If you’ve been on a journey to fertility, you know that your friends want to be supportive, but sometimes just don’t know what to say. Or if you know someone facing infertility, and you haven’t gone through it yourself, it’s hard to know what will be helpful and what might accidentally be hurtful. And because for so long, infertility had such a stigma, it’s not always easy to figure out what would come across as soothing without a raw side to it. For April’s National Infertility Awareness Week, we pulled together some helpful things to day (and not to say!) to someone facing infertility.
Ideas for You
Do your research: read about infertility and possible treatments and options, so you’re informed if a friend decides to share.
Be interested: Don’t force anyone to talk about it, but let them know that if they do want to discuss what they’re facing, you’re there to listen.
Ask what they need: they will appreciate it if you just ask what you should say, so they can tell you what would be the most helpful.
Support their decision: Whether it’s to stop treatment, pursue another family building option, or not pursue having a family – it’s their decision, and an agonizing one to make, often through grief and heartache. They will need you by their side as they walk the journey.
Remember Mother’s and Father’s Day: A painful day for those who can’t have children of their own, remind them that they are valued and you haven’t forgotten them.
Attend appointments: While they might not want someone actually in the room with them, having a friend pick them up after to go for coffee or be there in the waiting room when they come out can be a huge support.
Watch their other kids: If a friend has other children, juggling them to make all the infertility appointments they might have can be stressful. Maybe even make a standing bi-weekly play date at your house, so even if your friend doesn’t have an appointment, she can still take some time to herself.
Tell them about your own pregnancy: But do it in a way that’s in private where they can have their own reaction, so they don’t have to hide any feelings they have. Maybe text them or send them an email, and say that you want to be considerate of what they’re going through, but also let them know your news.
What Not to Say
Just relax, it’ll happen if it’s meant to.
You should enjoy being able to sleep late, travel, go to a movie whenever you want.
There are worse things that could happen, you know.
Maybe you’re not meant to be parents.
Why aren’t you trying IVF?
Why don’t you just adopt?
You have plenty of time to get pregnant
Ugh, my morning sickness/swollen ankles/back pain is the worst pregnancy symptom!
Why are you upset about this? You already have a kid.
Whose fault is the infertility?
Just reading those makes our skin crawl! We hope you are surrounded by supportive friends if you are facing infertility, or if you’re not, take these ideas into consideration to be the kind of friend the people in your life need.
If you’re looking for help with infertility or want to get checked out just in case, contact us anytime at 717-747-3099 or click on the button below.
Dr. Robert Filer
P.S. If you’d like to learn more but don’t want to commit to a phone call or a visit just yet, you can check out our free webinar here.