You don’t have to remain a silent observer when you interact with friends or family members who are struggling with fertility issues. And it is certainly not something that has to be swept under the rug or ignored. In fact, doing so can minimize the entire experience for the couple, and make them feel like no one is available for support.
If you know of a friend or couple dealing with fertility issues, it is important to be as considerate and supportive as possible. To help friends and family members understand more fully what to do and what not to do when interacting with those with fertility issues, take a look at the tips below.
What to Do
Take time to research
Spend a few minutes and try to understand what your friends are going through. The idea isn’t to become an authority on fertility but learn enough to be able to talk with the couple openly and compassionately.
Not all couples will want help, but your friends should know you are there for them. Ask them what they need. Let them know you are available to talk whenever they want. And, try to provide assistance in their greatest areas of need. For example, they may have a lot of people providing emotional support throughout their process, but do they have someone to watch the dog during fertility treatments? Simple gestures can go a long way.
Include the guys
So many people incorrectly feel that infertility is a woman’s issue. In actuality, men are often left as a silently-grieving partner in these situations, and may be just as in need of support as the female partner. Don’t push the issue, but make sure that if there is a male in the infertility equation that you offer support and love.
Minimize complaints about your situation
This is especially true if you happen to be pregnant at the same time as your friend who is experiencing fertility issues. Though you have a right to be upset about some of the rough patches in your life, realize infertility can be the biggest and most devastating challenge to anyone’s life.
What Not to Do
Don’t minimize the issue
Comments like “Relax” or “It’ll be fine, just you see…” are not helpful – but they are often a natural reaction. As compassionate individuals, we want to reassure our friends and family members there is a light at the end of the tunnel, but this can minimize their issues and create additional stress. Just be sure you are there to talk with them.
Don’t try to find their solution
We all love to solve problems for our friends, but try to refrain from statements like, “Have you ever thought about adoption, then?” Let the couple work through the full range of fertility treatments and processes that may be potentially helpful before suggesting a change in strategy.
Never ask whose fault it may be
There is no reason to ask about the “guilty party,” as “blame” is not a part of a healthy conversation about infertility. Let the doctors worry about the specific, underlying causes and concerns, and simply provide as much support as you can for the couple.
Don’t underestimate the sadness of an existing parent
Just because a couple already has a child doesn’t mean their sadness with being unable to conceive a second is any less valid. Many people feel their families are complete once they have a certain number of children, so the parents who already have a child will still feel sad about their conception issues just as first-time parents do.
There is a good chance you know someone who is working through infertility. It is really important to focus on how to provide the best emotional support to those we care about. Follow the tips above to take the first step in interacting with your friend or family member in a more compassionate manner, then visit www.redrockfertility.com for more information on fertility treatments and options in the Las Vegas area.