May I offer a gentle suggestion to the friends of those who suffer from infertility—they really really don’t want to hear your words of wisdom. It’s not that the infertile are arrogant jerks who know it all; it’s just that if they have been trying to conceive for more than a year, they probably know light years more about conception than you could even imagine. The ability to get pregnant does not make you an expert on conception; it simply makes you lucky.
1. Don’t Tell Them about What Position Worked for You.
Sexual position doesn’t really help much with conception, and unless discussing sexual techniques is something you routinely do together, at its best it’s awkward; at it’s worst, it downright weird. Elevating your legs after intercourse may help a little, but trust me, they’ve tried that.
2. Don’t Tell Them They Can Always Adopt.
It is impossible to be infertile and not at least have thought about adoption. Chances are pretty good they know a whole lot more about adoption than you do. Unless they tell you they are adopting, you can safely assume that for now they have decided to continue with infertility treatment.
3. Don’t Tell Them That Kids Aren’t all They are Cracked up to Be.
That’s like eating a chocolate sundae while telling the person who is sitting across from you with an empty plate that your sundae is really too rich. This is wrong on so many different levels, not the least of which is that it is not helpful and borderline mean.
4. Don’t Tell Them to Relax.
For the love of God, don’t tell them to relax or any synonym for relax such as “avoid stress”, “go on a vacation”, “buy a bottle of wine”, or “try meditation”. Rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it to a person suffering from the disease of cancer, don’t say it to a person suffering from the disease of infertility.
5. Don’t Tell Them Not to Worry.
That’s just plain stupid and makes them feel all the more alone.
What to Say to an Infertile Friend
Simply say you are sorry this is happening to them. Ask them what you can do to lighten their pain or make their life just a smidgen easier. Call on treatment day? Bring dinner that night? Give them a hug?
What is something you wish the fertility blessed folks in your life would not say to you? What is the single kindest thing someone has said or done?
P.S. In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, please let your friends and family know what they should and should not say to others who suffer from the disease of infertility. Sometime what seems rude to us, is actually just ignorance. Share these suggestions.
(Image Credit: San Diego Shooter)