When someone is suffering from infertility, they may have any number of feelings, from being ashamed and embarrassed, to simply hurting because of circumstances you may not know about.
Perhaps they’ve had a miscarriage or just started seeking help and are trying to figure it all out. They may not want people probing or asking questions.
It’s important to let the person going through the infertility communicate how support is most helpful – and to what extent – they are in need. If they want to talk about it, most likely they will bring it up when the timing is right. This is a fragile topic with many layers of emotions. And most friends and family don’t quite understand the depth of that unless they have gone through it as well.
Be mindful of the treatment process and that it is a daily struggle.
It is not something most patients think about every now and then; it is something that consumes daily life and is thought about incessantly.
Let your loved one teach you how to support them best. You can ask what they need or want and how to comfort them.
Some want to share with people and some prefer a “silent cycle.” A silent cycle refers to couples that prefer privacy during the process and choose not to share what they are undergoing or when they are doing it.
This allows them to manage their own expectations and emotions without having to worry about friend’s or family’s expectations or emotions. There is no right or wrong path for the patient to choose. It is ideal for friends and family to be respectful, compassionate and available for whatever path their loved one chooses.
If you have kids, make sure your friendship with them does not revolve around you talking about your kids. It’s not that you have to hide them, just be mindful that this is a painful topic. Try to converse about other topics while they’re going through treatment.
You also have to evaluate your level of friendship. If you’re not really close to the person, then most likely, asking about it is not a good idea.
Well-intentioned people can often say hurtful things without meaning to. Sometimes, not saying anything at all to someone who is suffering from infertility is better than saying something “wrong”. Most of the time, there’s unfortunately nothing you could say that’s going to make the other person feel better about their situation. Some of the common pitfalls are “It will happen when it’s supposed to,” “Stop trying so hard, it will happen,” “Don’t stress about it.”
Saying “I’m here for you,” “I’m thinking about you,” “Is there anything you’d like to do together?” are great.
Try to avoid “How are you doing?” because the answer is most likely “terrible.”
Don’t interject “when it’s the right time…” because it’s going to create anger and resentment.
So when a friend or loved one is suffering from infertility, just play the role of listener when and if they’re ready to talk about it. But most importantly, try to engage them in actions and DO something other than talk about their infertility, which is pretty much on their minds 24/7. You can simply say something like “I know you’ve got a lot on your plate. I’m not going to ask because I want to give you your space, but I’m willing – and happy – to listen any time you need to talk.”
About Tara Joyner, LPC
When Tara was an undergraduate at Texas A&M, she worked in a women’s health facility processing difficult topics with patients. Later, she moved into clinical research while in graduate school. There she discovered her passion for women’s health and the associated emotional components. This motivated her to go to into private practice.
Tara began seeing a variety of patients in her practice. Having gone through infertility herself where she had in vitro resulting in twins, she became involved with a fertility clinic and became a fervent advocate helping people through their process.
With her firsthand experience and training, she found that she had the necessary level of empathy and knowledge of all the acronyms and industry terms, nurturing people as they navigate the waters.
Contact Information : http://www.TaraJoynerLPC.com
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