Do you have a friend or family member struggling with infertility? Knowing how to support them can be hard! Especially if you have never been in their position before. Even though 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, it isn’t a subject that is frequently talked about.
I had no idea how common these things were before we had our first miscarriage (read our whole story here), and it was a completely isolating experience. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about it, I felt like I had done something wrong. After all we have been through I know that how I felt was also super common.
So, if you know someone who has struggled with miscarriage or is going through fertility treatments here are a few things I would recommend.
Infertility can become all consuming, quickly! It is so nice to get a break some times. Maybe invite them to go to lunch, or on a hike, or any type of fun activity. And focus on something other than their fertility treatments and babies. If they bring it up, maybe they need to talk about it, and I’d say follow their lead. But personally it was nice to have a “normal” conversation, and take a mental break from the headache of all things fertility related.
Let me preface this with, I know most people are really coming from a good place and they’re just doing their best to try to make their friend feel better. Trying their best to ease the pain. But sometimes it’s best to just call it like it is. It sucks. period.
Don’t downplay their diagnosis. “Just Relax” or “Why don’t you just adopt?” or anything along those lines minimizes what your friend or family member is dealing with. Along these same lines, things like “at least you don’t have_” fill in the blank or “you should be grateful for what you have”, also make it seem like what they’re going through doesn’t matter. Infertility is an official diagnosis, and the rates of depression associated with it have been compared to (and found equivalent to) cancer and other chronic diseases. This NY Time article does a great job describing the trauma associated with infertility.
Instead of saying these things, I’d suggest:
- “I’m so sorry you’re going through this, it must be so hard”
- “That sounds really tough, I’m here if you ever want to talk”
- “It sounds like you are doing everything you can”
My Number One Tip
Be there. Show up for them. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. In fact most likely they would prefer it wasn’t. A simple text that says “just checking in” or “no need to respond, just wanted to let you know I’m thinking about you” or “if you ever need someone to talk to I’m here” is more appreciated . They may or not respond, and if they don’t, don’t take it personally. I guarantee that they appreciate the gesture, they just might not be in a space where they feel like they can respond.
Shout out to you!
If you’re reading this, thank you! Thanks for reading it in general. But also thank you for caring enough to want to know how to support your loved ones as they navigate the world of infertility. It’s difficult all the way around, but just letting them know that you care is the best place to start.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below! Thanks for being here!