Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples, according to Resolve. Yes, that’s 1 in 8. It’s a condition that doesn’t care about who you are, what job you have, or how much money is (or isn’t) in your bank account. It affects both men and women and the truth is, with numbers like “1 in 8,” chances are someone close to you is struggling.
When you’re dealing with infertility, you tend to be all in — fully invested with your heart and body. Infertility can be devastatingly hard on relationships as one navigates through feelings of guilt, jealousy, brokenness, shame, frustration, sadness, grief, anger and loss.
Friendships can suffer as a result, but they don’t have to.
Here are seven suggestions of things you can say to a friend who is struggling to conceive that can bring the two of you closer together.
1) “I am so sorry you are going through this.”
Simply hearing someone acknowledge that trying to conceive isn’t easy can make a world of difference. Compassionate words like this, laced with empathy and not attempted answers, are powerful.
2) “I care.”
Letting your friend know their journey matters to you too, is important. These words remind her that she is not alone. Even if you can’t relate entirely, you are by her side.
3) “I am here for you whenever you want to talk.”
People often want to avoid the topic of infertility because it can be uncomfortable to enter into someone’s intimate sorrow. But checking in with your friend will allow her time to vent or process emotions with you.
Infertility is one of the major subjects in her life, and dancing around it can turn a valued friendship into one that feels inauthentic. So let her know that you are willing to listen whenever she is ready to talk.
4) “What can I do for you?”
If you know of an upcoming procedure or surgery, offer to bring over a meal. If you know your friend just had a miscarriage, bring over a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine, and be willing to sit with her on the couch with tissues.
If you know the medication that month is kicking her butt, see if you can watch her children for an afternoon. It’s great when you ask and even better when you offer a specific way to help. More often than not, your friend will reply that she doesn’t need anything, but don’t assume that this will be the case.
5) “Can you tell me about …”
Take the time to ask your friend about the process of what she is going through. Be invested in the details, even if they don’t make much sense to you or you have a hard time understanding it all. It’s okay to let her know that you might not identify with it all, but that you want to know what life looks like from her shoes.
6) “You are stronger than you will ever realize.”
Acknowledge the hardship that’s in front of her and feed her heart with words of encouragement. Take the time to recognize and verbalize that not everyone could go through the heartache like she is, continuing to fight every day for the hope of starting or growing her family. It takes a tough, courageous woman to sacrifice so much for the dream of a child.
7) “I will hold onto your hope when you are having a hard day.”
I will never forget the day my friend told me this. I was particularly defeated and wondered if our prayers would ever be answered and if our dreams would ever come true. With this simple sentence, she gave me the freedom to drop my chin for an evening, cry, and believe that someone else was holding onto the hope for me when I was simply too weary.
The greatest gift you can give your friend during this time is compassion and genuine care. Don’t be afraid to encourage her and tell her you think she’ll be a great mom some day. The simple knowledge that she is being backed with love by people she cares about is a blessing in an exhausting journey.
From The Stork® OTC: If you or someone you know are struggling with infertility, there are some over-the-counter treatments available. The Stork® OTC is one option which uses cervical cap insemination to help sperm bypass the vaginal tract and get as close as possible to the cervix to optimize the chances of pregnancy.
The Stork® OTC is available at several retailers as well as at select store locations for Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy.
To learn more about The Stork® OTC and to see if it is a good option for you, visit: www.storkotc.com.