‘Don’t worry, you’re young and have plenty of time,’ is what a complete stranger said to me at work. He asked me how many kids I had. ‘None yet!’

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“‘Don’t worry, you’re young and have plenty of time,’ is something that a complete stranger said to me while they were fixing our copier at work. The whole exchange started because he asked me how many kids I had and I replied with, ‘none yet!’

What he doesn’t know is that my husband and I have been trying to conceive for almost two years now. Within those two years, actually within the last six months, we have gone through a miscarriage. We have been very open about our miscarriage and being open about our loss has made us feel comfortable being open about our fertility struggles. Before we struggled with getting pregnant, comments like the one that the copier repairman made at work didn’t bother me but now that I have been through infertility and loss, comments like that are very hurtful. These comments are hurtful but the people saying them aren’t aware and as a part of the infertility and pregnancy loss community, I feel like it’s my responsibility to help educate others on what to say and what not to say and why.

As a woman going through infertility and loss, when someone reminds me that I am indeed young and have ‘plenty of time’ it makes me feel less than. It makes me feel like my desire to be a mother isn’t validated in the eyes of someone else and that’s hard to accept. Although they don’t mean their comment in a negative way, it’s taken in a negative way and I will think about that comment for the rest of the day (if not longer).

Husband and wife stand smiling on porch of wood house
Courtesy Arden Cartrette

Being young and going through infertility and pregnancy loss is difficult, I don’t feel like my young age has helped me in anyway. In your twenties you think that you are fertile. You think that you spend all of this time preventing pregnancy because it’s so easy to obtain but then when you struggle with infertility, you feel like you are a broken woman. At twenty-six I can log on to my personal social media and spot at least two pregnancy announcements. At times it feels like everyone is pregnant except for me and being young isn’t doing me any favors. I think that feeling would go if I were in my thirties too. I don’t think there is an age that is perfect for fertility, I don’t think there is an age where infertility doesn’t affect you. The fact of the matter is that age plays a huge part in, especially, a woman’s fertility journey and commenting on our age only reminds us that we are xx years old and still not pregnant.

While there are a lot of things that people will say, commenting on my age is personally the most hurtful. You’d think that I would be used to it, but it still stings. After our miscarriage, now when I hear that I have ‘plenty of time’, my mind goes straight towards the child that I should have but don’t. It’s not their fault that I feel this way but it’s also not my fault. I’ve heard comments about my age for years but related to my fertility is a whole other thing. I’ve gotten the ‘why did you rush into marriage?’ Question because I was married at 22 years old.

Bride and groom stand kissing under pier
Courtesy Arden Cartrette

But what people don’t realize is there is no set timeline for these things. No one said we had to wait until 30 to get married and have a baby. For us, getting married was the right step after 3 years together and buying our house and we had a goal of having our first child around the time that Kerry would turn 30. We have our own goals that we are following so no, we don’t have ‘plenty of time’ not to reach our goals.

What’s my advice on answering a question like the one that the repairman asked me? Honesty. I wonder if I had been blunt and honest if his reply would have been the same. As women it’s easy to feel embarrassed by infertility and miscarriage but the truth is, that’s yourstory. Own it. I wonder if I had replied by saying ‘actually we have been trying for a long time and recently had a loss’ if he would have said something different. I bet you he wouldn’t tell me I had plenty of time left to have kids.“

Woman holds sign in home that says, "Stop telling me that I'm young and have plenty of time"
Courtesy Arden Cartrette

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Arden Cartrette. Follow her on Instagram here and her website hereDo you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your journey. Submit your own story here, and subscribe to our best stories in our free newsletter here.

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