunned and hurt to say anything. Or I'd burst into tears.

    However, I have had relatives make insensitive comments to other family members that I know have struggled with infertility, and I'm not shy about telling them to smarten up. One of my cousins has only one child. Everyone in the family assumes it's because she didn't want more children and they judge her because of it, thinking that she was selfish and cruel to not give her son a sibling. I'm probably one of the few family members who knows that she and her husband tried for years to have another child but were unsuccessful, so they just gave up. One of my uncles told her that she should have had more children. She said nothing, but I couldn't let it pass. I told him that he needs to realize that sometimes it isn't a choice and he should think carefully before he says things like that.

  3. I'm a person who can be quite blunt. If some close relative said that to me I'd probably tell them to fork over the cash and I'll try on their money. If it fails then they can pay for my therapy after I gave it my all. Until they pay though they have no right to tell me to try even if I am currently doing so.

  4. Both my husband and I have chosen to be open with our parents about our struggles to conceive from the very beginning. Knowing we have their support and love has helped to make this whole process even a little easier. Letting loved ones "in" and allowing them to be there for you can make a tremendous difference. I understand, however, that full disclosure is not right for everyone and some prefer to keep it private, and that's OK. You have to do what's right for you.

    I have had family members say some pretty insensitive things to me, but thankfully nothing THAT horrible. If I heard that I dunno what I'd do, but I would be livid for sure!

  5. I want to give your dad a hug. And you too. I respect that you don't want to tell them and that these decisions are SO complex, but I wish you could, just to have someone else in your corner... sounds like he has the potential to be a good advocate.
    As to how I respond to these sorts of things myself, I usually am too stunned to reply, but I have great comebacks... hours later when everyone is gone :)

  6. My father loves to tell me about people who say things like this to him and how he "defends" me.

    1. I wish he wouldn't tell me about it.

    2. I resent that he has to "defend" me to stupid, insensitive people.

    When my dad does tell me about it, I basically tell him to forward a message from me: keep your conversations away from the subject of my crotch please.

  7. I think if you told your parents you would feel better. But I guess that is me saying that and that is based on my own need to not have it bottled up. but your parents sound wonderful and sometimes a girl just needs her mum.

  8. That was a wonderful thing your dad did. We told our parents a few months ago and they would flip if someone ever said something like that to them. Our parents have told people who keep asking us questions to stop being so pushy and maybe they don't want kids right now just to shut them up. It worked. It is an amazing weight off your shoulders and mind when you tell people.

  9. I am so sorry sweetie, frankly having kids to make someone a grandparent is a really bad reason to do so. I am always thinking of you and sending you lots of love

  10. I don't think it's my place to urge you to tell your parents, but like Jem, I've found the support of my parents - particularly my mother - crucial for survival. This is especially the case when it comes to other, insensitive family members. I've found that in most cases, I don't have to speak up. Because I have an advocate who can do it for me.

    Sending hugs. Dealing with family interactions on top of everything else is unbearable. I know.

  11. What a hideous thing for someone to say. Your dad's response was great. I'm glad you have him in your corner.

  12. Your dad is cool.
    I'm so sorry people are ignorant assholes.

  13. I'll cut a bitch. (Not really, but you know.)

  14. Hi - I'm new to your blog and I'm really glad I've found it. I looked through many of your posts and can't believe how many cycles you've gone through, wondering if anything good was going to come out of it. I really feel for you. I am just at the beginning of my journey, about to start my first round of Clomid. I still have so much hope, but yet a nagging feeling that things might not work.

    I have told my parents about my journey, but I have not told my in-laws. I just can't bring myself to do it. It doesn't come up easily in normal conversation, and I don't want to get that pity look. So I totally understand where you're coming from. I think you have to do what feels right for you - and if that means keeping quiet, then do it. If you feel like screaming to the world that you are having fertility problems (that's me right now) then maybe try telling them. But only do what feels comfortable.

    As I'm at the beginning of my fertility-treatment saga, I'm also a bit of a newbie on my own blog. I find posting about my issues relieving, but then slightly uncomfortable - does the world really want to know about this? Anyway, I'd love some feedback on my blog, as well as any tips you've had in sharing yours with the outside world. I'll definitely follow your journey, and good luck to you.