As someone who struggled to conceive for two years after getting married, I’ve been on the receiving end of a few inappropriate comments, both from strangers and well-meaning loved ones.
Some examples of things I heard from those who didn’t know the ‘right’ thing to say during my infertility journey include:
When you are putting all your time, energy, and thoughts into having a baby, not one of these comments is helpful.
I found that being able to keep a sense of humor when you are dealing with fertility challenges can help save your sanity, so I often responded with my own jokes, but I didn’t always find them funny at the time. However they were intended, the truth is, these comments were hurtful.
Another thing that is not constructive (and that I heard a lot of) is offering home remedies or alternative methods that you think might improve the chance of conception. If someone has been trying to conceive for any amount of time, they have considered all their options including eating foods high in antioxidants and acupuncture.
That said, you shouldn’t be afraid to open your mouth or avoid a loved one who is trying to conceive for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. Here are a few things that you can say and do to help, and they are simpler than you might think:
What can you say?
The No. 1 thing that you can do to help someone who is trying to get pregnant is to listen and be there for them. Each of the seemingly thoughtless comments I mentioned has an acceptable (even compassionate) alternative that shows that you care about the person and want to help them.
If you are stumped for things to say, there are a couple tried-and-true phrases that let them know you are there for them.
These can include:
What can you do?
If you are still worried about saying the wrong thing, there is some good news - like most things in life, actions speak louder than words.
Some things you can do to support a friend or relative who is struggling with infertility include:
The bottom line is that you love this person and they are going through a hard time. Treat them with care and compassion, just like you would for any other challenge they face, and admit if you make a mistake or say the wrong thing - you may both even laugh about it later.
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