How To Help Your Friend

Today is my birthday and a crucial part of my cycle, and I need to take my mind off of it.

A while ago, I posted the Infertility Etiquette article (which I still think is amazing and everyone should know about).

When one in eight or ten couples struggle with infertility, whether primary or secondary, people need to know that saying certain things when they know of the situation can just cause more pain and suffering for the couple struggling.

I had a lot of people tell me that it is insensitive to pregnant women, saying they shouldn’t complain or things like that because they could hurt an infertile’s feelings and no one should have to censor themselves.

I wrote Pregnancy vs Infertility after I thought about it for a long time, and got some amazing responses.  I know that pregnant women need to vent and I know that pregnancy is uncomfortable and tiring and so much more, and it is almost like a catch 22 between those that don’t think they should have to worry about an infertile’s feelings and an infertile crying because they cannot experience what their friend is experiencing, even at its hard points.

Because I have experienced pregnancy and then infertility and loss, I am more attuned to being able to understand the pain.  I don’t understand the pain of women that have never had children, or people that have medical treatments to try to conceive, or families that try for more than two years and have no success.

We are on our 23rd cycle, we have had two losses, at about six/seven weeks, and I don’t like synthetics and am trying to use herbs to regulate and find out what is wrong with us.  I only know what we have experienced, but have so much love for those that are going through infertility and the struggle to have hope and dejection every month.

I truly wish there was more understanding around infertility.  To not feel like a pariah when I am around other people because they just found out about our struggles, or when they ask me why we don’t have another and I’m not comfortable enough to talk about our situation.

I have found great support on twitter and through a few of my friends, and the one thing that truly helps more than anything else is knowing there are there when I need to cry out my frustration, or cry because I miss my babies, or need to vent because another one of my friends is pregnant and I’m not.

If you know someone going through this, or suspect they are, or just know, be there for them.  They need more support than ever just to stay sane, not only to keep their marriage okay through the struggle.

No one knows that they will go through infertility (well, except the special cases) so most times it comes as a really big shock to learn they might not have biological children.

Just a couple things not to do:

-Please do not tell a couple to look into adoption.  How would you feel if someone told you to just give up your ideas of having a pregnancy and a biological child that you would raise from the first minutes of its life?  Just because it is a great option for some, they need to be prepared for the idea of adoption.  It isn’t cheap, and can take years to get a child that isn’t even a newborn.  So please, do not bring it up unless they do and need to talk about it.

-Do not give advice on how to handle their treatments.  Unless you have been through it, reading information in a book truly just makes you look like an idiot when you start recommending things to an infertile couple.  Especially when you start mentioning treatments that they aren’t even close to using, like IVF.  None of it is cheap, and a lot has very low rates of pregnancy, so they have to be able to not only afford them, but be prepared for the rollar coaster that it will entail.

*****

Just remember, BE THERE FOR THEM.  Be there for them to cry to, to vent to.  Don’t try to push your ideas, don’t interrupt, just sit and listen.  Cry if you need to, hug them, bring food for them if they are having a bad day.  They may not have lost a baby, but going through month after month of disappointment takes its toll and eventually, your sanity and patience flies away, even if it is just for a few moments.

Just be there.  That is truly all that is needed.

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