So your friend opened up to you and shared that she’s having problems getting pregnant. (And if you’re a good friend, this will happen. Infertility is way more common than you probably think). Your first instinct is probably, ‘Crap! What do I say? What do I do to help her?’ As a member of the infertility club, I’m here to give you some tips and tricks! Things I wish the people around me had said or done.
Disclaimer: We know infertility is hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it first hand. We also know it can be super awkward to talk about (sperm, vaginas and sex, oh my!). The fact that someone is telling you about their infertility struggles just means they need a trusting place to vent!
Let’s start with some things to do:
- Listen! We need someone other than our husband/partner to talk to!
- Listen well! There’s nothing worse than having to re-explain procedures and diagnoses over and over. Try to pay attention and actually understand what is going on with your friend’s journey.
- Do some quick research. A quick Google search will give you more than enough information to fully understand your friend’s upcoming IUI, or HSG test. Your friend will be thrilled you spent the time to try and understand!
- Unexpected friend mail is the best! Snacks, bubble bath, fun socks (for all those dates with the stirrups), even just a simple card! All are amazing and all are appreciated.
- Just being aware. Certain social events and holidays are hard. Being understanding and aware of these triggers is huge. Don’t be hurt if your friend doesn’t come to your baby shower. She’s still so happy for you! She’s just sad for herself.
Here’s some things to try and avoid:
- Giving advice. Unless you’ve gone through the same things, try to just not to give advice. We know you’re trying to help, but it doesn’t help. Trust me, we’ve tried it all. Duh, temping sounds better than painful procedures and spending thousands of dollars. But that doesn’t work for everyone.
- Telling other people about your friends struggles. Just don’t. That’s so rude and we aren’t in high school. Not everyone is as open about this as I personally am.
- Comparing your 4 months of trying to her years of trying. Again, not the same, and not kind. It’s ok that you got pregnant easily. We wish we could too!
- Complaining about your kids/messy house/lack of sleep. We are dying for those things.
- Tell her about adopting. We know! This not only makes adopting look easy (which it isn’t, and it’s not for everyone), it also makes her feel guilty that by following her biological instinct to reproduce, she’s being selfish. You adopt! Adopting shouldn’t be the sole responsibility for infertile people.
- If you become pregnant, don’t avoid her or purposely not tell her. That’s hurtful. Also telling her in person is a little much. I suggest a thoughtful text message explaining that you wanted to share, but wanted to be respectful. Again, if she’s a good friend, she’s going to be happy for you. Just sad for herself.
These me are just a few little tips and tricks I’ve experienced along the way. It’s hard to go through infertility and I’m sure it’s hard to know what to do or say to a person experiencing it! It’s even been hard at times for my mom and I. She was super fertile, and just doesn’t always know what to say. And that’s ok! Just having the support is really what we need most.