1. “Don’t Stress and Just Relax. I Bet You’ll Be Pregnant in No Time”
While telling someone to breathe and relax might seem well-intentioned, chances are the couple is tired of hearing it. If you are struggling with infertility, whether there has been a determined cause or not, relaxing will not fix the problems. Sure, stress can impact a woman’s cycle and create issues for men, but most times the concerns surrounding fertility run much deeper than that. If it were as simple as de-stressing and relaxing, yoga and meditation studios would have record breaking enrollment numbers.
2. “It will Happen When It’s Meant to Be”
This phrase cuts right to the heart of any couple struggling to achieve pregnancy. It may not have been your intention to be insulting or offensive, however this implies that the couple has not become pregnant yet because some universal powers that may be have decided it is not their time. They are probably experiencing feelings of guilt and inadequacy, so to say this to your friend or family member, only furthers those horrible feelings.
3. “Trust Me…You Don’t Want Kids Anyway!”
Anyone with children already knows that parenting is a challenge and can often be frustrating and overwhelming. However, this should not take away from the fact that any couple wishes to have children of their own. Even if you are simply joking with your loved one, telling them they don’t want children anyway down plays the feeling of want and hope they hold to bring babies of their own home. Imagine you are on a diet and out with a friend at the mall food court for lunch.
You choose the salad bar to stay on track while your friend chooses a double cheeseburger and fries. As your friend is chomping away, she says “You don’t want this cheeseburger anyway, it isn’t that good.” It doesn’t take away the craving for you, does it?
4. “You Should Just Adopt.”
There is no denying that the number of children looking for permanent homes with parents who will love them is on the rise. This, however, should not be something you suggest to your friend, family member or co-worker dealing with the woes of infertility. Adoption requires a lot of paperwork, including many invasive interviews and tests. There is a cost factor to adoption which also should be considered.
The reality is that most of the children looking for forever homes are older children, some with complex needs, which many couples won’t qualify to care for through agencies. In the bigger picture, adopting will not take away the yearning to have one’s own biological babies, it just lessens the sting in some cases. The entire adoption process can often be as emotionally draining as trying to conceive with fertility problems.
It can be awkward and uncomfortable to talk with your friend about their fertility struggles if you have no idea what to say. There are many things that you could say, with good meaning behind them, but still come across as insensitive and flippant.
The key is that you don’t necessarily have to say anything at all. Listen. Listen to what your friend has to say, how they are feeling about the situation and offer support in that way. Of course, if your friend is directly asking your opinion on particular issues, go ahead and answer but unsolicited advice or ideas will quite often just drive a wedge between the two of you.
Things you CAN do to be there for any couple in your life going with infertility struggles include driving them to appointments if they have no car; picking up their mail and housesitting if they must be out of town for treatments; sending a simple hello text or email on treatment days to let them know you are thinking of them. Don’t shy away from the couple since this will make them feel isolated and alone. Instead, nurture your relationship with simple support and kindness without judgement or advice. Your loved ones will thank you.
P.S. Can we send you an email?