Chances are if you’re of childbearing age, you have, or will have a friend who has a difficult time getting pregnant or experiences infertility. During this emotionally difficult time, the couple will need a great deal of love and support. Keep reading to learn five best ways to, “be there” without, “being in the way”.
Offer Help Once, Then Lay Low. Express your sincere support for the couple and let them know that you’ll be there to help them in any way you can. Ask them if there is anything they need, then stay out of their business and let them come to you if they need help. Constant offers to “Help” or questions about what you can do to “Make things better” may be interpreted the wrong way, and in fact, might make the couple feel worse. The last thing you want to do, is make the couple feel like something is “wrong” with them, or make them wonder if you offer because you pity them.
Show Support Silently. Don’t talk about babies, or pregnancy, or ask the couple about their infertility unless they bring it up. The woman trying to conceive is already thinking about her infertility 24 hours a day. If she wants, or needs to talk to you, she will come to you. Some women find it therapeutic to talk about what’s going on physically and emotionally, while others will want to process their infertility in private with their partner. You probably know your friend well enough to know if she’ll want to talk to not. Keep in mind that a woman experiencing extreme emotional duress may become more withdrawn during this sensitive time, don’t take it personally.
Don’t Offer Unsolicited Fertility Advice. If you’re not an OB/GYN or fertility specialist, don’t offer your advice about how to conceive. Everyone and their brother will be sharing, “old wives tales” about ways to conceive as soon as they hear the couple is trying to get pregnant. Each couple is different and the types of treatments and technologies they use will have different results. Just because IVF worked for your cousin, does not mean that you should recommend IVF to the couple. Leave the fertility advice and referrals to the medical professionals.
Don’t Be Overly Optimistic or Pessimistic. Be mindful about saying things like, “If it doesn’t work out…” or “When you get pregnant…”. Naturally, your friend will want to believe you when you say, “Don’t worry, you’ll definitely get pregnant!” Try to be upbeat and realistic at the same time. Leave the fortune telling, and, dream interpretations for Ms. Cleo. Don’t create undue stress by being too positive, or too doubtful.
Keep Her Mind Occupied. Lend her a good book, rent her a few comedy DVDs, ask her out for a lunch date, or take her on a day trip. Women who are trying to conceive often ruminate on their inability to get pregnant and can easily become depressed. Make sure that your friend is getting out of the house frequently and spending time with friends and loved ones. If you have any reason to believe that your friend is becoming depressed, please encourage her to see her doctor or therapist right away. Depression is a serious illness.
Infertility can be one of the most difficult and frustrating experiences that couples face. Follow the above tips and you’ll be able to show your love and support to the couple trying to get pregnant without seeming overzealous or making them feel pitied or helpless.