Here come the comments
Mary Douglas is a mom who gave birth to her child then had secondary infertility, including numerous miscarriages. She's heard all the stupid comments, including her personal favorite -- "Well, at least you have one baby." Her response?
"What? Hold the phone! At least I have one baby? So, just because I have one doesn't mean I don't want another one," she says. "I say to my friends who have multiple children that it wasn't something I could just stop wanting. It made me want it more. Going through infertility and multiple pregnancy losses is the worst thing I have ever experienced. It's hard on a marriage, it makes you feel like a failure -- even though I know I can't control this and it's not my fault. It's somewhat embarrassing and it's just physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. Would my husband and I put ourselves through that if we didn't desperately want another one?"
Advice for friends and family who may not know the right things to say
Your friends are probably not intentionally trying to say stupid things. Chances are they may not even know exactly what secondary infertility means.
Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, explains, "Talking about infertility can make a lot of people feel self-conscious and tongue-tied. It's important to understand that infertility is a disease that can't be relaxed away. Be compassionate, be thoughtful and learn about infertility as you support your loved one who is going through it. The best advice -- listen. Don't judge, don't try and fix it, and don't tell them about the person you saw on TV who drank a special shake every day and got pregnant. This type of comment is not helpful advice to the person going through the emotional turmoil of infertility. Tell them you care and you are there for them. Ask them how you can help. And just be there. Sometimes that is all someone needs -- knowing they are not alone."
Douglas adds, "To those who don't know the right thing to say -- it's okay. Just be there to listen or just to say, 'I am sorry, please let me know what I can do.' Everyone handles it differently. I felt like I was falling apart at the seams but everyone around me kept commending me on how strong and tough I was. It's a very personal and unique journey, for sure."
There is hope
Douglas says, "Don't ever give up. Get a second opinion. Go to another doctor -- a specialist. That's what I did and it was the best decision I ever made. If we had given up, I would never be pregnant with #2! It was a long road, but we got the answers we needed and I'm so thankful for amazing doctors along the way."