Imagine if you will, something you desire more than anything else.
Maybe for the sake of argument you have gone through a very bad break-up and your wish is for a loving partner. You share this with a happily married friend. Now, imagine this exchange:
You: It’s just hard, waiting to meet the right person, someone I can love and share my life with.
Friend: Hey, you can have my husband! He’s been keeping me up with his snoring, I could use the vacation!
Your reaction might be something like this:
You would know your friend was kidding, and trying to cheer you up. But, if you’re having a bad day, it might bother you. This is what its like every time someone who is waiting to adopt or is battling infertility is offered someone’s children. It might be funny the first couple of times we hear it (or not), and then it gets old. And sometimes, it hurts.
Just don’t do it.
Even if your kids are driving you crazy. Even if they won’t sleep. Even if they’ve taken 5 tantrums in the last 2 hours and smeared peanut butter on the walls and the whole week has been a total gong-show.
Your friend may have just spent an hour crying over a surprise pregnancy announcement. They may get a knot in their stomach every time the phone rings thinking, “maybe this is it”, only to realize its just another telemarketer. They might peek at baby clothes while out shopping and feel like they’re an outsider in the onesie aisle. They might fight back tears when the little girl at the restaurant makes cute faces over the adjoining booth. If your friend has dealt with infertility she may have been through an endless parade of blood tests, ultrasounds and invasive procedures. They have spent countless hours and money and have been investigated and opened up their lives to complete strangers for a chance at what you have.
A pregnant woman somewhere is struggling with this painful decision, for real. She may have no support in her decision, or be facing judgment. It’s the hardest decision she will ever make, a decision that is never made easily, or without grief.
Please, just don’t do it.
If you want to offer something, offer a night out, a shoulder to lean on, a listening ear, or maybe – a bottle of wine.