We have not talked about our infertility issues with our friends but our close family knows everything about it.
We know they are there for us anytime but we feel they do not really know how to behave and handle the situation.
And what are the things that are “unhelpful” or should be avoided when supporting your loved ones going through infertility treatments?
First of all we know that no one ever intentionally tries to be unhelpful or say “the wrong thing” when accompanying loved ones through infertility.
As with any hard situation in life, it is sooo difficult to know what to say or do. So here we bring you some advises:
Avoid the stuff that’s generally not helpful
Saying for example that you relate (“I understand what you’re going through”) if you don’t, giving false reassurances (It will happen someday!), not listening well, or asking sensitive questions in a group setting (and putting someone on the spot).
Try not to dismiss worrying
It’s such a natural and loving response to want to comfort and reassure someone when they are worried. But saying “don’t worry…
” can actually have the opposite effect, and make someone going through infertility feel that they are doing something wrong and that their worries are not valid when, in fact, they probably are.
Resist the urge to jump to alternatives
With this sentence I mean resist the urge to jump to alternatives like… “Well, Have you guys also considered___?” if a treatment or approach is not going well.
First off, the answer is almost always yes. Every person experiencing infertility has likely thought long and hard about all of their options.
But unless you are trusted close friend or family member, I would leave it up to the person experiencing infertility to bring up the possibility of other alternatives.
For example, even we are open to other alternatives, we are trying embryo adoption and we are focusing all our energy and hope in that direction for the time being.
Avoid any sentences that begin with “At least…”
Again it is totally natural to look for silver linings, but sentences that start this way are rarely comforting (both with infertility or any other kinf of hard situation in life).
Don’t asumme that a baby is the only possible outcome
We know lot of people who over the years have struggled with infertility. Many who have gone through IVF or other intense treatments and some of them made the decision, at the end, that they were not going to have children. This is a hard decision.
Sometimes it is a joyful one, sometimes it is a heartbreaking ,or confident, or tentative or often a bit of a mix of everything them.
But however it is reached, it’s a decision that deserves all of the respect and support in the world.
Resist hiding baby-related good news
As I mentioned in another post, it is completely normal that a friend of yours going through infertility might have a hard time (at first) responding to your pregnancy announcement or other good news.
But I can assure you that they 100% want to hear about and have the chance to celebrate it with you.
They might just need a breath to process the initial wave of emotions that can come in those moments.
So even at the risk of things being awkward, I say it’s always better to share your news personally with your loved one than try to protect them by keeping the news from them.
Don’t worry if you can’t relate
We know our closest friends and family have never personally experienced infertility but they have been AMAZING so far.
Yes, it is special to have around somebody you know who are the 1in8 and can speak to infertility from experience.
But even if you can’t “relate”, know that you presence and support is invaluable.
So here are our advises. We hope they can help you all of you!!!!