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

“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”
“JUST RELAX”
. . . 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 – often from well meaning and concerned friends and family members.

It’s also unfortunate that news outlets repeat these mantra’s – creating additional torture for patients already struggling to work through their fertility journey. In her blog post Why “Just Relax” is Still Not Helpful Advice in the World of Infertility, Melissa Ford writes “while stress enzymes very well may affect fertility levels, the reality is that infertility is an umbrella term for a disease that has a myriad of diagnostic paths, one that can’t be boiled down to a simple answer.” Bravo Melissa, you hit the nail right on the head.

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.