news item: “12 Things You Should Never Ask a Woman”

This news item brought to you once again by “Things SRB Sees on Twitter, Somehow!” Meaning, I don’t follow Huffington Post*, but someone retweeted it. I clicked on it. I read it. I laughed. I nodded. And now, I report!

When I first found the ALI community on the, I found a lot of “Top Ten Things to NEVER Say to Someone Struggling with IF!” Some were funny, and some were…harsh. Depends on the author, depends on the reader. And while I can totally relate to some of the more strongly worded lists, I have always gotten a kick out of IF humour. It is important to laugh, you know, so that you don’t cry. You dig?

I haven’t read a list like that in a while. Reading this list brought up those old memories, and served as a reminder of how far I’ve come (and how far I have to go) about the degree to which some of these questions bother me. Right now, I am in the extremely fortunate position to be pissy when someone says to “Congratulations! Was it planned?” Um, gross.

In her list/article, Erica Berman describes the “12 Things You Should Never Ask a Woman” and why. Here are some of personal “favourites” that I have encountered over the years:

3. Never tell a woman that she miscarried because it wasn’t meant to be.

4. Never tell a woman who has miscarried not to worry, she’ll get pregnant again. Instead, try I’m sorry for your loss, or I’m sorry, please let me know what I can do to help.

5. Never tell a woman who has miscarried that next time she’ll just have to: drink less coffee, worry less, exercise less, eat better, etc. etc. Miscarriages are rarely caused by controllable factors, and making her feel like it’s her fault is a disgraceful thing to do.

Yeah. I think these go without saying. See also: “AT LEAST YOU CAN GET PREGNANT!!!” or “It wasn’t a real baby anyway” or “There was probably something wrong with it”

7. Never ask a woman with one child when she plans to have another child. Same as above. None of your business. Just because she has a child does not mean she is not struggling to get pregnant again. Secondary infertility is extremely common and just as devastating. This also means that it is not helpful to tell someone facing secondary infertility that she should be grateful that she already has a child or children. Most people have an idea in their head of what they want their family to look like, and if they are not able to create this family, they experience significant distress, even if they already have a child or children.

There is nothing in this statement that I do not agree with 100%. I wrote about this myself recently.

And finally:

10. Never assume what a woman dealing with miscarriage or infertility wants or needs. Come out and ask her if she wants to talk about it. Avoiding the issue may make some women feel worse while others may not feel like discussing it. Just ask!

Yes. Just ask. And keep asking. And might I add, never assume that you know what another IFer is feeling or needs. You can understand, but you can never assume you know. Just ask. And keep asking.

So, I just blew half the list for you, but I am curious to know what you think.

This list has a focus on fertility/infertility/miscarriage. Did Berman miss any? Did she miss the mark?

What is your experience with one or more of these statements? How did you handle it?

What about non-IF issues? What should you NEVER ask a woman?

*I am not a regular reader of the site, nor do I know much about the author and how she covers infertility issues. This is quite likely my first exposure to her, but I will be poking around the archives to get a better sense of the type of coverage she produces. Call it a mix of personal and professional interest.

july 2012 – monthly theme posts – family building

Here are the entries from your fellow PAIL Bloggers for the July monthly theme post. These posts run the gamut, from excitement to fear, from confidence to reluctance, and from lacing back up to being done the race. We thank you all so much for sharing your thoughts on this complex topic with us. We know it isn’t easy.

Visit and comment at your leisure! (This post will stay on the main page for a week and then be moved to the drop down menu in the pink toolbar in case you missed anything or want to come back for more!)

Suggested prompts:

  • Have you completed your family building or are you considering trying to add another child to your family?
  • What does your “complete” family look like? Has this changed along your ALI journey?
  • Do you think there is such a thing as “optimal” child-spacing? What do you think this is, and what do you base it on?
  • Are you factoring in how far apart your children would be in your decision to start trying again? How so?
  • If you are planning to add to your family, what considerations must you take into account (i.e. beginning treatment again, pursuing adoption again, finances, etc.)
  • Knowing what you know now, what are your emotional considerations in trying for a second (or third, or fourth, etc.)? This is a very large and difficult question, and may have a variety of answers within the same individual.

Contributing bloggers:

  1. Coco over at Fruit Snacks and Freezer Jam feels the clock ticking and gives us her thoughts on fairly tales, special effects, and trying to have more children in her post this month.
  2. Julia from 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby  talks about how her plans for another baby are complicated because of the peace and stability of her household, but is torn because of her undefinable desire to have another in her post “Are you going to give Ethan a brother?”
  3. Traathy at They All Lived has this to say:  “Oh hellllll no”
  4. Sarah of Mommyhood After Fertility Frustration gives us insight into how the “…parents of a miracle IVF baby decide to move forward with treatment to give their miracle a sibling or 2 or 3...” in her post.
  5. Kalyn from The Kasun Family describes how her childhood and family structure has impacted her considerations on family building.
  6. Geek of Baby and the Geeks doubts she’ll want to go through the process of baby making again after she’s lost all control of her baby’s impending birth and the plans for it, as outlined in her post “Control“.
  7. Heather at The Road Less Traveled tell us in her post that “Being a mom is what I was meant to do. I am cautious, but still excited about trying for #2 and having 2 babies under 2.”
  8. AS (aka Mira’s Mama) writes about feeling peace with being a family of three and trying to put away old, irrational fears about having an only child.
  9. Kerri (aka uncommonnonsense1) of Uncommon Nonsense asks an important question in her post, Birth Control? Really? Do infertiles have the luxury of child spacing and family planning?
  10. Kacey from Recipe for a Baby is wondering what comes next: Our Family Building journey with FET.
  11. AL over at Mission: Motherhood submitted another thoughtful post on further consideration on family building. Also be sure to check out her PAIL featured post “gun shy” about her conflicting emotions surrounding the process.
  12. Gemini Momma from Three Geminis and a Sagittarius details her thoughts on adding to a family when you already have twins after infertility (“You’ve Lost Your Ever Lovin’ Mind” she says.) And on worrying in pregnancy, wishing for do-overs and requesting time machines.
  13. Erin of Dreaming of Babies says in her theme post that they would love to add to our family, but various factors may prevent that from happening.
  14. Ashley over at Traditionally Nontraditional tells that she is “…adding to our family sooner rather than later and doing it not only for The Hubbs and I but for Jackson” in her submission.
  15. Courtney from All the Sun For You says that “…with an ambivalent heart, it’s time for us to just jump in and try our IVF luck again to give our son a much needed little friend” in her post “Considering Our Family“.
  16. Angela from Three is a Magic Number describes her post as “Our emotional journey from successfully having a baby and no way in hell are we doing that again, to well… maybe, to JUST KIDDING.” (Note: password = PAIL)
  17. Josey of My Cheap Version of Therapy says that though she is “…infinitely happy with one child, part of me would still love to give Stella a sibling. Will my body work on its own this time? Will we use ART? Adoption? Nothing? Who knows…
  18. Stephanie at Blawnde’s Blog shares her thoughts on adding another baby to their family, and how TTC is different this time around in her theme post.
  19. SRB from Little Chicken Nugget frames her considerations on family building in three acts, with an unexpected plot twist in her post “adding an ‘s’“.
  20. We received  a comment from reader “A.” on the callout post that I encourage you to read. A. does not have a blog, but had some thoughts to share with us, so feel free to use that comment thread if you would like to respond to her.
  21. Artistmouse and her husband are flip-flopping on whether to try for baby #2.
  22. No Baby Ruth says “Call me naive if you must, but we’ll get #2 (and maybe #3?) some day” in her post “One Plus One Doesn’t Always Equal Two“.
  23. L from Life with L and J struggles to know when the time is right to try for #2 after conceiving their son through IUI.
  24. Mrs. Gamgee shares her reasoning behind taking permanent measures to prevent future pregnancies with us in her post “The Future of the Gamgee Clan“.
  25. Christina at According To C says that with just a couple of weeks to go before having their first baby, they’re already thinking about having a second!
  26. Julie Anita from The Adventures of Chicken and Ham is struggling with deciding whether to bet on, or against her fertility when deciding how soon to start TTC #3 in her post “More Babies Come Tumbling Down the Conveyor Belt.”
  27. Miss Mac from MAC and PC tells us why her family feels complete in her submission.
  28. Missy at My Scarlet Baby talks about redefining her blogging, considerations on adopting a second child, and wanting to close the chapter on family building.
  29. Esperanza of Stumbling Gracefully shares her thoughts with us in The Long Road to Now(here).
  30. Sunnymama (new to the blogroll!) has written about coming to terms with most likely not being able to give her son a sibling. Pop on over to lend your ear and say hello.
  31. MomPharmD wrote about the surprise early pregnancy that might just end the “when are you having another?” queries, and how scary that remains after three losses.
  32. Buck Up, Buttercup write answered a Q&A about her family building plans in “Baby Number Three?
  33. missohkay discusses fear, RPL and a second adoption in her post “Fear is the path to dark side“, featuring Star Wars references and the colour orange.
  34. Bethany at Cloudy with a Chance of Infertility gives us her thoughts with a 9 week old.


Did we forget you? Do you have a post you still want to share? Let us know in the comments below or contact us!

Do you have an idea for a future theme post topic? Let us know that too in the open thread!


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