Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Words From the Groovy and Wise

What follows is a post from Groovy Aunt's blog: Mamainwaiting. She wrote it last night -- so it's hot off the blog press, if you will. Smartmom knew she was thinking about doing it. The inspiration came when the two sisters were running in Prospect Park on Saturday morning. At that point, the working title was: "Just Shut Up." Smartmom loved that but understands why she changed it to the more gentle and user-friendly: Don't Say Anything.

Smartmom thinks that Groovy Aunt's words convey a great deal about the hurt that is inflicted when friends and family, in an effort to be helpful, say the darndest things. Even Smartmom has been guilty of one or more of these inconsiderate statements. Groovy Aunt definitely "gets" that people are well-meaning but sometimes they just don't "get it." Thank you Groovy Aunt for telling it like it is and making us understand how difficult this process has been.

Don't Say Anything
by Groovy Aunt

It has become clear to me as I've struggled through infertility and the process of adoption, that on the whole, people tend to say the wrong thing. Yes, intentions are well and good but people usually say something irritating and irksome. That's why I've compiled a list of things NOT TO SAY:

If someone is telling you about their difficulty getting pregnant, don't tell them to relax or take a vacation with their spouse.

If it is obvious that a couple is struggling with infertility don't tell them that you just look at your wife and she gets pregnant.

Don't say anything.

Don't tell anyone that infertility can be cured by doing yoga, taking vitamins, or eating properly. Especially, don't tell anyone to stop drinking coffee.

Don't say anything.

As I've moved into the world of adoption, there are also numerous conversational pitfalls people fall into:

Inevitably, someone will tell you that once you stop the infertility treatments, you'll get pregnant, or once you adopt, you'll miraculously get pregnant because the pressure will be off, once again suggesting that tension and anxiety are the causes of infertility.

Don't say anything.

If someone is telling you they are adopting from Russia, don't tell them how "cute" the chinese babies are.

Don't say anything.

If someone is telling you they are adopting from Russia, don't warn them about chronic diseases and F.A.S. (if you don't know the acronym, don't worry, you will if you ever decide to adopt from Russia.) Yes, these warnings are important. Nevertheless, a person about to adopt is probably going to already know about these issues - and probably stays up at night worrying about them. It is best to not say anything.

If someone is telling you that they are adopting from Russia, don't tell them how easy it was for your friend, aunt, sister, etc. to adopt from the U.S. "It was so fast and easy, I'll get you the number..."

Don't say anything.

The truth is, you can't stop people from saying whatever they want to say. Instead, you must harden yourself to deal with other people's opinions, words and innuendoes. This is true in all areas of life. Perhaps this has been a good exercise in holding onto myself and not letting other people rock mty resolve. It has certainly made me tough.

It is hard enough to hold onto one's fragile sense of hope when one is vulnerable to the opinionated chatter of others. The lesson here is to stop listening to others, and start listening to what is inside your heart.

I am adopting because I want to be a parent and to love a child. I know there are many risks but I am willing to take this great leap of faith. This requires a certain amount of bravery and a good pair of psychic ear plugs.


At 4:27 PM, Blogger mrs.kravitz said...

I have something to say to mamainwaiting.
Very Eloquent!


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