Infertility can be one of the most isolating struggles we face as women.
When it’s the first time trying to get pregnant, miscarriages after a successful pregnancy, or any other scenario, it’s hard. Hard to explain to friends and family, hard to deal with personally, hard to scroll through social media where it seems everyone is getting pregnant.
My personal story of becoming a mom is the complete opposite; he was an absolute miracle of a surprise for a woman with an IUD in place. So when a close friend struggled with getting pregnant, I felt like I had no way to help. My Italian instincts said to make a lasagna, but really what else? What could I possibly say or do that could comfort her even a tiny bit when I had no idea what she was going through?
Luckily an amazing network of women shared what they thought, felt, and wished people would have done when they struggled with infertility.
Here are some suggestions to support someone with infertility:
- Let Her Talk– If she wants to talk about what’s going on, just listen. Don’t interrupt, don’t try to say you understand, just listen. Let her share what she’s going through, what she’s feeling, anything she wants to share.
- “I Don’t Want To Talk About It.”– Then don’t talk about it. Talk about ANYTHING else. She may need a break from what is consuming her thoughts every other minute of the day. Great conversation starters can be places we wish we had gone on spring break in college, why do Oreos have to have calories, or what movie should you go see together.
- Go To The Movies– Or hiking. Or get pedicures. Or anything that you both enjoy doing together that will keep her busy and feel “normal”. She will always be your friend and a person first (and hopefully a mommy second) so go do things that your friend loves to do.
- What Not To Say– “It will happen” “Don’t worry” “Just relax” “Well, you can always try again” While all of these are well-meaning statements, the group of moms unanimously said all of these were hurtful in some way. Sometimes saying less is more.
- Make Connections– Gently offer any connections that you may know about. Maybe there are secret Facebook infertility groups that you can share. Maybe you know someone who went through this and wants to support other women. As much as we want to help, connecting your friend with others who are going through or who have gone through the same struggle may help her to feel less alone.
- Make A Lasagna– Because who doesn’t want lasagna? There will be some days that she is not going to want to adult and cook dinner so having food in the freezer is amazing. Make small servings of a few favorite meals that freeze well. And maybe a pint of ice cream…
Most of all, just be there. Text her, call her, keep reaching out even on the days it may seem she doesn’t want to respond. Let her know you want to be there to help in any way possible. And don’t forget forks for the lasagna.