In honor of this week being Infertility awareness week I wanted to write a little something for those of you who may know a good friend or family member struggling with infertility.
1. Don't say "Just relax, it will happen." You have no idea how many times a week your friend has to hear this from everyone else, she does not need to hear it from her bestie too. Don't you think she has tried that? "Relaxing" is not going to magically fix infertility. And you telling her to relax, will make her feel the complete opposite of relaxed.
2. Do know when she tests each month. Every single month your friend will most likely be testing to see if this is "her month," the month she has anticipated for far too long. Her month to finally be pregnant. Know when she tests each month, ask once, and then keep track so that she doesn't have to tell you every time. Then you'll also know what kind of support she will need without her asking for it.
3. Don't keep your baby's details to yourself. If you're a mom, with a new baby, I know it seems like your friend who is struggling with conceiving might not want to hear about yours... But they do. Maybe not every detail, but she wants to feel included in your life just as she was before you had a baby. She love's your baby too. Who knows, maybe holding your baby will give her hope to be one day holding her own.
4. Do support and encourage your girl friend. Let her know you are there, and that she is not going through this alone. I remember when I was going through fertility treatments one of my best friends bought me a massage. Not because she was telling me to "relax" but she was telling me, I earned it, and that I deserved it. That always stood out to me throughout the years. It made me feel like someone cared. Like they saw my pain and wanted to help ease it.
5. Don't talk about how easy it was for you to get pregnant. Trust me, this is the LAST thing your friend wants to hear right now. She already feels like a failure for not being able to get pregnant/stay pregnant, she doesn't need to hear how you got pregnant without even trying.
6. Do still make time for couples dates. Just because you have a baby and they don't, doesn't mean it's time to get new friends. Take the time to hangout like you used to. Yes she will understand if its not as often, but try to make an effort to at least do it once a month.
7. Don't pretend it's not happening. Talk about it. There is not much worse than a friend who completely avoids the topic all together. Trust me, there are enough moments where your friend has to sit in silence and think about this all by herself... Let her talk to you. Ask her how she is. Does it have to be the topic of conversation every time you see her? Definitely not, but at least show her you care enough to check on her.
8. Do know she is happy for you and your recent pregnancy announcement but that she may need a little time to digest the news. She really is excited for you. It's just her pain is too great in that moment to meet your happiness. Just give her time, and probably some space to let her sort through her sorrow and joy. The thing you have to remember is every single month she plays this moment in her head, the one where she is able to announce she is the one finally pregnant, and month after month she has say good bye to that dream. But I promise you, deep down, she is so happy your dream has come true for you, and she will soon show you that.
9. Don't assume you know her pain. Just listen to her. Let her cry, yell or just be silent. Just hug her and love her. Don't try to fix something you can't fix. She doesn't want to hear about some lady at work who had a sister who got pregnant after 4 years of infertility. I know you think this might give her hope, but it really doesn't. It just makes her feel like you really don't get her struggle.
10. Do pray. Pray for her and her husband often and fiercely. They need prayer now more than probably ever before. Not just for a baby, but for their marriage. Infertility takes such a toll on marriage. Even the strongest couples start to break after a while. If you do anything for her... let it be pray.
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