“You never know…”

Infertility You Never Know

Having received an amazing response from my “Why Don’t You Just Adopt?” post, I’ve decided to write in more detail about the things listed in my “What Not To Say To A Woman Suffering With Infertility” post. Initially I only skimmed over them briefly and somewhat sarcastically, mostly because I think some of them were still raw and painful. I’ve since realised though that they all need proper acknowledgement. While these may be the first sentences that come to peoples minds as a way of support, the reality is that they hurt and they aren’t okay to say. My aim here is to educate people who have never experienced infertility and help them understand what is and isn’t okay to say, but I also want those struggling with infertility to feel less alone. I want them to be able to read this and see that there are people out there who are told the same things they are, and that they aren’t overreacting when they get upset over something that’s been said.

I’ve found that one of the sentences Mitch and I hear most frequently after telling someone about my infertility is “well, you never know…” Now we know that this is meant with good intentions, it’s meant to give us hope and positivity, it’s meant to give us something to strive for. We know that we really do. Unfortunately all it really does is make us angry, upset, and leaves us feeling like we haven’t been listened to.

You see the thing is we do know, and unfortunately for us it just isn’t going to happen, not naturally anyway. My periods stopped completely when I was 18 years old, since then I have undergone five years of extensive testing. Five. I’ve had internal and external examinations , been poked and prodded within an inch of my life, and had more blood taken than you could ever imagine. The results of these tests? PCOS, Amenorrhea, and Chronic Anovulation, meaning the chances of conceiving without medical assistance are 0.001%.

We appreciate that you’re trying to make us feel better, or just have no idea what else to say, but please refrain from saying “you never know, it could happen!” In those moments we’d much rather that you just said “I’m sorry to hear that” or just said nothing at all. It’s nothing personal and we really aren’t trying to be rude if we stand there in silence looking like we may cry, we honestly aren’t. It’s just that we’re already trying to deal with devastating effects of infertility without being told to hold on to hope that isn’t there. It just takes us right back to square one and we have to start processing all over again, something we fight so hard daily to move forward from.

Under no circumstances do I want this post to come across as rude, ungrateful, or snappy. I just need to get across how hurtful hearing those words can be. I’m constantly fighting a battle with my body every day, while feeling like a failure of a woman and that’s soul destroying. Mitch is constantly having to deal with something that effects his whole life and isn’t his fault, and how he does that I’ll never know. Some days I can barely look at myself in the mirror because I feel so ashamed of myself, so how he manages to look at me with the same love and respect he always has is a mystery to me.

There is nothing I would love more, than to believe that one day a “miracle” could happen. That all the GP’s, Endocrinologists, and Gynaecologists are wrong and that I can have a baby with no problem at all, but I know if I think like that I’m only going to destroy myself and fall apart when it doesn’t happen, and it’ll destroy Mitch too. It takes every ounce of strength I have to accept my diagnosis and not break down every single day, it’s hard and exhausting but I manage it because I know I’m strong and I need to keep going. I know from the bottom of my heart that your words aren’t meant with cruel intentions and that most people would never dream of upsetting me or Mitch on purpose, and would probably be mortified at the idea that something they’d said had caused so much upset. It’s just the words “you never know” causes false hope while also painfully reminding us that it’s just not going to happen for us.

As much as I hate to say it, there is no “you never know” there is only the knowledge that, yes I do know and sadly it’s not the outcome Mitch and myself would like.

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18 thoughts on ““You never know…”

  1. The EcoFeminist says:

    Well put, again! Yes I got in a near online fistfight with a lady who did a really ignorant post very much related to the “you never know” philosophy, who had never been through the process herself yet insisted that she was giving up people optimism by saying things like never give up and you never know… Even though I told her as someone who’d been through it that a lot of people don’t want to hear it because you’re telling them that you know better than they do about their situation and that it’s not okay to end the journey. Everyone seems to have a story about someone they know, and therefore that makes them the expert and think they have the right to tell you crap like “you never know”. Ugh, condescension! Thanks for calling out the idiocy 🙂

    Like

    • Ellan Dyson says:

      You’re welcome. I’ll be calling out a lot more idiotic comments in the next few weeks too. It’s usually the look of confusion or the baffled “I was only trying to help” that gets me. I know they were only trying to help but there’s helping and then there’s just offending me and not listening to a word I’ve just said. “Oh well you never know” well no actually I do and I’ve just spent twenty minutes explaining why I do know but thank you, you saying “you never know” has magically cured me. Unfortunately people that haven’t been through it are never going to get it

      Liked by 2 people

  2. jeweldyson says:

    The one that always got to me was “Have you prayed and specifically asked God?”
    My response is usually silence, when in actuality I want to scream “Are you Freaking SERIOUS?!?!?”
    it’s true “you never know”, but it should be us telling them “YOU don’t know”, because unless they have been personally involved with infertility, they really don’t know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ellan Dyson says:

      Sorry Jewel I’ve just realised I hadn’t replied to this! I know exactly what you mean. The amount of times I’ve wanted to grab someone and scream “YOU HAVE NO IDEA!” at them but have really had to restrain myself haha

      Like

    • Ellan Dyson says:

      Thank you! I hope that people find this helpful too. Words are so easily spoken, but can hurt someone more than we realise. People shouldn’t feel like they can’t tell someone that their words have hurt them over fear of the other person getting upset

      Like

  3. Sze Kim Leong says:

    I been enlighted with your post. . “You never know”, it can be mean so much to someone in pain.
    Nevertheless, I would we should always consider other feeling while talk something. Always try to put your foot into other shoe,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ellan Dyson says:

      Thank you. Being mindful is one of the most important things, I think for me it’s because I wouldn’t dream of saying something like that to someone because I know of the negative repercussions it can have. Unfortunately some people don’t realise how much their words can hurt, no matter how well intended they may be

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Davide Mana says:

    The callousness of people expressing wild opinions about other people’s lives always surprises me. Thank you for this post, it’s time to start answering back to these all-knowing, maybe-well-meaning but zero-empathy individuals.

    Like

    • Ellan Dyson says:

      You’re completely right David, and that’s exactly why I wanted to write this. I didn’t want to seem rude, just wanted to inform. I think we’re all probably guilty of saying things with good intentions but actually upsetting the listener, but we all need to be more mindful. We shouldn’t feel like we can’t stop someone and politely say “actually that’s hurtful, but I know you meant it with good intentions”

      Liked by 1 person

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