Infertility is a difficult thing to experience. Months go by with raised hopes that are dashed over and over, and for some couples, there are no answers or solutions, or they can't afford to seek help. If you know that someone in your life is suffering from infertility, here are a few handy phrases you should keep out of your conversations.
This is a super-popular thing for people to tell someone fighting infertility, but telling someone to relax can actually stress them out. Don't do it. It shows you don't understand their struggles and that you really don't know how it all works.
This puts the blame on one partner or the other when that person may already be feeling guilt for having a medical issue that is contributing to an infertility problem. It's hurtful and rude. Also, often there is no medical reason conception isn't happening.
If someone is experiencing secondary infertility (meaning they are unable to get pregnant a second-plus time), the hurt is still there. If you minimize your friend's or family member's feelings by telling them to appreciate what they have, it shows that you think their feelings are not valid.
This is another way to show someone that you don't consider their feelings to be worthwhile. While adoption (or other paths to parenthood) is an option for some families, each person or couple has their own reasons for pursuing pregnancy that are likely not up for argument or discussion.
This is a pro-level attempt at minimizing another person's experience. While there are things that are worse, this doesn't mean your friend shouldn't be completely bummed about her circumstances.
Infertility is a medical issue, not part of a package of punishment meant to be doled out by a higher power.
For many people with infertility, they would trade any of these in a heartbeat.
This is wonderful, of course, but for someone dealing with month after month of heartbreak, it's like rubbing salt in a wound.
Instead of doling out these unhelpful, hurtful phrases (even if you mean well, which you likely do), take time to listen if your friend wants to share, and if she doesn't, accept that by not prying into what can be a deeply personal issue. A shoulder to lean on will mean so much for your friend, and don't feel that if you're not offering advice or solutions that your presence isn't valuable. If you keep these few tidbits out of your convos, it can help your friend not feel so alone.
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