Infertility is a very sensitive topic for everyone. How can you handle it tactfully? The pain of a couple going through years of trying to have a child is hard for them and sad for you. It’s especially painful when the couple is your dearest and closest friends. What can you do to be sensitive and supportive? You want to show how much you care, but it’s not easy to know what’s the right thing to say and do. You can easily say the wrong thing and come off insensitive and rude. If friend or loved one is struggling with infertility, here are a few helpful ways to let them know how much you care. But first how much do you know about infertility?
What is infertility
Infertility is generally defined as not being able to get pregnant after 1 year of unprotected sex. Most experts recommend visiting a fertility specialist at this point. Because fertility in women is known to decline steadily with age, some providers evaluate and treat women aged 35 years or older after 6 months of unprotected sex.CDC
Do your own research to learn about infertility
See what the experts say. Not only does learning about infertility educate you, it will also let your friends know that you care enough to look up the information and read up on it, instead of waiting for them to explain it to you. Not only is this an act of caring, it can also provide you with some information on treatments that they may not know about.
Of course, you don’t want to run off a fact sheet. Wait for the right moment to add what you know about available treatments. This may help your friends explore other options with their doctor. In addition, knowing right off the bat what they’re talking about can help them feel freer about opening up to have a real conversation with you. Talking about infertility is hard enough when you have to explain and describe the situation. Your being familiar with the process, treatments, and terminology can make a big difference in having supportive conversations.
Acknowledge their infertility on important days
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be especially rough on a couple trying to conceive. No matter if this is their first child or second. The pain of not being able to add to the family as hoped is more than some can bear, especially on these types of days.
It’s always a lovely act of kindness to acknowledge a friend with a gift to make her feel loved and understood. Whether it’s a flower delivery or something more sentimental such as infertility support gifts at laurelbox, sending a gift always lifts the spirits and shows you care. Sending gifts is also a great option when friends and loved ones are far away and you can’t to offer comfort in person. Isolation for everyone is hard especially in these days of Pandemic fear. Couples also may be isolating themselves out of anxiety about being asked how treatment is going. When you send a gift, you let them know you’re with someone in spirit.
Ask how you can be supportive
Sometimes being asked what you need is support that a friend is looking for. Going through infertility can make you feel so alone and defeated. Asking a friend, “How can I help” offers specific support. You friend may need a call every week, or to meet up for a cup of coffee. Asking how you can help someone get through tough times is a sign of validation and shifts the focus from being alone to being included. In the end, we all want to be heard. Feelings are meaningful and valid even if they don’t seem important to you.
Asking how you can help may not work for people who are isolating and in pain. When you don’t get a real answer, you can check in periodically and continue to offer help so your friend knows there is support system in place. When you know the facts about infertility and offer to help a struggling friend, you provide a safe space for friendship to do its magic. Sharing the love feeds everyone.