Guest blog by Chloe Bennet, a relationship blogger at Online Assignment Help and UK Writings websites.
It can be difficult to know how to support a friend who is infertile, especially if you yourself are fertile, or have no experience with infertility. It takes time, willingness, and patience to learn what you need to and understand how to support them without offering them unhelpful advice. Even if you have the best intentions, you may inadvertently say something that is insensitive or hurtful. Here are some things you should avoid saying or doing to your friend or family member who is infertile so you can be more supportive.
Don’t Assume You Can’t Help Because You’re Not Infertile
People may assume that they can’t empathize in the right way to their friend who is struggling with infertility, but that is far from the truth. Whether you have personal experience with a certain struggle or not, it is inevitably different from everyone’s experience since everyone has different life situations. Additionally, everyone handles struggles differently so even if something worked for you, it doesn’t mean it would be helpful for someone else.
What you can do instead is tell your friend that you’re not sure what to do or say to support them, and ask them what they need from you. Some people may not want to talk about it, but need support in other ways, and others may wish to discuss it. Veronica Ritz, a relationship blogger at State of Writing and EliteAssignmentHelp, recommends that you “be available for them, and listen when they tell you what are helpful things for you to say and do. Don’t be afraid to dive into some research about infertility, including any treatments that your friend is looking into so that you have the necessary information when your friend wants to talk.”
Share News of Your Pregnancy with them
Hearing about a new pregnancy or talk of your babies can be difficult for your infertile friend, but don’t make the mistake of keeping this information secret. Instead, tell them about your pregnancy but do it in a way that allows them to keep their initial thoughts and reactions private, such as by email. Afterward, follow up by asking them if they’re interested in hearing about your pregnancy or baby news. They may be interested and happy for you, but they may also choose to want to avoid that subject. Because everyone feels differently about it, the best thing to do is ask, and respect their decision. With that being said, make sure that if you do talk about your pregnancy you’re careful to avoid complaining about it, or only talking about it. That can be quite insensitive and difficult for an infertile friend to hear.
Don’t Give Advice and Propose Solutions
It’s clear there are many options available to those who are fertility challenged, and it’s clear you want to help your friend. You may have researched their options and discovered an exciting fertility treatment, or heard about a healthy lifestyle and diet, or even think that they should just relax and it will happen. Unfortunately, giving advice like this can come off as condescending, like you’ve assumed they’re not doing their research or trying all the options they can. The truth is, this is a complicated issue which fertility experts still have difficulty addressing for every couple. Trust that they are doing the research and following up with their doctors about their options. Be available to give advice only if they ask for it. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Karen Combs, a psychologist at Big Assignments and OXEssays, asks that you try to “avoid asking them about IVF, because of the reasons above but also because IVF is often not covered by insurance and may be too expensive for many couples to consider.”
Don’t Ask About Adoption
For the same reason, don’t tell them to just look at adoption. It’s not a simple process or a cheap one and has many complex emotional and practical issues associated with it. Adoption does not make infertility a less painful process.
Infertility is a complicated issue which is never easy to navigate. The important thing is to support your friend in the way they need you to; validate and understand their feelings, and refrain from giving unsolicited advice.
Chloe Bennet is a relationship blogger at Online Assignment Help and UK Writings websites. She writes about long distance relationships, fertility and family life. Also, Chloe teaches grammar at Write My Papers.