As someone who struggled with infertility for two and a half years and went through a whole slew of treatments, appointments, ups and downs, I’ve heard it all.
Today I want to share with you the top 5 things you shouldn’t say to a friend with infertility. However I know over the years, most of my friends were trying their best to help me. I’ve also provided what you SHOULD say to a friend struggling. This way, we can both be set up to help each other in this difficult time.
Here are the 5 Things You SHOULD NOT say to a friend struggling with infertility:
Why don’t you try: insert random remedy your friend tried that one time and got pregnant?
For someone who has been dealing with infertility they have tried everything. They have seen every wives’ tale, every trick, every at home remedy. They’re already seeing a medical expert or will be soon. They have tried it all, eaten all the weird things, slept upside-down. You name it, they’ve probably done it. You saying this is a reminder of all they’ve tried, and still do not have a baby.
You already have a kid, so what’s the big deal?
It doesn’t really matter how many children someone has. Secondary infertility is just as difficult as those who don’t have children. Maybe someone envisioned their one child would have one sibling. As someone who grew up as an only child, I desperately wanted my son to have someone to share the world with. Maybe someone dreamt of having 4 children before their family was complete. Yes, they have a child, and they are beyond grateful for one. But it’s not time to give up on their dreams of family expansion. Wanting a sibling(s) is a big deal.
Just relax you’re trying too hard!
You friend has probably been trying, reading fertility books, scouring the internet, and doing everything they can to make their dreams of a family come true. There is no relaxing. Especially if they are doing fertility treatments, the process is difficult, time consuming and stressful.
Don’t worry. It’ll happen when it happens.
If someone has been waiting years, yes years, to have a child…you know it’s not just going to happen when it happens. Especially those who have been to Reproductive Endocrinologist and been given a diagnosis. It doesn’t ever happen for some families. For others, it takes years of treatment, lots of money and a lot of heartache for this to happen.
Why don’t you just adopt?
Just don’t say this. Ever. Adoption is a wonderful tool that it is an option and anyone dealing with infertility knows it.
They have already thought about it. However, it is most likely a last resort once they have exhausted their other options. Adoption is difficult. Giving up on the opportunity to have a child that is biologically yours is difficult too. I need to also mention that many parents struggle with wanting the opportunity to carry that child within them for nine months. It is a dream that they may not be ready to give up on. Until your friend breaches adoption with you, please do not bring it up.
Now for the Top 5 Things you SHOULD say to a friend with infertility
I’m sorry you are going through this.
You don’t need to say much. It’s not always an easy conversation. I’m a super awkward person so I feel like I would make something like this way worse. Something as simple as this is a great way to go!
I’m here to listen any time you need to talk.
They may not want to talk at all. They may not even want to see you because they just can’t deal.
This was definitely me. I shut down, especially around some of my friends who had children or were pregnant.
But if they do reach out, a comforting shoulder, is absolutely invaluable. Not sure where I would have been without the people who did this for me.
I’m here for you or What can I do to help?
These two phrases are simple and effective. There is probably nothing you can do for your friend but extending that olive branch can really make someone feel a little bit less alone on this very lonely journey.
Sometimes, if after a failed treatment, they may want you to let your aunt, grandmother, whoever know; so they don’t have to make another excruciating phone call. Or maybe they could really use a ride to/from a very uncomfortable test they need to go to and don’t want to ask.
I don’t want to bug you about your treatments/results, but I’m here for you if you need me……
This is great, especially if it’s a pretty close friend! They know you’re interested and really care about what’s going on but you aren’t being pushy and in their business.
Some people (like me) were pretty open with friends during the infertility journey. Mine knew roughly when we were going in for treatment, etc. But they were really great about not asking, so did you test yet? Are you pregnant yet? They let me come to them and tell them when I was ready.
UGH, I know you were blindsided by that announcement. Let’s do lunch and vent.
The biggest thing you can do for someone is be there to offer a distraction.
That distraction is everything, whether it’s a venting session after a surprising pregnancy announcement or a distraction during the two week waiting window. I have to tell you that the two week waiting window, when the time of “trying” is done and someone is waiting to find out if the treatment worked or not is excruciating. Go out to a movie, dinner, beach, whatever. It won’t completely keep her mind off of it, but it won’t be as all-consuming as it would be if she’s on her own.
You can’t help a friend with infertility. Just keep in mind what you should and should not say, first and foremost. If you have a friend struggling, perhaps even sharing this post with her is a good step forward. We all want to be there for our friends, but that also means treading lightly with their hearts and recognizing what is best for them in a time of need.
Meet the Author: I’m Kayla! I’m a mother of one (and one on the way!). I’m trying to navigate this crazy world of being a parent and a military wife. I love to read, write and all things Harry Potter and Disney!
Follow Kayla’s journey: