LOVING SOMEONE WITH INFERTILITY

DO:

  • Listen instead of giving advice
  • Ask how she would like to be supported
  • Offer to be involved in whichever ways feel best to her
  • Respect her wishes for privacy and needs for space
  • Honor her choices regarding who she’d like to share with and who she’d prefer to keep at some distance
  • Trust her instincts and decisions
  • Continue one-way contact and reassure her that you don’t need a response
  • Support her timeline
  • Admit that you feel helpless
  • Offer to help her find support
  • Seek out your own education and support
  • Sit with your own feelings
  • Be gentle with yourself as you process your own feelings about her struggle


Helpful things to say:

  • “I’m so sorry this is happening.”
  • “I love you and I’m here for you.”
  • “This feels so unfair.”
  • “You deserve a family.”
  • “Would you like some distraction?”
  • "I’m here to listen, whenever you need me.”
  • “How is this impacting you emotionally/spiritually/physically?”
  • “Would you like to talk about it?  Or would you prefer time alone?”
  • “Can I ________?” (Instead of asking, “what can I do?,” be specific. Ask, “Can I come over sit with you while you cry? Give you a hug? Treat you to a pedicure or massage?”)
  • “It sounds like you’re doing everything right/being so thoughtful in your decision-making/consulting with the best people.”
  • “I trust the decisions your making.”
  • “If you’re feeling hopeless, I’ll hold hope for you.”


DON’T:

  • Try to change her emotional state, cheer her up, or convince her to feel anything different
  • Make promises or predictions
  • Don’t assume she has the same spiritual perspective or beliefs as you
  • Talk to her about your parenting problems or complain about your pregnancy
  • Let her be blindsided by news of a pregnancy or baby shower. Have these conversations one on one.
  • Suggest lifestyle changes
  • Share stories about other people’s infertility journeys
  • Ask for constant updates
  • Imply life is easier without kids
  • Suggest alternative options to her treatment decisions


Please don’t say:

  • “Just relax/go on vacation/have a glass of wine/meditate/stop trying/chart your temperature/have more sex, and it will happen.”
  • “You’re stressing about it too much!”
  • “Everything happens for a reason."
  • “God has a plan.”
  • “It will happen, I know it!”
  • “You focused on your career too long.”
  • “Have you tried _________?”
  • “You’re so lucky that you can travel/have fun/sleep as long as you want.”
  • “At least you know you can get pregnant/you already have one child, you have a partner who loves you, you have a family that cares about you/you have a career.”
  • “Have you considered adoption?”
  • “Isn’t it time to move on?”
  • “Now that you’re finally pregnant, just enjoy it!”