There’s a shocking reality that infertility affects more people than we acknowledge. Statistically speaking, someone close to you in your circle has struggled, is struggling, or will struggle to conceive.
Globally, 48.5 million couples experience infertility.
And unless you’ve gone through something similar, infertility can seem like a daunting conversation to have. What should you say? What should you not say? It’s difficult to navigate the waters, but the level of difficulty does not mean you should avoid the conversation altogether. If you’re not sure where to begin, our team is here to help you support your loved ones through a difficult time.
Refer to Team Greetabl’s following recommendations to support your people trying to conceive (TTC):
Remember You’re NOT An Expert
We know it’s tempting to offer advice and share success stories from someone you know. Maybe you heard about a new technique on a podcast. You’ve probably tuned into an interview of a celebrity outlining their journey. Even if you think it’s helpful or inspiring, do not offer unsolicited advice unless you are asked. We understand the urge to launch into “fixer” mode. It’s natural, especially with someone you love. But if you want to be truly helpful, resist the urge.
Give Your Friend or Family Member Space to be Afraid
One of the primary emotions of infertility is fear. What if this really doesn’t happen for me? What if the treatments don’t work? What if I can never sustain a pregnancy?
If someone you love is talking about their worries and disappointments, please let them. By focusing on listening, you are providing a warm and safe space. Rerouting the conversation with, “Things will work out!” fails to validate their emotions. Instead, it unintentionally makes light of their pain.
Which transitions us nicely into our next point…
Refrain From Using These Common Phrases
Believe it or not, people actually say the following things to “comfort” someone trying to conceive. While this is not a comprehensive list, we hope this will help you understand the overarching themes you should avoid:
- “There’s always adoption.”
- “Plenty of kids need loving homes!”
- “Just relax and it’ll happen!”
- “Everything happens for a reason.”
- “If it’s meant to be, it’ll be!”
- “Things could be worse.”
- “Not every woman is meant to have a child.”
- “You have plenty of time.”
- “You’re so young!”
- “At least you can sleep in/travel/go out whenever you want.”
- “You can always do IVF”
- “Whose fault is it?”
- “Don’t give up! It’ll happen!”
- “Have you tried _______?”
- “You can have my kids! They’re driving me insane.”
- “When was your last period?”
- “I got pregnant by accident! We weren’t even trying.”
- “Have you considered losing weight?”
- “Babysit my kids and you’ll change your mind.”
- “At least you don’t have to deal with morning sickness/stretch marks/etc.”
- “But you get to have sex all the time!”
- “Having kids is hard!”
- “You get to be the ‘cool aunt’!”
- “If you’re stressed now, just wait until you have kids!”
- “Have you prayed about it?”
- “Enjoy life while you can! After you have kids, you’ll be exhausted all the time!”
- “I hated being pregnant.”
- “At least you already have a child.”
- “Have I told you about my friend’s-second-cousin’s-sister-in-law who got pregnant after trying for 5 years?” (Some people love to hear success stories, while others do not.)
It is nice to be reminded of hopeful messages, but remember toxic optimism is not a cure or solution.
Give Her Small Reminders of Your Support
Be intentional with your friend or family member who is trying to conceive. Don’t smother, but remembering the little moments will go a long way. Write down doctor’s appointments. Remember anniversaries. Create other reasons to celebrate.
Ask Your Loved One What They Need
As a whole, we are too scared and intimidated to ask about the needs of another person. Don’t assume – you know what they say about that. You can feel empowered to ask your person what is bothering them, as you’re not expected to be an expert on a pain you haven’t walked through.
Refer to Infertility Resources
Sites like The Fertility Tribe serve as an online community for those TTC. You shouldn’t join the community unless you’re struggling yourself, but reading stories and testimonies is a great way to build your empathy. Remember:
- No two stories are alike.
- Just because you read something doesn’t give you a full understanding.
- Don’t use other’s people’s stories to bombard your person.
- Quitely educate yourself in the background.
Perfect The Art of Listening
Sometimes your loved ones don’t open up about their pain because they don’t have a safe space to do so. Be their go-to listener. It’s a beautiful gift to give someone.