Tuesday, April 21, 2015

10 Things To Say To Your Infertile Friend

Photo by Don Harder, Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/dharder9475/
When my husband and I were dating, we went to visit his grandmother. She is the sweetest, tiniest little Texan grandma you can imagine. The entire time we were there, she didn't call me by my first name once. She was so fearful that she would accidentally call me by the name of his ex (our names are very similar). I wasn't hurt by this in the least because I knew her intention was to avoid an awkward situation and potentially hurting my feelings. After some time she dropped the "hers" and "sweethearts" and "darlings" and adopted using my name. It still makes me smile to think of it.

This got me to thinking, how many people have read the "Things not to say to an infertile couple" posts online and decided that rather than put their foot in their mouth, they would keep it shut? Let's face it, reproductive issues and infertility can be a bit of a tricky minefield.

Infertility can feel isolating, especially from the fertile friends and family you love. So rather than tell people what not to say, I thought I'd post the things that people have said to me that I have loved:
  • I want to be supportive, but don't know how. Tell me how I can. (Take the honest and direct approach)
  • I love you and I'm sorry you have this struggle. (Simplicity at its best)
  • I'm thinking of you/praying for you during your treatment.
  • I'm rooting for you! (everyone loves a cheerleader)
  • Thank you for sharing what you're going through with me. (when you leave yourself emotionally open, this one means so much)
  • Can I keep you company at an appointment/pick up your prescription for you/ bring over dinner when you're on bedrest? (make yourself available to be a present supporter if your friend needs it)
  • I'm excited for your future!
  • You will be an awesome mommy/parents.
  • Do tell your friend when you are expecting, but deliver the news in email so they can deal with the emotions privately. We're happy for you, but it still hurts and reminds us of our scars. 
  • Don't "say" anything. Give a hug, provide chocolate, treat your friend to a pedicure and a People magazine. :)
Bottom line, just start talking. Be honest and reach out to the ones you love who are struggling.

Infertility impacts 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age and can be a very isolating disease to face. If you aren't in the trenches of this fight, 1 in 8 is someone you know. If you are one of the 1 in 8, know that you are not alone. RESOLVE, the national infertility association, can provide support and resources. They also work tirelessly on behalf of the infertility community to bring awareness to the disease and educate our legislators and insurance companies. I'm here too! Contact me if you need an ear, or have questions that you aren't comfortable posting. I am so thankful that we live in an age where there are multiple family building options available and hope that all the parents-to-be find their path.