How to help someone going through Infertility

Tuesday, May 19, 2015 - 12:15
I am writing this blog for all those people who know someone going through Infertility. Before I start please let me make it clear that It is simply to try raise awareness of how your friend/family member may be feeling and it is not to point fingers at all you people, who I know simply want to help. I will be mentioning phrases and things that I feel may be hurtful to say. I know that many of you reading this, will of said these things at some point. I have probably said these things in the past too, when I had friends who were struggling to get pregnant. So please understand that it is simply to make people aware of how it makes them feel. 
 
Things not to say 
 
1. Just Relax! Telling them that they just need to relax, is possibly one of the most frustrating and hurtful things you can say. They were relaxed trying for a baby, which is why they went to the doctors when it didn't happen naturally! Telling them to just relax, is suggesting that if they did that they will just fall pregnant. There are so many reasons for a man/woman to be infertile, and if relaxing was the simple answer I for one would be pregnant by now! I am not saying it is not important to relax, because it is! However remember that you would never tell someone with cancer to just relax. Infertility is a disease. That is something we all need to remember. There are so many reasons that someone is infertile. Some will never fall pregnant, some have endometreosis, polycistic ovaries, low sperm count, problems with their tubes ect ect. So bottom line, telling them to just relax is quite insensitive! 
 
2. Start giving advice on how they could do things better. They have no doubt been in and out of the doctors, getting bloods, operations, scans for a few years. On top of that they will be doing their own research, trying new methods and techniques. I am not saying they don't want to hear good advice. If there is something that you really feel strongly to say, please say it. Just remember to think before you speak. Don't give advice, just for the sake of giving advice. I have had so many things said to me, by people who I know would never mean to hurt me. 
To sum this one up. Advice is good, if you really feel strongly about it, or have some hard evidence that it works. Don't just give advice for the sake of it though. Remember before you start handing out advice, that the person you are talking to has probably been spending the last few years doing research. Also remember that there could very well be a deeper problem that needs solving. 
 
3. Don't try and relate to their infertility. This advice goes for most cases in life. We all have this need to compare ourselves when someone is telling you something. I really feel that we all could do with learning the simple method of listening. We do not always need to compare our own lives to the situations of others. 
 
4. Don't keep your pregnancy announcements from them, in fear it will hurt them. They may feel pain at the news, but they will deal with that accordingly. They still want to know your news. Your pregnancy is not the reason why they are not pregnant. But deliver the news in a way that lets them handle their initial reaction privately – email is best.
 
5. Don't try to come up with a solution, like you can always adopt. They may never want to adopt. It is not something that they will want to hear. When the time is right, if ever that time comes, they will come to that them self. It is not a solution for not being able to conceive. 
 
6. Don't tell them you are young and have plenty time. Know the facts. It’s recommended that women under 35 see a fertility specialist after being unable to conceive for one year. Being young increases your chance of fertility treatments working, but it does not guarantee success.
 
Things to say and do 
 
1. Hug them if they cry, laugh with them to cheer them up, support them. Show you love them and do not judge them if they are just finding it hard to cope. 
 
2. Tell them you love them and that you are there for them if they need you.
 
3. Check in on them now and again. Sometimes it is really hard to get the balance right, between asking them how they are too much and then you may feel that you don't dare ask them, so you stop asking them all together. In my experience (everyone is different) I can tell you that I have really appreciated those that check in on me every now and again, just to let me know they care. Just being there, is comforting. The balance is hard though. I also can feel over crowded by too many questions. I want to feel normal and during my every day life, it is not something I would want to talk about. However now and again I am only human, and need to off load the hurt that I may be feeling. 
 
4. Attend difficult appointments with them. You can offer to stay in the waiting room or come into the appointment with them. But the offer lets them know how committed you are to supporting them.
 
5. Remember them on Mother's and Father’s Day. With all of the activity on Mother's Day and Father’s Day, people tend to forget about those who cannot become mothers and fathers. Remember your infertile friends on these days; they will appreciate knowing that you haven't forgotten them.
 
6. Do your research. Read up about infertility, and possibly treatments or other family building options your friend is considering, so that you are informed when your friend needs to talk.
 
As I said at the beginning of this blog, I know that you all mean well. I simply wanted to write this blog to raise awareness of what it is like o suffer from infertility. I am thankful to everyone who has supported me. I know it isn't always easy knowing what to say. Hopefully this blog will help a little. 
 
Thank you for reading. Please share this to help spread awareness of Infertility.