Monday, January 13, 2014


Have you ever been just-ed? I'm guessing you have, even if you didn't call it that.

Within an IF context, probably the two most common justs are

  • Why don't you just do IVF?
  • Why don't you just adopt?
Sometimes that "Why don't you just adopt?" is coupled to "And then you'll be pregnant in no time." I got that one during confession; needless to say, that wasn't one of my better experiences with the sacrament of reconciliation. (In a single context, it might be "Why don't you just join an online dating site?" or "You just need to lower your standards.")

That one little word, that four letter word completely changes the implication of the sentence. Instead of coming across as simple curiosity about your choices, it implies that this option is so obvious, so easy, that this person knows so much better than you do. How could you possibly not see that? (Gee, why didn't I think of that? [hits head against nearest hard surface]) As frustrating and annoying as those justs are, we should try to see that they come from a place of misinformation and ignorance. (In a singles context, just try to think about how long it's been since that person faced the cesspool of the dating world. Once you're done laughing, read on.)

If your information about IF and adoption came from People and the latest celebrity news, you would probably think it was that easy, too. Oh, who's had IVF lately? Twins, you say? Where have the Jolie-Pitts gone to pick up their latest child? (Okay, I'll admit that there is some snark in that summation, but it also describes the surface level of information many have with regards to IF and adoption.) If you just listened to the popular press, IVF is simple, easy, effective, and doesn't cost an arm and leg; while hopefully none of them think adoption is quite as easy as depicted in Despicable Me or Annie, most people will have no clue how much time, money, and red tape are involved. 

As much as a challenge as it can be to stay calm and patient when you've been just-ed, it can be an opportunity to educate. I usually start with "There is no 'just' involved" then explain why their simple, straightforward option is nothing of the sort. There's one other thing we can do - police our own language and make sure that we aren't just-ing friends or family about their choices. Who knows, they might even thank you. If we're really lucky, we can start a movement and eliminate this unfortunate use of the word just.


  1. You just hit on one of my biggest pet peeves - in lots of areas - in discussing this "unfortunate use of the word just" (Love that!). Your charity and patience in describing how it is anything but "just" is inspiring. I usually just clam up, bite my tongue, and try to say a prayer for the person who is "just-ing" me. I will say this is one are that IF has taught me and I can say I've learned to not do this to people.

  2. Thanks for this! When I'm "just-ed" sometimes the person seems sincere, like they really care about us and want this obviously difficult time of our life to be over. And sometimes the "just-er" seems to have never have thought for 2 seconds about what it would be like to suffer unwanted childlessness and feel like there's no way out ... it's the latter that makes me mad - anyway you put it so well here and if only adoption was as easy as despicable me, ha!

  3. I love how you took something that can be a big negative and showed how to make it a positive! I hope I can remember this and put it into action the next time someone tells me to "just get out and meet people" (right, because I sit at home all the time) or whatever the "just" of the day is.

  4. I agree with you. It's tough when people think other options are so easy and seemingly no-brainers, but I'm quite sure I've made the same mistake when trying to be caring to others. What a great idea to use those moments as an opportunity to share the truth rather than get all worked up.