The Hurt of “How to” Get Pregnant

Many people have been quick to offer us advice on what we need to do in order to get pregnant. I know we are not the only one who receives similar advice.  Whether it’s fertility-based or not, people always want to be the first to offer advice in hopes of fixing the problems of others.  With today’s technology, we can search “how to” do almost anything – from mundane to monumental, and from silly to shocking.

Giving advice is so common that there are hundreds of articles floating around the internet with titles similar to, “Things not to say to someone going through infertility.”  Some words of advice that might fall on those lists of what to say include:

  • Just ‘stop trying’ or just ‘relax’
  • Go on vacation
  • Adopt
  • Try a specific diet
  • Go to acupuncture
  • Do IVF

If you don’t know our story, we have felt called to wait on the Lord since we received our diagnosis. We stopped doing anything in the natural to make this happen back in August 2013 and instead have put all of our faith and trust in God. And my response to those recommendations mentioned above? Our whole journey has been a “break”. We travel several times a year. We eat healthy as our lifestyle. And for the record, adoption is never a band-aid for infertility. It doesn’t heal the wound, but I believe it must be something you have a heart and passion for aside from the ability to conceive.

I have nothing but grace to give for these situations and posted about that hereGrace upon grace, because people have no idea how hurtful there words can be.  I know they are just trying to help out. They mean well and they offer advice because they want to fix our problem. I too have been that person who has tried to help others with my own advice, so I am just as guilty.

Now to the point. Why do we want people to stop telling us what to do to get pregnant? No, not because it is hurtful. No, not because it’s frustrating. No, not because they truly have no idea. The REAL reason we want to stop hearing these comments is because it puts ALL the pressure on US. It tells us that we have to do something to make a baby. These comments come across as an if-then statement. “If you do this, then you will have a baby.” This is exactly the opposite of how Jesus works.

We will have a baby not because of something we do in the natural, but because of God working in the supernatural. Our babies will be a precious gift through His grace and love. Yes, we are called to be faithful, be obedient, and trust Him, but He doesn’t need us to earn our way to a baby. We also don’t need to go on vacation. We don’t need to try a certain diet. We don’t need to take a certain vitamin. While these are all great ideas, they are not ‘fixes’ to God blessing us with a child.

Again, there is so much grace for these comments said, but instead of making a suggestion of what you think we should do to conceive, we would prefer that you would pray and believe for our babies instead. Encourage us with scripture. Give us a prophetic word if you have one. Join us in not making this a works-based relationship with the Lord, but a love and grace based relationship with Him instead.  Thank you for loving and supporting us in doing so!

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  • Finn
    Posted at 07:18h, 13 January Reply

    So good Caroline and so much of what you’ve written are my thoughts also. It’s hard to feel like you aren’t doing something when people say what you should do to then feel like you have explain yourself when you really shouldn’t have to! Haha! It’s all part of the journey to have these conversations but still doesn’t make it easy! Knowing that we have an all faithful and knowing God is the easy part! I know we are perfect in His eyes, kids or no kids xxxx

  • Kelly @ Southern Komfort Blog
    Posted at 07:53h, 13 January Reply

    SO so well spoken! Hunter and I have already started receiving advice on steps we can take to make sure we have a child that doesn’t have any defects (read: hearing impairment because of me) and what we should be doing, etc. It absolutely infuriated me because we too believe that whatever happens is God’s will and plan; we don’t want to do anything to alter or try and control that. Praying for you sweet friend, and praying that people learn to hush sometimes. LOL!

  • ashleykimble924
    Posted at 08:38h, 13 January Reply

    Amen, sister! Great article.

  • Amanda
    Posted at 09:25h, 13 January Reply

    I’m sure it’s hard to respond with grace when you receive unsolicited advice. Thanks for sharing so we can all be more aware of how we handle others in similar situations!

  • Heather
    Posted at 09:27h, 13 January Reply

    I love how you bring it all back to Jesus, such a perfect example! Your faith in putting it all in God’s hands is so inspiring! Praying for you!

  • Brittany
    Posted at 09:36h, 13 January Reply

    This article is so good. It is a lot harder to wait and let God than to try to fix it on our own. I know that people mean well in these situations but they just don’t know the right way to handle the situation.

  • Rebecca Jo
    Posted at 10:09h, 13 January Reply

    You are so right… it makes you feel like you’re not doing something right… when its God who is in control.
    I got those same recommends. If one more person told me “stop worrying about it – once you do, you’ll get pregnant”… I wanted to scream.

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy}
    Posted at 10:46h, 13 January Reply

    Yes yes yes yes yes. You know my thoughts on this already and the stuff that I’ve heard. You said a few things that I amen’d to! “…adoption is never a band-aid for infertility. It doesn’t heal the wound, but I believe it must be something you have a heart and passion for aside from the ability to conceive.” Yes! I think some people think we are fostering because we’re not pregnant yet which is SO FAR from the truth. It should be something you’re passionate about, not something you do just because you’re not pregnant.

    And “we will have a baby not because of something we do in the natural, but because of God working in the supernatural.” No massage or diet is going to make me pregnant. I know plenty of stressed out, unhealthy people who have gotten pregnant. It’s all up to God 🙂 and His divine purpose.

  • lifeofaministermom
    Posted at 11:55h, 13 January Reply

    Prayers and scripture. You have that support from me! ?

  • Betsy Herman
    Posted at 12:20h, 13 January Reply

    Preach it! I couldn’t have said it better and will definitely share this. Thanks for continuing to share your heart.

  • Erika B.
    Posted at 12:29h, 13 January Reply

    AMEN!! This is so, so good! Especially (obviously!!) your point about adoption. We certainly didn’t adopt Millie so that we could bribe God into getting us pregnant with our “real” child!! And it sounds insane to say it like that, but when people say “just adopt- then you’ll get pregnant!”…well, that’s really what they’re saying. That the child you adopt won’t be the gift, but that it will be some sort of golden ticket to get you the REAL gift- pregnancy. SICK. Anyway. Love you, friend, and continuing to pray and believe with you!!!

  • Andrea
    Posted at 13:31h, 13 January Reply

    our God is greater than anything we are going through – and He’s got our backs 🙂

  • the longest journey
    Posted at 14:45h, 13 January Reply

    You summed up exactly how I feel when I hear these comments. I know that everyone means well, but the comments make it seem as if we are doing something wrong. XO

  • threekidsandafish
    Posted at 14:59h, 13 January Reply

    Wow, what a journey and an amazing choice that you have made to let God be God in His Time and in His will! I pray for you often!!

  • K. Entwistle
    Posted at 15:57h, 13 January Reply

    Thank you for your insights. Praying for you in this and all of life.

  • Sheryl
    Posted at 16:16h, 13 January Reply

    A perfect post! It always amazes me what people say. I feel it is their need to feel like they are doing something and helping. You know you are in my prayers!!

  • Karin Rambo
    Posted at 16:35h, 13 January Reply

    I appreciate your heart Caroline. My sister is going through infertility right now and I so often feel completely lost as to what to do or say. I’m so afraid of hurting her further because I have no idea how she feels. I appreciate these types of posts because it helps me figure out what not to say.

  • Samantha
    Posted at 19:33h, 13 January Reply

    Keep following the path the Lord has given you.

  • Tabitha
    Posted at 21:27h, 13 January Reply

    I LOVE this and think it applys to many, many life circumstances- we tend to be so action aware and not God aware. Thank you for sharing your words.

  • Grady
    Posted at 21:43h, 13 January Reply

    I love that you talked about asking people to instead pray for you guys and for your babies. So powerful. Not just “don’t do this” but also “Please do this! This will help!”

    I will be praying <3

  • Leslie Verner
    Posted at 10:57h, 14 January Reply

    Well said. I love your perspective on this and the grace that you give others who many not understand.

  • Joy
    Posted at 12:02h, 14 January Reply

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
    so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. ~Romans 15:13
    Praying for and with you ??

  • Brianna George
    Posted at 14:28h, 14 January Reply

    sometimes I think people just don’t know WHAT to say in that situation so they try to be practical and give “practical advice,” but you are right it can be so hurtful to hear those things. I like that you give specific desires of what you want to be inspired and encouraged with in regard to infertility. 🙂 Blessings to you.:)

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 01:52h, 15 January Reply

    Oh, my, I so understand your heart on this subject, having been the recipient of probably nearly every outlandish suggestion available. 🙂 LOL! I think people do this because they feel so bad about the situation and just want to be able to DO something or offer something to ease the pain. I know they mean well, and having never walked in the shoes of the one who is suffering, they just do not have a clue how hurtful or absurd they sound, at times. You are so right…it requires a lot of extended grace, and God has it available to us at all times. So, so thankful for His grace!!!

  • The Cuteness
    Posted at 06:41h, 15 January Reply

    I completely relate to your words, and there’s nothing more hurtful than hearing “you just need to relax” when you’re trying to conceive. I read your story, and I truly hope that you receive the gift from G-d you’ve been waiting for soon. It took me several years and several doctors to finally come to the diagnosis that caused my infertility, so I know the waiting is the hardest part. xo

  • Charlotte
    Posted at 13:46h, 15 January Reply

    Oh, girl… I get it so much, I really do. And you’re right–there’s no bandaid, no “one size fits all” remedy, no “if this, then that” scenario that ever works out as planned. I think people mean well when they give this type of unsolicited advice. And it’s difficult b/c part of me wants to stop talking about it, because I think that invites the advice in. But at the same time, it’s helpful to vent and air grievances when something is going as ‘planned.’ Anyway, I just wanted to let you know there are people who really DO care and who can help in times of struggle 🙂 Seek them out, sometimes just venting helps a great day. XOXO

  • Maria from Collecting Moments
    Posted at 13:50h, 15 January Reply

    Such honesty and truth here, Caroline. Unsolicited advice comes in various forms and in various stages of our life. Like you, I prefer not to hear them because it does add such pressure to the ones the advice is being given to. An encouraging word and unconditional support is much more useful at a difficult time. Thank you for your honesty in sharing this post with us in #SHINEbloghop.

  • Mommy Wants Coffee
    Posted at 14:01h, 15 January Reply

    Awesome article. Infertility is such a personal journey and the decision you make is just that, yours. No one should try to enter your journey or act like it is theirs to make better or fix. Thank you for shedding more light on this subject.

  • Erin, Attention To Darling Blog
    Posted at 15:27h, 15 January Reply

    I love this! It’s so refreshing to hear your words instead of the many articles I see circling around on “DON’T DO THIS” that has just gotten me to the point of never saying anything when I want to express my love and prayer for someone struggling. We’ll keep you in our prayers and wish you all the best!

  • Shann Eva
    Posted at 16:26h, 15 January Reply

    Such an important post. I’m sure many people feel the same way, so I’m glad you are speaking out. I know people are probably not trying to hurt you, but I can understand why it does. Sending many prayers to you.

  • Kelsie
    Posted at 17:50h, 15 January Reply

    These are such great points! My hubby and I are in the process of starting to think about kiddos. We try to be overly “planny” about it, but I know that we really have no power in it at all!

  • Dan
    Posted at 19:04h, 15 January Reply

    I totally hear you on this. People who say things like that have no idea how hard it can be, and how you can “do” everything right and still not be able to get pregnant … we didn’t have any luck until we went to see this amazing doctor who finally treated us with respect and understood our situation. So refreshing to find the right provider.

  • Nichole
    Posted at 00:55h, 16 January Reply

    I’ve “walked through” infertility with several very close friends and it is such a heartbreaking and difficult time. It was very brave of you to share your heart about what is hurtful and helpful for you during this time. As important as it is for you to say it, it is equally important that others hear you. Praying for you.

  • shastalilies
    Posted at 13:40h, 16 January Reply

    Really great thoughts. My sister struggles with infertility and it was a very hard journey for her and her husband. They have since been blessed with twins through their final IVF attempt. Infertility is a painful struggle that many do not understand.

  • Rhonda
    Posted at 16:37h, 17 January Reply

    Thinking back to the time we switched from TTC to TTA, there are two things I heard that stood out to me, and I totally agree with: One, that a woman shouldn’t adopt until it’s settled in her heart that she wants a baby more than she wants to get pregnant. And two, that a couple shouldn’t move forward with adoption until *both* of them are content with that plan.

    For me, I did reach the point where I wanted a baby more than I wanted to get pregnant, so we moved forward with adoption (my husband was ready to adopt before I was), but oh boy, reaching that decision still did not make the pain any easier. I definitely grieved the loss of a dream, the loss of the baby who could’ve been – you know, the one who would’ve been part me and part my husband. But just like grief lessens, the pain is way less sharp now. (We’ll see what happens when we actually do adopt a baby; I don’t think the wound will ever go away completely, but that’s okay. I don’t think I’ll be like the people who can say “now that I’ve adopted I’m glad I was never able to get pregnant”.) For me, I can honestly say, I never had a heart and a passion for adoption before we were faced with the reality that pregnancy wasn’t for us. I can 100% honestly say, adoption *isn’t* my first choice. (Not that I’m against it at all!! A lot of wonderful people are in my life through adoption.) But by now, I just desire to be a mom, and I’m willing – and by now, excited – to become so through adoption. I guess I’m just saying, in my case, the passion and heart for adoption only came after I was willing to switch from TTC to TTA.

    I’m not sure if I’ve told you this before, but I sense you need some encouragement, so know this: I have been praying for you, and I am praying that you & Colby will soon get pregnant! Keep hanging on to hope!

  • Amber Under Construction
    Posted at 11:56h, 19 January Reply

    You hit the nail on the head. I also know it’s so hard for people to find the right words to say to a hurting person. I’m certainly guilty of putting my foot in my mouth on many occasions. After my 3rd miscarriage, I had several people suggest that I became pregnant too soon after my 2nd miscarriage and that maybe the stress or timing is why I lost the baby. Although I knew they thought they were being helpful, it did cause me extra grief because it put the blame and pressure (for future pregnancies) on me, and in that season, I just really needed grace. Praise the Lord for His comfort in times when people in our lives just don’t really know what we need.

    On another note, I just love the similarity between the gift of a child and the gift of our salvation. Both a free gift from the Lord! It helps me to remember that a baby is a gift from God at times when I’m jealous of another person getting pregnant and in my natural mind, I think “They didn’t deserve that!” But I’m reminded that neither do I – and praise God that even though we don’t deserve the gift of a child or the gift of salvation, He gives more and more grace in abundance!

  • Laura
    Posted at 06:14h, 04 February Reply


  • deansandrazmm
    Posted at 18:42h, 10 March Reply

    Blessings, we heard all of the comments you listed and then some, as I am sure you have. Your comment about waiting on the Lord is such an encouragement to me, waiting is so very hard! I also appreciated your comment about adoption not being a band aid for infertility, those words are so true and people would be spared much heart ache if they realized this. I am an adoptive mom and while my adopted children are among my greatest blessings, they do not “fix” the pain of infertility

  • Georgette young
    Posted at 17:56h, 14 May Reply

    Your idea of God is your problem. You are God. Be happy with what you have and stop focusing on what you lack . You are attracting more lack. This is how the universe (what you call god)works. Let it go and accept what is. You can never let anything good come with all the resistance. You create your own reality, nobody else does.

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