Five years ago this week, I was diagnosed with MRKH syndrome. Essentially it means I was born without a uterus, so I can't have children naturally. Some days I'm okay with it, and some days I'm not. Finding out you can't have children years before I would even consider having any has been the longest and toughest emotional roller coaster I have ever experienced.
MRKH only affects about 1 in 5,000 women in the US , so it can sometimes feel lonely and isolating. People will say things that they think are comforting, and while they do mean well, sometimes their words can hurt more than they help. This doesn't just apply to MRKH syndrome. It applies to anyone who is unable to have children.
People say things they think will make the person feel better or in some cases, provide a solution, but most of the time they just make the wound even deeper. Here are some things you definitely shouldn't say to somebody who is struggling with infertility.
1. "You can just adopt."
No, I can't JUST adopt. Adoption is a complicated process in many respects that can take years. It's not that simple.
2. "At least you get to keep your figure."
Please. I would gladly take your stretch marks and baby fat if it meant I could experience pregnancy.
3. "You don't have to worry about [insert pregnancy symptom here]."
Again. Morning sickness, swollen ankles, backaches. Many women would take that over being childless any day.
4. "Why can't you?"
While my goal is to be open and spread awareness about MRKH syndrome, this is an extremely personal question and a violation of privacy.
5. "Have you tried [insert fertility treatment here]?"
Chances are, someone with infertility has tried every treatment in the book. This isn't your place to give advice.
6. "Just relax. It will happen."
Even if you know the cause of a person's infertility struggle, it's best to hold off on giving any type of advice unless you're asked directly.