As a friend or family member of a loved one suffering from infertility, it can be challenging to know how to handle the situation.
These are common questions that friends and family face when trying to support their loved ones.
Admittedly, this can be a slippery slope!
Say too little and they may think you don’t care. Say too much and they feel like you’re being pushy or insensitive.
So, how can you best comfort someone going through fertility treatments or even just coming to terms with their own infertility?
First off, it’s important to understand that this is a very personal experience for people. No two couples will handle it in the exact same way. Not only does every couple have different circumstances, but also different treatment plans and outcomes.
Additionally, some people feel embarrassed or ashamed of their situation, like something is wrong with them. Pushing can only cause more hurt rather than providing the intended support. Much of this depends where they are in the process.
For example, if a couple is just starting their journey, it’s not uncommon to feel like it’s their fault and to have some shame associated with the diagnosis. They look at everyone around them who doesn’t have any problem getting pregnant and feel like they’re somehow “broken.”
At this stage, there’s little, if anything that you can say to make them feel better about the situation. It’s important to just let them know you’re there to support them if and when they want to talk, but that you don’t want to pry because you know it’s a very personal experience.
Perhaps they’ve had a successful treatment plan and do get that positive pregnancy test, but then miscarry. In some cases, you may know of the positive pregnancy and miscarriage. In other cases, you may only know part of the story.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of landmines to navigate and a lot of points that can cause deep pain and hurt. Everyone processes those situations differently. Some people shut down in order to cope. Others open up.
Even people that are open about other areas in their lives are often very private when it comes to matters of their fertility struggle.
For couples later in the journey, they may reach out to certain people but wish to keep things under wraps when it comes to others. Just remember, it’s not personal. It’s just how they are coping with the situation, and it’s how they need to handle it.
Read the rest of the chapter Supporting Friends & Family Through Infertility on Fertility & Beyond.
Fertility & Beyond was written to initiate the conversation about infertility. The author shares a bit of her personal experience with infertility. Thinking of supporting friends and family through infertility? You could buy the book for them!