Potty Training Thoughts. And A Rant.

July 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Posted in milestones, rants | 19 Comments

First of all, thanks to all of you for the supportive comments on the potty training post.

After the dust settled, I realized that I was disheartened because I kept doing something that, in retrospect, was bound to fail. From the moment he told me on Saturday morning that he didn’t WANT to wear underwear, our experiment wasn’t going to work.

And yes, I wanted to give the weekend a good shot, I wanted to give him more chances at success. I thought maybe if he had a couple of good experiences with the potty, he’d start to get excited about mastering a new skill.

Like I am.

Yeah. Not so much.

Clearly my kid is different than me. And that’s OKAY. It’s good for me to see this in action, and understand it, and work WITH it instead of trying to bribe him to be different.

Lesson learned.

And though I do wish, a little, that I had listened to him on Saturday when he told me he didn’t want to wear underwear, I am glad that we stuck it out as long as we did.

I don’t know what’s next, but I know that yet again I’ve learned the lesson of patience. My kid has always done things on his own time. This is yet another thing he will master, and all we can do is encourage him and be patient.


We’re starting to come out and tell people that we’re done with our family building efforts; mostly since the topic of second babies comes up a lot.

And this weekend, a friend mentioned that since O was a poor sleeper as a baby, “the next baby” would be a sleeper, because that’s always how it goes.

So I told her that it was looking likely that O would be an only child, that we probably wouldn’t get to have another.

Since we’ve been out about our fertility issues, she asked about IVF. And I told her that we had tried, but it looked like we just got lucky once.

Her response?

Well, you know, you can just adopt.

Of course.

And then she went on to tell me about how a friend of hers adopted, and then got pregnant.

Because… wait for it…

The pressure was off.

[sighing deeply]

I’ve discovered over the years is that people don’t always know to say the right things.

Really, so many people MEAN well, but what comes out of their mouth doesn’t always match what I KNOW they’re thinking.

The adoption thing? Makes logical sense. Couple wants a baby but can’t have one. Another couple is pregnant with a baby that they for whatever reason can’t raise. Perfect, neat answer.

You know, except for the money and the process and the homestudy and the DECISIONS you have to make about what you’re willing to take on. And the risk of failed placement and the slow quiet wait which could last a LONG time, on top of the years you’ve already spent on treatments. Oh and did I mention the money?

And then, to say that adopting would be good because it would allow me to get pregnant because, you know, THE PRESSURE IS OFF… come on, really?

I suppose if I were able to get pregnant whenever I thought that I’d like another baby maybe I’d think that I had CONTROL over getting pregnant, too.

What pisses me off is the insinuation that our infertility is related to wanting it too much.

Not because we have a medical reason, not because we just ended up on the wrong side of statistics, but because I wanted to be pregnant entirely too much, and the pressure was way too much for my body to handle.

I am infertile. I have spent nearly five fucking years of my life in the stirrups. I’ve endured scores of doctors looking at my private bits, two surgeries, 5 retrievals, umpteen fucking transfers, 16 embryos not make it.

Why I was lucky enough to get pregnant once is a fucking miracle to me, too. But it sure as hell wasn’t because I cared less.

And I know, I KNOW, that she doesn’t understand this. She has no idea the extent of our reproductive woes, only that it took us some time and IVF in order to conceive O. And I know that has no idea just how much that 2 minute conversation hurt me.

And maybe I should have said something to her, to educate her. But I was at a summer barbecue. And by fuck, I’m TIRED of talking about infertility. I just wanted to enjoy my day with my kid and my husband and my college friends, you know?

But I’ve found myself thinking about it often in the past week. And I’m hoping that by posting this, it’ll help me feel a little better.

I am infertile.




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  1. You are beyond justified in your rant. Do people really mean well? I’m not saying that she set out to be hurtful, but I no longer justify the ignorant things people say under the guise that they mean well. If she really meant well, she would seek first to understand then to be understood. And, she would be supportive to the decision you’ve come to without imposing her version of your reality on you.

    OK, I’m done with my rant. I am sensitive to the ‘just adopt’ or ‘you can always adopt’ comments. If it were JUST that easy.

  2. Man, oh, man. I hate those small comments that drill into your being. And, the better thing to do is not say anything…because the other person CANNOT understand unless they have been through this soul-crushing experience. And, honestly, I probably said stupid stuff like that to people before I learned the hard way that they best thing is NOT to try to act like you understand how the person is feeling, but rather to just say you are SO sorry. Another comment I hate…”everything happens for a reason.” Really? REALLY? What does that MEAN? That some person or God or whatever decided that certain people are meant to suffer and others weren’t? That must be consoling to the people that DON’T have to suffer…they just get to assume that of course people don’t suffer just to suffer, people don’t suffer in pain. But they do. Ever day people suffer for senseless and pointless reasons. And, sure, they may feel like they learned something from the experience…but did it justify the pain? I don’t think so. I think that these comments are just going to keep coming for the rest of your life…unfortunately. Sigh. I’m sorry about the potty training fail. Hopefully his time will come soon. I know a couple of women that said their kids weren’t trained until the summer b/f kindergarten! (Dude…poopy diapers for THAT long…ug!)

  3. BTW–my mom STILL holds that if I could have just relaxed, I would have gotten pregnant.

    • I’m totally rolling my eyes at your mom, Kate. BOOOOO, Kate’s mom! BOOOOO!!

  4. My mum still believes that we ended up with E. because the month before we did that second round of IVF we went to Australia with her and my stepfather to visit Q.’s family. So, you know- I was RELAXED. And presto- I get pregnant! Even though I have explained to her the difference in protocol, and how you really can’t compare transferring blastocysts after a long protocol to our failed efforts involving three day embryos after an IUI conversion, she STILL figures that vacation did it. (I haven’t told her that that vacation was one of the most stressful Q. and I have ever had- it just reiterated why we should not travel with any of our parents.)

    Ugh. I really hate those comments. I think they’re a throwaway- one that people make when they don’t really know what to say, and they somehow think that this is a helpful suggestion. Because infertile people have never thought about adoption…or wondered if stress is a factor.

    I can understand wanting to educate, but also wanting to just enjoy your time.

    Hugs. It is NOT your fault.
    PS. I think the “everything happens for a reason” one is awful too. About the only thing I think is worse is the “maybe this is a sign that you’re just not meant to be pregnant” from the folks who think medical intervention to counteract infertility is going against nature. Gah.

  5. I hate the adopt…then you’ll get pregnant comments. Because not only is it telling you it’s your fault because you’re not relaxed, it says you can use adoption as a way to get what you REALLY want which is “your own” baby. Ugh!

  6. sigh, just adopt. JUST adopt, right? oh, and of COURSE you’ll get pregnant after because that’s what ALWAYS happens…right?

    when people tell us to, ‘just adopt’ (speaking of a second baby) i say, ‘do you want to know what ‘just adopt’ entails? 4 grand upfront, interviews, interviews, home visits, chances of lost adoptions, chances of never being chosen, oh, and the need for more xanax than the world can produce, another 15 plus grand in cash to you know, take the baby home…it goes on and on and on’

    oh, and for that getting pregnant after you adopt? yeah, i got a hysterectomy.

    tell those people to eff off.

    sorry, that was a rant on my part. i just HATE those comments. with a passion.

  7. Hope O surprises you with the PT thing and it ends up taking very little effort in the long run. No matter how it happens, you’ll get there.

    Adoption comments are very interesting to me. I think adoption is something that a couple needs to have a desire to do in and of itself, not as a “consolation prize.” It is NOT for everyone, just as IF treatments are not for everyone. So many people don’t understand that, though.

  8. Oh, I hate those comments. I am beyond lucky to have my two boys (through IVF and FET), and yet there are still some relatives who either (a) ask when we are going for the girl, like our boys aren’t enough (or more than we ever thought we’d have) and somehow we can “go” for anything without a team of professionals; or (b) tell me it will happen when I least expect it because “you never know.” Um, I know. I’m sorry you have to deal with them when you’re still processing the state of things yourself. Ugh. Most people just don’t get it.

    Also, O won’t go to college still in diapers. They never do. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

  9. This is such a great post, Serenity. Could almost have been great for “Bust A Myth.” And honestly, yes, you get sick of talking about it, and wouldn’t it be nice to just enjoy your barbecue?

    I wish people would just stop asking questions about this in general, because honestly, what do they know about your plans? Our bedrooms and our bodies and our families ought to be our own … and we should be able to share them on OUR terms.

  10. Sorry about the potty training. It’ll happen when he’s ready.

    Obviously, I am VERY sensitive to the “just adopt” lines and the “then you’ll get pg for sure” comments make me so so sad. As someone who did adopt, I am keenly aware of how difficult a process it is. Rewarding for sue, without a doubt, but difficult none the less. I also had someone tell me to “just adopt” another when we were trying to decide if we wanted to remain a family of 3 or make an attempt at expansion. I seriously wanted to b!tch slap her!
    Sometimes, the insensitivity of peoples comments makes me mad but the lack of willingness to educate themselves on a particular topic before making those comments is what frustrates me the most.

  11. that sucks…fuck em. when asked about having a second we always tell people that we’re too old and tired to have another one. Gets a laugh and beats “the conversation” and we have had more than one person (ok, just dads) say “yea, wish I had done that.” whoa. Being in our mid and late thirties, we are not exactly stretching the truth. You are right, people just don’t know what to say, but that whole “adopt and THEN get pregnant” bit is so cliche it’s laughable.

  12. Its not your fault, none of it. Never think otherwise. HUGS

  13. I was nodding to both parts of your post.

    Your rant is so justified. And no, you don’t have to seize every opportunity to educate.
    The statistic (so I’ve heard) is that 5% of couples go on to conceive naturally after giving up on treatment. 5% of couples who choose to go childfree, and 5% of couples who go on to adoption. The thing is, everyone talks about these 5%. The remaining 95%, well what’s to talk about?

    One acquaintance of mine has 2 kids, easily conceived, but touch-and-go pregnancies, pre-term labor etc. She once said (not to me in particular), well if we want a third, we can always adopt. Honey, I thought, you haven’t got a clue. I didn’t give her a clue, because it wasn’t the time or the place.

  14. I think it’s hard for people when they want to be helpful and don’t really know what to say. I’m not saying it excuses that woman’s comments, just that I’ve been on the other side many times and probably said hurtful things to people without realizing it. It sucks that you had to deal with that, though. I hope it didn’t ruin the whole barbecue!

  15. If we could ‘just adopt’ then I’d be well on my way to a THIRD kid because we’d have conceived already after adopting H and had easily submitted our paperwork for kid number three. See? A breeze!

    I hate feeling like I always have to educate people, too. This is one of the several reasons we decided transracial adoption was not for us.

    I’m sorry you had to be approached with that annoying claptrap.

  16. Yes, I think everyone knows the story of someone that adopted and then got pregnant. But there is no rhyme or reason to it and I can’t stand when people have to get themselves involved in our family making business. I always tell people it’s OK to be married and have no kids, married with one kid, however many. It doesn’t matter and I’m not about to ask or put in my opinion.

  17. Good gawd…my OWN husband has said stupid shit and we struggled with infertility for eight damn years. Some people just don’t ever get it.

  18. My sister in law was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. She is THE healthiest person I know, and just spent two years living in India and Asia learning yoga from real yogis, and volunteering at shelters for street children. There are still people that have wondered out loud what she must have done wrong to bring this upon herself. There are always people who have diarrhea of the mouth, and think that because the bullet didn;t hit them, it was because of their own specialness and not their random good luck.

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