I have a wonderful group of mom friends here in Columbus, they are so special to me! For some of my dearest friends conceiving their children was a long road. I am grateful that my friends have opened up about their journey. They have opened my eyes to a different side of pregnancy.
I never knew the depth of infertility until after I became a mom. It wasn’t until I had other mom friends that I learn about the real struggles so many go through to conceive a child. I was naive to the struggles that some endure. Navigating friendships and infertility can be delicate at times. For myself, I have never been through the infertility journey, but I found myself searching for ways to support friends and family. When my friends and I would have conversations about pregnancy, I often times found myself yearning to help. I wanted to make sure I said the right things and be present for them. I so wanted to be in their court but didn’t know the best way to go about it.
I turned to some of these women who have lived the infertility journey. I interviewed them to gain an honest and truthful insight to their heart during their fertility struggles. They were so wonderful to be so open and honest with their responses.
What are some supportive things to say or do?
“One of my best friends found herself completely clueless on how to best support me. One thing that she did was to research and become familiar with what I was experiencing, as she did not go through infertility. If I brought up a procedure I was going to have or a test result I had received, she found out as much as she could. I think her research helped her fill in the gaps of things that I did not say or did not think to say. She did not research to give me advice, as most of the time she just listened to me pour the hurt out of my heart. She simply learned more about infertility, specifically the details of my own personal struggle, just simply to understand.” ~M.
“Listen. A lot of times I just wanted to vent. Having someone willing to listen to me was an amazing outlet.” ~K.
“Just Listen. You don’t have to fix it or even share your story as a friend helping another friend through fertility. Just be there and listen and let her own every feeling that she has.” ~H. 39
“The only thing that gave me some comfort was hearing about other people having the same issues…but even that wasn’t always great. “~K
“I didn’t mind talking about our experience but would really only talk about it if people asked. It’s all about the waiting game, so it was nice of friends to check in on me and see how I was doing. I did 9 rounds of IUI and one round of IVF. I ended up having twins a boy and a girl after about 2 years of trying. My wife processed things differently she was really sad and would get anxious throughout it all. I looked at it as a journey, that in some way shape or form I would have a baby in my life. Whether that was through adoption or biologically having one. There are so many options. I stayed positive and looked at each negative as a day to embrace being just us because that would change one day. Oh my how it’s changed.”~J
What should you not say?
“Definitely avoid saying anything that tries to minimize their pain. Many times during our struggle, people would try to comfort me by suggesting I enjoy the perks of being childfree (sleeping in, having more freedom to travel, spending more time with my husband, etc.). Those comments are simply not helpful. I promise your friend/family friend is already aware of what she will be giving up if she becomes a mom and is more than willing to trade the childfree benefits for motherhood. Also, do not say things could be worse. For your loved one experiencing infertility, this could be the worst thing she has ever experienced. Even so, there is no one who can really judge a difficult situation for being worse than another. When someone would say this to me, it would make me feel guilty for feeling sad and that is definitely not what I needed. People struggling with infertility are probably well aware of their blessings, but they still need to grieve and feel the hurt and loss that comes with infertility.” ~ M.
“Everyone knows someone who struggled getting pregnant, got pregnant via IVF and then had a miracle baby with no fertility drugs. While that’s awesome, that was the absolute last thing I wanted to hear.” ~K.
“It’ll happen … or you can always adopt … “~ H.
“Stories about what other people went through, stories about miscarriages at 30 weeks or trying IVF 7 times and it being unsuccessful, made me crazy. I felt like I just needed positive vibes.” ~J.
“Everything happens for a reason, It will happen when it’s meant to happen, Relax and it will happen, and the thing I hated hearing the most: ‘Well, it’s fun trying!’ (no, it’s not fun at all when doctors are involved). I also hated hearing ‘So, have you thought about adoption?’ – Adoption is a great choice for many couples, but when you are in the thick of trying to get pregnant, it’s not something you want to hear.”~K.