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Simple Ways to Support Loved Ones Through Fertility Challenges

Woman showing her friend support during a difficult time.

Fertility challenges affect millions of people around the world. At some point, you may need to be there for someone dealing with infertility.

However, knowing what to say and do is vital to properly support that loved one. Ultimately, you want to be sensitive so your friend or family member feels supported during a difficult time. If you are in a situation like this, consider these tips for properly approaching someone in need.

Reach Out and Listen

It is important to reach out to your loved one proactively. Sometimes, your friend or family may be too upset to reach out themselves but would welcome your support. By calling them first, you will show that you care. Even if they do not want to talk or spend time together yet, they will likely appreciate that you made the effort.

If your loved one wants to talk, ask them how they are doing and then listen to them. Nod, make eye contact, and try to avoid interrupting or minimizing the problem. Just be there and be supportive. If they want to talk but are having trouble opening up, you can encourage them to do so. Let them know that you will be supportive, no matter what they say, and that venting may help them feel better. There are many reasons why this is so:

  • Venting gets the negative feelings out of your head so you can start to feel better.
  • If you do not talk, then no one can help you.
  • Allowing your friends to vent to you in a supportive environment prevents them from lashing out at someone else.
  • Keeping feelings bottled up could lead to deeper issues, like headaches, depression, and more.

If they are not ready to talk yet or want to stop after talking for a while, do not force it. Let them know that when they are ready, you are there for them.

Be Sensitive to Their Needs

Though you may have the best intentions, you must be mindful of what you say and how you say it. Fertility challenges, including infertility, are very sensitive subjects and everyone responds to them and the stress they cause differently. Ultimately, you do not want to do or say something that ends up hurting your loved one.

In general, try to avoid insensitive phrases that can be upsetting to someone experiencing infertility. For instance, telling them to “just relax” may not be helpful for them to deal with their current stress. Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress and your input on how they should cope may unintentionally create more friction.

Follow their lead and do what they want to do. That may be doing something relaxing or distracting, like going for a walk or baking something fun. It may also involve working through difficult emotions, like grief.

Sometimes, the best way to help someone cope is to mourn with them. Whether they are mourning the loss of a pregnancy or their dreams of parenthood, infertility challenges can cause feelings of grief. Depending on the person, that can involve just being there with them or being a shoulder to cry on. No matter what, it is important to let them know that they are not going through this difficult time alone.

Read about Grieving and Infertility

Nice Actions and Gestures Can Go a Long Way

Though the right words can do a lot to help a loved one feel better, actions can speak even louder. Call and offer to do things they may enjoy, like going to see a movie or attending a sports game.

Continue to invite them to events, family gatherings, and outings. If children will be present, be sure to let them know so they can decide whether they want to come. Regardless of their decision, be sure to respect their boundaries. You can always do something else with them at another time.

If they have lost a child in the past due to a miscarriage, you can also do special things to help them on difficult days. For instance, they may be grieving on the anniversary of the miscarriage or the day the child was meant to be born. On that day, call up your friend and ask how they are doing. You can also send flowers, a card, or another thoughtful gift. It will likely mean a lot to the recipient that you remember this day and understand that it is a difficult one for them.

Ultimately, just being there for a friend can go a long way. If they are going to fertility appointments, offer to come along and be a helping hand. Let them know you will help them get the support and resources they need. If they would prefer to meet before or after the appointment, you can instead offer to have lunch or coffee to either prepare or decompress after. That way, they can vent their feelings and fears, or clear their head after the appointment.

The bottom line

Care, consideration, and tact are all necessary when supporting and being there for someone experiencing fertility challenges. Put yourself in their shoes and do your best to meet your loved one where they are emotionally. These actions could be just what your friend or family member needs to get through their hardship.

If you would like to learn more about GENESIS Fertility New York or are ready to schedule an appointment, please speak with one of our representatives at 718-GENESIS.

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