Chances are you know and love someone who is struggling to have a baby. That may look like having had one or more miscarriages, months or years of trying “the old fashioned way”, using various types of treatments, or a combination of the above. Maybe you’re reading this and YOU are that person. Either way, it’s a tough topic and no one really wants to talk about it. But we need to. Infertility is incredibly lonely and people often don’t know what to say or who to ask for support. While reproductive choices and challenges are private they don’t need to be taboo, either.
I’m going to share some of the common phrases that we have ALL likely said to someone, with the best of intentions. I will break down why they aren’t helpful or well received. I’ll also give ideas on what to say instead. Hopefully you will feel better prepared the next time you’re talking with someone who is living with infertility and you want to offer your support. This may also be helpful to share with people around you if you can tell they mean well, but it’s landing in ways that don’t feel helpful.
These are some of the most common things that people say, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.
So now that I’ve given a short list of things that aren’t all that helpful, I want to give you some suggestions on what you can say that may feel more supportive or helpful.
At the end of the day, there is no way to make infertility easy or fun. Loving someone living through it can feel helpless, frustrating or even confusing. It is a form of grief and it might be helpful to look at it that way as you think about what to say and what to do. Offer your support and allow them to take the lead on how much they want to share about their infertility journey, and when. Try your best to be understanding if they decline invitations to things like baby showers or don’t react/comment on social media birth announcements. If you’re reading this blog, it’s because you care. If you or someone you know is struggling with infertility and could benefit from working with a therapist, I can help! Check out my page on infertility counseling: https://inspiredmentalwellness.com/infertility-therapy.