Posted by: DD | April 19, 2007

no. 423 – Have to be Happy

I just recently found out my 24 year old cousin is pregnant with their first child. A mutual acquaintance of ours who knows that we have been seeing a doctor but is clueless to the extent of our problems, shared this little gem with me on the side: "You have to be happy for her."

Really? I’m supposed to be happy? Why?

Because she and her husband had to try for only three months to get pregnant?

Because her due date is November, my month of Personal Hell?

Because she is already out buying maternity and baby clothes this early in her pregnancy?

Someone please explain why I should be Happy for her. Has anyone gone up to my cousin and told her to feel empathy for me or my husband?

As for the Have To.

I don’t Have To anything, and who do these people think they are pushing me to feel or do something just because they know about our infertility? I never would have been told this if she hadn’t known about our miscarriages. It’s insulting and belittling that she thinks I should revel in their good luck compared to my own piss-poor luck.

Good for them. Congratulations. I hope she has a healthy pregnancy and a live baby at the end of it.

Just don’t fucking order me to Be Happy.



  1. Amen sister! I was always amazed at co-workers who didn’t understand why I couldn’t “just be happy” every time another one of them got pregnant. My refusals to attend baby showers were always met with “what a bitch.” The complaining stopped when I asked if anyone else had ever contemplated suicide after attending a baby shower. Yeah, not so funny, huh? Even worse, these were mental health professionals I worked with. You’d think they’d have understood!!

    I firmly believe it’s about self preservation. Be happy or don’t be happy. It’s your choice. If folks don’t understand why you’re not over-the-moon for your cousin, too bad for them. No one gets to decide how you should feel except for you. Period.

  2. I love when people tell you how to feel or how to do things.

    Your feelings are your own.

  3. I know your acquaintance probably meant well (actually, I’m not quite sure what she meant), but know, you don’t HAVE to be happy for them, no more than they HAVE to feel empathy for you.

    Feel what you want to feel….

  4. I think you HAVE TO give this mutual acquaintance a punch in the nose. Other than that, there’s nothing you HAVE TO do about someone else’s news. Nothing. I can’t believe she would say such a clueless, heartless thing. Actually, I can believe it. It happens way too often.

  5. Did you tell her that she HAS to feel like a stupid insensitive shit for even thinking this comment, let alone uttering it? Gah!

  6. HAVE to? Puh-leeze. I will happily kick this person in the face if you’d like. Bah on her.

  7. HAVE to? Puh-leeze. I will happily kick this person in the face if you’d like. Bah on her.

  8. Argh. That’s just as bad as people telling you should just relax and then it will happen. I’ve heard the same orders to “be happy” for others in the past. It’s patronizing and insensitive.

  9. Ooh, this makes me mad. I am sick of there being this bizarrely strict code of conduct for the way infertiles feel–the way we feel about other people’s pregnancies and even our own, if we achieve them. You just feel whatever you want to feel, my dear.

  10. Oh bull crap. I love it when clueless people say stupid shit like that. You don’t HAVE to feel anything. You can be angry, sad, hurt, jealous, etc. and it is just fine. How insensitive! Ugh!

  11. You can be happy for her if she will be severely depressed and obsessed for you.

    I had to have serious words with my mother when she insisted on telling me about every pregnancy she heard of. Turns out she thought that it might give me hope that so many other people were getting pregnant, especially the ones my own age. I explained that it just depressed me that other people were getting on with their lives when I couldn’t. The moral of the story is that other people do not understand and their efforts to cheer us poor sensitive souls up can only end in tears.

  12. I get the same shit from time to time. Even my MIL has said it once. It’s so true no one thinks of our feelings, like we can’t possibly have any, were just infertile ans we MUST be happy for others!

    I hate that attitude.

    Why are people always expecting us to be a certain way?

    X Artblog

  13. Whoa….HAVE TO my a**

    Did you tell her she’d HAVE TO understand how it feels to have endured multiple losses and countless dollars wasted on failed fertility treatments, not to mention the mental mind f*ck this whole situation puts one in? of course you didn’t becasue you knew she would not understand and you have some common sense.

    The thing you have to do is, well, nothing – it is your life. If it were up to me I’d be pissed and take joy knowing her oh so happy mid twenties now blessed with a child will someday turn into hell when she realizes that life doesn’t always give you everything you want. Me, bitter?

  14. Hmm “Have to?” Yeah uhm no… Feel whatever you want to feel in regards to this news… I can’t say that I’d be “happy” for them… heck I’m not even “happy” for 2 of my coworkers… they of course have no issues with fertility and never have… yeah no have to for me either… I’d send a puppy over to give you some puppy love if I could… Blue’s pretty good at that.

  15. So true, why doesn’t anyone go around telling people to have empathy for those with shitty luck??

  16. I’d say that woman has a lot of nerve. How did you restrain yourself?

  17. My mother-in-law said the exact same thing to me when I told her my 19 year old sister was pregnant with her first baby. It was all I could do not to bite off her head and spit down her throat. I still haven’t gotten over her insensitivity on that one, six months later.

  18. I think it is the “have to” that is the worst thing. I am sure everyone wants to be happy when they find out about other people`s pregnancies but for various reasons, alot of people find themselves unable to and eaten up with feelings other than happiness. The “have to” be happy thing is followed closely in ickiness by “Well maybe you will be next.” I am very proud of you for biting your tongue because I think in your position, I would not have been able to contain myself.

  19. Yeah, well, I would have replied, “YOU ARE NOT THE BOSS OF ME!!”

    What nerve.

  20. you HAVE to be happy? hmph…

  21. Ugh, that HAVE TO be happy bullshit.

    When my SIL and I got pregnant at the same time, it was inferred AFTER I had my miscarriage that I should be HAPPY that my SIL was still having a healthy baby. I went to her baby shower and had to leave the room 5 or 6 times because I kept crying. I should have been as pregnant as she was, but I wasn’t.

    Have to be happy my ass.

  22. Have to be?? Hm, instead of you have to be happy I think they all have to shut the fuck up.

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