Did you know that according to The National Infertility Association RESOLVE, one in eight couples in the USA need some form of help to conceive a baby. That’s pretty high and very surprising. So the chances are that at least one of your friends or relatives may be facing this distressing issue right now.
It’s not easy supporting someone with infertility issues – especially if you are pregnant yourself. Do you ask them about it? Do you keep quiet for fear of upsetting them? It’s a minefield. If you’re in this situation, here are a few ideas of how to support them.
Don’t try to make light of it
Because it can make you feel uncomfortable talking to someone you know has fertility difficulties, one common way of dealing with it is to try and ‘jolly them along’ or not appear as if you’re taking their problem seriously. That might make you feel better but it can be very hurtful for your friend.
If you are pregnant – don’t complain
This sounds like a no-brainer but it’s a common issue reported in forums by infertile women. On the one hand, it’s a compliment to your friend that you feel relaxed enough in her company to be totally honest. However, this is one of those occasions when honesty is not the best policy. You have to take a deep breath before venting about the various discomforts that you’re enduring. Before you speak, just remember that your friend would so dearly love to be facing the pregnancy problems that you have.
Try not to avoid her
If you’ve been feeling particularly uncomfortable around your friend you may have found yourself withdrawing from her company. This is natural and understandable but try and imagine it from her point of view. If all of her friends acted as you are doing, she would be so isolated. And her fertility issues already make her feel very alone at times. Continue to keep her in your life as you do with your other friends.
Be understanding and cut her some slack
If your friend feels unable to attend a baby shower, don’t give her a hard time. Let her dictate the pace. Some days she may be ok to do that but on other days it might feel an unbearable occasion to face. If she declines – that’s fine. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to give her a call or drop in for coffee with some awesome cupcakes. Sometimes you don’t need words.
Be a shoulder to cry on
You probably know that your friend is going through an intensely emotional and difficult time. Let her know that you’re happy to talk with her and then leave her to take the lead. Emotional support is vital and will maintain your friendship more than anything else. If she wishes to talk about her treatment, that’s great – but don’t try to offer other suggestions, such as ‘Oh I heard that if you…’ Your friend is having a tough enough time without you disrespecting or questioning the treatment from Physicians that she trusts.
Support her in her decisions
If she decides to go for IVF, be there for her. It’s a challenging treatment and your support will be much appreciated. If she decides to use a surrogate or gestational carrier, be enthusiastic with her. If she thinks adoption is the best choice, ask how you can help. Don’t ever question her decisions or offer alternatives because you can bet that she’s done a lot of soul searching to make her choice.
Just be there
A lot of people underestimate the power of a friend just being available. It can be a point of normality in your friend’s life, when all else is so very abnormal for her. For your friend to know that you are there for her can ease the situation and be very helpful.
The Colorado Center for Egg Donation offers a comprehensive donor and recipient program for those in need. There are several offices – one in Parker serving Denver, one in Castle Rock, and there is an office in Rapid City as well. Call (720) 390-3931 today!