So there are a million and one articles about what not to say to friends facing Infertility. These included everything from, "God has a plan" to "You can have my kids." Although these articles are generally correct in their assumptions of what infertile couples don't want to hear, I would like to propose a twist to the conventional article…
What about what they WANT to hear? Aren't there things that an infertile woman (or man) would want to hear from people?
As a woman with two children from a previous marriage and having faced infertility trouble to conceive both of my kids I know there are! As I sit now typing this article I can say I am currently facing the infertility path yet again. I remarried several years ago and in the past three years my husband and I have yet to conceive. Let me tell you…the pain of infertility does not get easier if you have other children. I have heard all the cliche things over the last three years. And being a woman who is absolutely open about my infertility more than enough people have offered their "advice" through our multiple treatments.
As I sat next to my husband last night, I got to thinking of what (if anything) would be helpful for my friends or family to say while walking with me through this dark and painful journey. Here is my list of top things to say to a friend faced with infertility no matter where they are in the journey (and it IS a journey).
1. "I cannot imagine the hurt you are feeling, but please know I am here for you." This simple statement will ease some of the pain your friend is feeling. If she is just starting her journey she will come back to your comment and will likely call on you to listen along the way.
2. "Kids are a blessing and I can totally understand why your heart desires one (or another one)." In saying this you are not dismissing her heartfelt yearning for a child, and that can be very moving when you are looking at a pathway to get to your dreams.
3. "When you have your baby I want to be the one to help with your baby shower or anything else you might need help with." The optimal word in this statement is WHEN, do not use the word IF. In her heart she needs to believe that other people believe that it is not an IF but a WHEN.
4. "You and your husband are going to have the most beautiful baby ever!" Again, she needs her friends to believe that their dreams of a baby will come true. The power of positive thinking, right?
5. "I love you." When you are a woman with female infertility problems it is devastating to your womanhood. You beat yourself up over and over about not being able to do the basic function that a woman should be able to do. Just knowing someone loves you is always a help when you are hurting.
6. "If I had the extra $10,000 you need for In-vitro Fertilization I would give it to you." The financial strain that infertility puts on most couples is tremendous and just knowing that someone would help if they could help is nice.
7. "I will pray for your miracle baby." Faith is the only thing that gets most couples through this painful journey and sharing a prayer may be just what she needs.
I could go on and on and probably list a hundred things to say and even more to not say. These are just a few of the things that my friends and family members have said that have helped me during our treatments. If a woman opens up to you about infertility it is because she trusts you. Please do not judge her for her hearts desire. This is not a path I would want anyone to have to go down, but 1 in 8 couples will. Those couples will need the support and love from their friends more than you will ever know.
Will Smith said, "If you are absent during my struggle, do not expect to be present during my success." Be present for friends who are facing infertility, the rewards will know no bounds!