If you have a friend who is struggling to conceive a child with their partner, then you likely know that they can use all the emotional support they can get during this difficult time. However, you may not know just what to say to them, especially if you have never struggled with infertility yourself.
Follow these do’s and don’ts for helping your friend deal with the intense emotions they are experiencing without accidentally saying something that will accidentally upset them.
Supporting a Friend With Infertility: Do’s
- Be a great listener. Many people struggling with infertility need nothing more than someone to simply listen to them express their feelings. If you are typically the one who “takes the lead” in a conversation, then let your friend take the lead instead when the two of you are discussing this sensitive topic.
- Apologize if you accidentally make an insensitive comment. Both women and men who want a child badly, but are struggling to conceive one, can become sensitive to well-meaning advice worded the wrong way. If you accidentally offend your friend, then offer an apology, and they will likely gladly accept it.
- Invite them out to do something fun when they seem especially down. When your friend seems to be feeling extra down about their problem conceiving, invite them to do something fun with you.
- Keep your conversations confidential. Your friend needs a confidant they can trust during this tough time, so keep your conversations private.
Supporting a Friend With Infertility: Don’ts
- Tell them to “stop worrying about it” or “just relax.” You may remember a time when you were very upset about something and someone told you to “just don’t worry about it.” Those words simply don’t help. Conceiving a child is very important to your friend, and they only have 12 opportunities to conceive each year; they must plan their conception time around monthly ovulation, and this may make it difficult for them to relax during that time.
- Share infertility home remedies. If your friend is struggling to conceive, they have likely already looked into and possibly tried every home remedy out there that could help them. The truth is that most don’t work.
- Tell them that it is silly to worry about infertility at their young age. If your friend is young, then that doesn’t mean that they just shouldn’t worry about conceiving, because “it will happen eventually.” Your friend may have a health problem that they are battling that may only hinder fertility even further in the future or have another reason why they would like to conceive now instead of later.
- Tell them that they should adopt. Every couple who desires to have their own child naturally instead of adopting has their personal reasons for making the choice. Adoption is also not a simple process and comes with its own struggles.
- Ask them if they have considered IVF. In-vitro fertilization is very expensive and not always successful. Your friend may also have a health problem that has caused her doctor to advise against IVF.
- Inquire regularly about whether they are “pregnant yet.” When your friend finally is able to conceive successfully, you can be sure they will be happy to share the news with you and other loved ones. However, in the mean time, asking them over and over if they are pregnant yet may just make them feel even more stressed out over the infertility.
- Tell them they are “being negative.” Even a person who is typically upbeat can become very sad when they are having difficulty conceiving. Telling your friend that they are just being negative or to just “snap out” of any depression they are feeling is very insensitive when they are likely struggling very hard to stay just as upbeat as they can.
It is great to offer support to a friend who is suffering with infertility, but just keep these do’s and don’ts in mind to make sure you don’t accidentally upset your friend with your well-meaning advice. If your friend needs the extra support of a professional counselor, inform them that many fertility clinics offer free counseling to couples dealing with infertility and their families.