Unbearable: My Response To Susan Sarandon’s Awful Fertility Advice

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Susan SarandonHaving a child is usually a happy time in a woman’s life. Unfortunately, as we wait longer to have children, infertility and trouble conceiving can become a part of the family making process. Unbearable addresses these difficulties.

All of you trying-to-conceive women out there who are struggling through daily fertility testing, paying thousands of dollars in the hopes to get pregnant, Susan Sarandon has a piece of fertility advice for you. Stop worrying about actual medical advice, just run to Italy and get it on in public. Seriously, Sarandon, who struggled with endometriosis and therefore should be understanding about fertility issues recently said, “Go to Italy… Don’t worry about it, eat, drink and **** and you’ll probably get pregnant. And that’s what happened with Eva on the Spanish Steps.”

Wow. Let me book my plane ticket. Gee thanks for cluing me in on the secret.

I’m sure that Sarandon wasn’t trying to downplay anyone’s difficult time, but this type of conversation still bothers me. It’s so close to the, “Just relax and stop stressing,” comments that infertile women have to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Every time we open up about our problems having kids, someone inevitably suggests that you stop worrying and a baby will come any day now.

These types of comments belittle the serious emotional impact of infertility. Women trying to have kids routinely struggle with depression and anxiety. Infertility can end marriages and deplete your finances before you ever have a child. For many women, this isn’t a simple matter of, “Go have some good sex and you’ll be fine.”

We’ve tried that, Susan Sarandon! Maybe not in Italy, but I promise you that I haven’t been sleeping in bed alone and wondering why I don’t have a baby yet.

I realize why people want to give advice in the face of serious problems like infertility. When confronted with an emotional situation, your first impulse is normally to try to help. I know that feeling. I realize that it’s not meant as an insult. But please try to understand that for a woman who has spent months or years trying to achieve what nature always told her was possible, your advice is a slap in the face.

It’s as if you’re saying, “Oh no, you missed something. I know you’ve been at this for a year, crying in a ball every time your period rolls around, but if you just would’ve calmed down and stopped stressing, this all would’ve worked out.” This isn’t a simple problem. And suggesting a simple solution acts like it is.

All this being said, when I’m confronted with useless advice, I generally don’t yell at the person who offered it. Although I can’t guarantee that I won’t write about it on the internet. My normal response is to give a fake smile and change the conversation. Why wouldn’t I explain that all the shallow advice doesn’t help?

By the time you’ve told me to “Enjoy all the sex,” or “Stop trying,” I’ve decided that you aren’t someone I want to discuss this with. At this moment, you become another person that doesn’t understand. That may not be fair, but it’s the best way I know how to deal with an emotional situation that I can’t quite explain to those who haven’t been through it.

Infertility is a complex problem, and even if Susan Sarandon believes that there was a simple solution for her’s, that doesn’t mean that any other woman has to feel the same way. It’s a personal and emotional journey, trying to conceive. No one should make you feel like it’s not a big deal.