The two months I was going through IVF treatment were tough. Actually, scrap that. The two years I was trying to get pregnant were tough. If you are a regular reader then you will know that I’ve had the unfortunate agony of experiencing infertility. That ‘condition’ that is hardly spoken about and yet so prominent in so many people’s lives. More people than you think.
I’ve been so lucky with my infertility journey so far and, despite the agony of waiting and the unknown, I can now say that I am pregnant thanks to the wonderful NHS in the UK and the incredible IVF process. In the two years of living with infertility I have experienced all kinds of reactions and many different comments from friends and family when discussing my struggles. Some, I’m afraid to say, have been very unhelpful and untactful, and mostly all from the people who haven’t ever struggled with infertility before and have their little bundles of joy in their arms.
It got me thinking what I was like before my experience. I didn’t have a clue what it felt like and I couldn’t ever imagine just how painful it could be. I had a couple of friends who has struggled to get pregnant, and whilst I thought I was comforting them, in hindsight I probably wasn’t. After going through it myself, here is a list of things to say and not to say to anyone you know who is going through this terribly tough, emotional time.
If your loved one has confided in you then chances are, they probably want to talk about it. Ask them how they are feeling and if they are going through IVF, ask what the process involves. When I was going through it my closest friends who knew I was doing it never asked me a single thing on what I was experiencing. I was desperate to talk about it with them but didn’t have them to confide in. Luckily, I have a handful of close work friends (non of whom have children like my other friends do) who were always asking me about everything. They may not have understood all the emotions I was experiencing but having them there and being able to talk about what I was going through felt so good.
If they are flaky or if they pull out of a social commitment then don’t be annoyed. It takes a lot of courage to put on a brave face when your dreaded period has arrived and sometimes only home comforts will do. Especially if children are due to be there. And on that note…
Don’t send them photos of your children to cheer them up
I had this many times. They may love your kids but it just reminds them of what they don’t have. If you want to send them something to cheer them up then send a funny GIF or video.
Don’t tell them to ‘relax, forget about it and it will happen’ or ask if they are doing ‘it’ right
I had this SO many times. It’s not helpful.
Keep the invitations coming
Like I said, be prepared for a decline or a late pull out but don’t stop inviting them altogether. When I was going through IVF the invitations suddenly stopped. I can only presume people didn’t think I would be feeling up to it…. either that or no one went out!
Don’t tell them stories of your friend’s sister’s husband’s cousin who managed to get pregnant after trying something new. If it didn’t happen to you then don’t share.
Don’t Lose Contact
Text them and check in often. Even if it’s just a ‘thinking of you’ text. It really means a lot.
Have you experienced infertility or helped anyone who has? Do you have any tips to add?