In the past few months I’ve begun to realize how going down this infertility road is a lot like my divorce road. There are these odd similarities that I would have never thought about. One of them is the elephant in the room. When I was going through my divorce some people didn’t want to acknowledge it or they were completely unsupportive. The same rings true while trying to get pregnant. How do you support a friend/couple going through infertility? What do you say without saying something really hurtful? There are a few ways to support someone in their infertility journey.
1) Don’t be afraid of the topic. Some people may want to talk about it and some may not be comfortable with it. ASK. For me, I don’t mind talking about it and sometimes it just lets me vent to someone who isn’t my Husband. When people seem to purposely ignore the baby topic then things become uncomfortable.
2) Listen and let her know you care. If your friend is open to talking about it then she probably just needs you to listen. Check in with her from time to time and just ask her how she is doing. If you know she had an appointment just calling and asking how it went goes a long ways.
3) Don’t hate on her choices. There is an ongoing list of infertility options from drugs to holistic means. Your friend is probably carefully researching and agonizing over these choices with her spouse and doctor. She doesn’t really care about what you heard on Dr. Oz or read in Glamour. Just try to be supportive instead of critical.
4) Watch your words. This is probably the most important. There are just phrases that you should really think about before you speak them and I’ve heard most of them. Just stop trying and it will happen. (No, it will definitely not happen if we stop trying.) Relax. (Why didn’t I think of that?) It will happen, when it happens. (Yes, but for some it doesn’t happen without a little more assistance.) Just go have crazy sex. (If that was the answer I would have been knocked up that summer I turned 21.) Maybe it isn’t your time. (According to my fertility app it is.) You are still young. (And one day I won’ t be.)
5) Respect that the second time around is just as hard as the first. A good friend of mine is ready to start her second go at becoming pregnant and it shouldn’t matter that she already is blessed with twins. Infertility is hard no matter where you are at with it and that woman/Mammas feelings should be respected either way.
6) Don’t leave your friend out from your pregnancy news! Don’t think that your friend doesn’t want to hear your great news or share in the baby showers and celebration. It has been hard for me to hear about some people becoming pregnant but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy for them.
7) Everyone’s timeline is different. Your friend has to wait for certain moments for drugs, tests and procedures. Timing every single month can be crucial and it takes time. If your friend doesn’t want to commit to a vacation, wedding or other plans with you 6 months down the road it is because that couple doesn’t know where they might be at in their journey. It isn’t because they are trying to ignore you.
For those that have had problems TTC, what would you find helpful?