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For couples who are struggling to conceive, May is a particularly challenging time of year. Take some time to recognize and support women facing infertility, not just on Mother’s Day but year-round as well. Whether it’s for someone you know personally or for the whole community at large, simple gestures that show you care could mean a lot. Here are some ways you can provide emotional support to women and couples coping with infertility.
Infertility is a difficult struggle for those working through it and telling them to relax isn’t helpful. Instead, just let them know that you are there for support. The truth is no two people go through infertility in the same way. Rather than offering up how you would feel in a similar situation, let your friend or loved one express how they feel.
Instead of relying on the subtle nudge of a national holiday, schedule time with a friend to talk openly about motherhood. You can let her share her real thoughts and feelings and personal story. The goal is making sure you two understand the scope of your conversation and have a comfortable place to chat – the release may be just what she needs.
Consider sending your friend a simple, thoughtful note. A text or email is, instinctively, what we’re going to want to send, but put pen to paper and send a real note. Let them know you’re thinking about them during this time. It is important for your support to be as visible as possible, and not just assumed. You never know how much a small gesture can make a big difference in your friend’s journey.
Beyond the proven physiological benefits of a good laugh, it simply feels good to help someone take their mind off their worries and let loose a little. If you have a friend or family member that is struggling with infertility, consider taking them to a comedy club, rent a silly movie, or do a comedy TV-show marathon. The healing power of a night full of laughs is undeniable.
Infertility can be emotionally and physically exhausting, so consider pairing up and indulging in a few activities to take her mind off her concerns, if only for a few hours. Go shopping, get a manicure or pedicure, visit the spa and enjoy a massage, attend a sporting event or concert, or even plan a weekend getaway in a luxurious destination. Make her feel special and appreciated on this day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), infertility affects roughly 10% of women in the United States aged 15-44. By working with local community groups, posting fertility awareness links and articles on your social media feed, and collectively offering as much support as possible for those in need, you’ll incrementally increase the world’s awareness of infertility.
Don’t hesitate to celebrate the important mothers in your life all year long, but make sure to also think about all the women and couples out there who are currently struggling to conceive. The gift of support, compassion, and concern is the greatest one of all and will outlive any box of chocolate or bouquet of roses.