"It's all in Gods timing."
"If you just stop worrying you'll get pregnant!"
"If you only had the faith that God would bless you with this one thing."
"I'm sorry that I'm pregnant."
There are so many more of these pad responses that I can write on this page, but that's not what this post is about. This post is for those of you who either have or have not struggled with infertility, but who wonder what to say to people that are currently going through it.
First off, I guess I should quickly explain a why you shouldn't say these things to someone who's trying to get through infertility. At least not to their face. You see, when you are speaking with someone who is trying and hoping and longing to have a child, they are constantly doing everything that they can just to simply hold it together. If you say something like, "I'm sorry that I'm pregnant," in front of their face, how the hell do you expect them to respond to that? Think about what you say before you say it. Is it going to be an awkward conversation starter? Is it going to be something that tips them off and makes them cry (because nearly everything does)? Then don't say it. Just don't. Give them a hug, let them cry on your shoulder, and just don't say anything.
Now, if the time is right and the conversation allows (really, truly feel it out in the moment), here are a few things that you could say. Could being the operative word.
"I love you."
"I'm here for you no matter what."
"I know it feels really lonely, but if you need someone to validate your feelings, I can be that person."
"It is okay for you to feel *______. You're allowed to feel that."
"Nothing I say will make this any better, but know that I am constantly praying for you and thinking of you."
"How can I learn more about infertility so I can know how to be there for you better?"
^literally do this. It's so taboo and it's so nice to know that people care enough to create awareness and educate themselves.
"I am believing for you."
"What's your favorite Ben & Jerry's flavor?" (lol)
Really, the best thing that you can do is listen. Don't do the talking, let them do that. If you feel like something is right, say it. If you feel like something will hurt their feelings or make them even more sad about the body that they feel is so inadequate for not being able to make a baby, don't say it.
Something that has meant a lot to me, and that I wish people would do more of is ACT. Just freaking do it. Don't text them and ask them if they want to go out for a girls night or to get ice cream and watch Grey's Anatomy. Figure out their schedule and show up. It is likely that they are struggling far too much to admit and ask for help. Even if they are sitting at home doing nothing, wanting so badly to have a friend, they will not respond with a "yes, let's get together" when you ask. Life stops every month, once a month. Those weeks are really hard for people who have been struggling and struggling to get pregnant. So just being there for them in those times means more than anything that you could ever say.
Below are a few actions that have helped me through these days and months and years (yeah, I can't believe I am saying that-- kinda feels like a punch to the gut) of infertility and a heartbreaking miscarriage:
A stranger sending a Saranoni Blanket-- to snuggle during those sleepless nights.
An old friend sending an Alex + Ani bracelet with the birthstone of my baby.
Treats showing up on my door with kind notes of encouragement and love.
Florals being sent on hard days.
A neighbor running to the grocery store for me because I just couldn't fathom going in public.
A friend getting me out of my house to exercise and move my body.
A sibling sitting and watching a movie with me.
A family member coming to clean my house.
And the most recent-- a venmo notification from a distant cousin saying, "thinking of you! Treat yourself to one of those big Starbucks I see you post about."
Of course these are just a few of the things that people have done for me, for us these last few months since we lost our baby and continued on this road of infertility. I would need to dedicate a whole new blog post to all of the amazing acts of service that we have received. So, so many.
There really is no simple fix to this-- to infertility and heartbreak. There aren't words that will magically make it better for the people you know who are struggling with these things. Please, if only just for me, stay away from all of the filler and padded answers/suggestions. We all know that they're with the best intentions, but sometimes they hurt. Sometimes people struggle with God through this, so hearing that they just need to, "trust in the Lord," or that "it's all in Gods timing," is like a punch to the gut. Sometimes, through this, these people just can't find God. They just don't see Him even thought they look. They feel abandoned and betrayed, and they definitely don't need that from hurtful words as well. The best thing you can do, again, is just to be there for them. Just listen. And act.
I feel inadequate in writing this post, as this is my experience so far and is very biased based on the way that I am feeling in this moment. I know that this may not work for everyone, but I've tried to dig deep and research what others would like for people to know and say as well. This is what I've come up with so far, and I look forward to learning even more about it myself.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for supporting. Thanks for loving. Thanks for praying. If you are reading this, the likelihood of you sending me a message, sharing a prayer, or sending hope is very high. And I appreciate that. I would have crumbled a long time ago without that.
Here's an article I found about "What Not to Say to Someone Going Through Infertility:"
This is also a really good thread of articles that you could read about this subject. I think that everyone needs to learn a little about infertility before approaching someone who is struggling. Especially if they're going through treatments. Knowing the basics of their diagnosis would go a long way:
Here's a few more: