Did you ever think positivity could become toxic?

Let me give you a few examples of positive phrases many people say:

“Trust me, you’ll get over it!”

“Good vibes only!”

“Stop being so negative!”

And the favorite of the infertility world: “Never Give Up!”

Now, I think these “positive” words of advice are good at times(for some people) but other times may make someone feel the opposite…especially during infertility.

I mean, I have heard these over and over again. At first, it was ok. But after 5 years of infertility and nothing working, constant disappointments, while others achieved their dreams..over and over again. I just started to despise hearing them…especially from people who had….absolutely NO CLUE what I was going through or frankly didn’t even care to listen…they didn’t listen.

And THAT is where positivity becomes toxic my friends.

Positivity becomes toxic when people do not listen.

When you recognize people are just uncomfortable with what you are going through, they don’t know what to say and then just say those words of positivity…well, just because….they think that’s what they’re supposed to say. Now I can’t fault them for not having empathy for what I’ve gone through…because they can’t. But throwing those words around is not ok…toxic positivity can actually make people feel worse about their situation.

If someone going through infertility never has a child…then what? That “never give up” phrase or “just keep trying” phrase is torture. Like, are they a total failure because they “gave up”? Not in my book…the opposite, in fact, because when men and women are BRAVE enough to “give up”….because they literally gave it all they had…emotionally, financially, etc…that is where I applaud them. I stand up and applaud the courage it took to come to that forced acceptance. Do you think they wanted to give up? They were forced to give up and we need to understand that as a society of people. So please, support those who gave up as much as someone who succeeded….especially within the infertility world.

But what can you do while they are going through the hard times? Well, for me, if you were my friend?

I’d want you to say, “Hey, I couldn’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you. And then you would hand me the LARGEST glass of Pinot Grigio(Santa Margarita please 🙂 , a giant slice of pizza AND a cupcake(Magnolia Bakery or Sprinkles…or, who am I kidding… ANY cupcake), sit next to me on the couch while we watch Project Runway, The Bachelor and Sex In The City reruns.. I mean…now, that’s the kind of positivity I want in my life 🙂

 

3 Comments on Toxic Positivity

  1. YES!!!!!! Thank you! 🙏🏼
    You put thoughts I’ve had and I’m sure many others, and wrote it so clearly and directly!

    It is so hard to hear messages like “at least you can get pregnant” while you are actively going through (another) miscarriage…. And then you get the blessed opportunity to wish that friend congratulations when she has a baby before you do….

    They truly mean to be loving and helpful!
    They do not know that those words can be so hurtful.

  2. SO MUCH THIS! I can 1,000% relate to everything you wrote. We’re inching toward the “giving up” phase. Every time someone says not to, I feel like a failure ten times over and second-guess myself. Maybe “giving up” isn’t giving up at all, but instead is exactly how you described it: harder than continuing on. The worst is when someone says it whose had her miracle baby. Like, thanks, but no. So thank YOU for not forgetting what it’s like, even on the other side and putting a voice to us. Phony cheery positive words come across as phony cheery positive words.

  3. Allllll the feels about the “never give up.” I actually had someone who got pregnant via embryo adoption IVF tell me on Mothers Day last year that I should do it too and “not give up.” Left me in tears and hurt even more from someone who actually understood the pain of infertility. I know they meant well, but nothing about it felt good at all. Especially since we had accepted infertility and a child free life, not because we “gave up” but because we had set our limits for how much we would do financially and physically before accepting and moving forward creating new dreams for the future and it is not for anyone else to judge that we “gave up”.

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