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“Just relax” and other insensitive phrases you should never tell someone struggling with infertility

Telling someone to just relax is very bad advice.

“Stop thinking about it and then it will happen”
“Try yoga”
“I know a friend (of a friend, of a friend) who just adopted and then they got pregnant!”
“Have you thought about IVF
“Take a vacation”
. . . do any of these sound familiar?
Unfortunately for those dealing with infertility, these common phrases (and more) are the insensitive comments they hear on a regular basis. This is often from well meaning and concerned friends and family members.

It’s also unfortunate that news outlets and social media repeat these mantra’s – creating additional torture for patients already struggling to work through their fertility journey. Celebrities gushing about their “miracle baby”; or those spotlight reels on social media with a couple alone in one shot, then they jump up simultaneously and when they land they’re surrounded by a children and babies.

Stress and infertility

Infertility can definitely cause stress, but stress does not cause infertility. And while stress enzymes may affect fertility levels, the reality is that infertility is a disease that has a myriad of diagnostic paths, one that can’t be boiled down to a simple answer.

However, learning how to de-stress, is a life skill that can be beneficial emotionally.

Read How to Manage Stress and Fertility

Even when trying to be supportive, it’s best to stay clear of any uber positive statements; such as “Don’t worry, it will happen. I just know it!” After all, how DO you know it? What exactly is your friend supposed to do with this support when her period just signaled another failed attempt? And as much as it sounds like light-hearted humor to you, offering to give the person one of your children as a joke is just awful and not funny to an IVF patient.

So what should you say? According to Resolve, The National Infertility Association, the best things you can do for your friend would be to simply let them know you care, be supportive of their decisions, and listen.

Original post February 7, 2014
Updated August 14, 2023

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