I used to faint at the prick of a finger or sight of blood. However, after stabbing myself with needles throughout three rounds of infertility treatments, it’s safe to say that I no longer pass out. But I still give the phlebotomist or nurse a heads up just in case I fall over in the chair. Because, after scaring them and myself a time or two, I know to speak up, lol! Today, was no different.
I was having blood drawn to see if I was entering menopause (yep, oy!). I’ve been experiencing quite a few hot flashes throughout the day and night, and so my general practitioner wanted to test my FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels.
The phlebotomist introduced herself as we walked to her office. I warned her, just like everyone, that I might pass out but haven’t in years since I had to give myself fertility medications. Here’s the exchange that followed:
She asked if I had any little ones, I said “no.”
She asked if I was still trying, I said “no, that I chose the childfree route.”
Her response to my answer was “OH, YOU GAVE UP.”
Um, that stung!
But, I kept my cool.
She was younger than me, by at least 10 years if not more. She clearly had no idea how her words landed with me. And she’s mighty fortunate that I wasn’t freshly on the childfree path. Had she said that to me 6-8 years ago I most likely would have started crying or said something that I wouldn’t have regretted. Yep, I wouldn’t have said “I’m sorry,” those words came out of my mouth because you didn’t take a moment to consider the words coming out of yours.
There’s more — Then she proceeded to tell me about her eight-year-old daughter and how she had to ground her for two days for talking back.
That caused another sting or two. But, I let it pass too.
Sometimes it’s not worth the energy to show someone how to be more sensitive to others’ stories. Sometimes they deserve a whopping – and it’ll probably feel good for you to get that out. Either way, how you choose to react or respond is a strong indicator of how much you’re triggered by their words.
Do you lash back?
Do you sulk in the corner?
Or somewhere in between?
It’s up to you. You get to decide what you do in a similar situation. You have options:
Breathe deeply and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Lash out and say something you’ll regret.
Or come up with a few quick witty responses that put them in their place.
If you’re rusty like me, those won’t be at the ready. But if you’re in the early to middle stages of your journey, I bet you have them in your back pocket ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. And if not, here are a few responses that sting back:
How is that supposed to make me feel?
If ignorance is bliss, you must be the happiest person on the planet.
Not too many people like you, do they?
People like you are the reason why I feel stigmatized as an infertility survivor/warrior.
Go get ‘em!