In 8 days (and I keep all my fingers crossed) two little wonderful embryos will be transferred to my uterus. I have been expecting this moment for ssooooo long that right now I am just a bundle of nerves.
I am a really private person. Mainly I have kept all the process for myself and my partner and lately some relatives and close friends.
I know all of them just want to help us and I totally notice they really do not know exactly how to do it.
What are the things that are helpfull for supporting friends/family/loved ones going through infertility?
First of all we have to keep in mind that everyone’s experience can be so, so, so different with infertility, but from my point of view:
Check in regularly
Everyone always worries about saying/doing the wrong thing, but it is sooo much better to hear from people (and even have them say the “wrong” thing) than have friends avoid the topic altogether.
A simple check-in (“How are you doing?”), (“Been thinking about you”) is wonderful.
Pay close attention to dates
It’s crazy how much your world revolves around your calendar in the midst of infertility. So if you hear a friend mention specific dates, try to remember and to check in.
For example times of the month for pregnancy tests, fertility clinics appointments, IVF treatments or any other important dates that they mention.
Ask questions about medical stuff
It has meant a lot to me when my sister have asked to know more about the medical details of treatments (i.e what so-and-so acronym means, how did that new shot go, checking in on side effects, etc.)
Offer up fun distractions
Continue to plan your usual hangs and talk about normal everyday stuff too. In the middle of a fertility treatment, it is sooo refreshing to have familiar stuff continuing with friends.
Amidst all of the emotional/medical/logistical demands of fertility treatments, many couple may also be dealing with enourmous financial stress in order to pay for fertility treatments.
It is flat-out not fair that so many couple have to save, fundraise, and/or take out loans to just try to get to the starting line of pregnancy (or adoption), and an acknowledgment of their effort can meant a lot
Give grace when sharing baby-related news
If you notice that your friend has a hard time with your pregnancy announcement, baby shower, kids’ bday party, etc. Please know that it is not personal.
It is possible to be 100% happy for someone else’s good news and also feel really sad at the same time, especially when that celebration may be something you’ve hoped to experience too.
Know that your friend loves you and wants to celebrate you and would give anything not to be feeling these mixed emotions
Also, if you happen to know of friends going through infertility, it can be helpful to give them a brief heads-up before making an announcement in public where they are put on the spot to respond.
(Don’t worry about doing so via text either – that method of communication may sound impersonal, but it can also be a relief to not have the pressure of responding in person, if the news happens to come on a hard day).
Remember your LGBTQ and single friends
For so many LGBTQ couples or uncoupled women wanting to carry biological children their options often “begin” with medical treatments. And of course, all of the accompanying emotions, logistics and costs that come with those treatments.
We have so much admiration for our friends who have walked that road and are grateful that there are options now available to make biological parenthood a possibility for more people.
Pray, send good vibes, give love
Finally, I will just say that it has been incredibly powerful to hear words of hope and well wishes from our closer ones.