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🧡 In honor of the upcoming National Infertility Awareness Week – April 24-30th, we’ve decided to highlight how to best support a friend who is experiencing infertility. Check out our latest blogs below 👇
how to support a friend experiencing infertility
Imagine for a minute that you have just received a life-altering diagnosis*. The plans for your future have been shattered. The treatments you choose can leave you with debilitating migraines, nausea, bruising, mood swings, and extreme fatigue. Your every waking moment is consumed by your new reality. No one knows how to respond, so they tiptoe around your diagnosis. You can’t concentrate at work. Your friendships and marriage start to suffer. You feel alone, grieving the life you thought you’d have. This is what your friend who is experiencing infertility is going through. And it’s not an exaggeration. According to the National Survey of Family Growth conducted by the CDC, 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. And 7.4 million women, or 11.9% of women, have received infertility services in their lifetime.
You want to be supportive and empathic. You want to help your struggling friend in any way possible. But you have no words. You have no experience. In fact, you may have children of your own already and feel slightly guilty to bring them around or talk about them now. Or you may be pregnant and afraid of being a constant reminder to your friend of what they don’t have yet. You’ve entered into a delicate predicament where you don’t know what to do or how to act.
First and foremost, kudos to you. For realizing that you may not have all the answers. For acknowledging that this situation is worth researching and putting the work into. Learning how to best support your friend during this time takes courage and vulnerability.
Talking about such an intimate detail of a relationship isn’t always something people feel comfortable doing in the first place. Everyone has a different comfort level with what they are willing to share. Your friend may tell you right away that they’re struggling to conceive, or they may choose to wait until they get a prognosis. They may be feeling embarrassed, ashamed, in denial or in disbelief. But once they do share, take it as a compliment that your friendship is a safe place for them.
guide for guys: supporting a friend through infertility
You’re hanging out with one of your friends, and he confides, We’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year, and it just isn’t happening. It’s been hard on our marriage. What can you say to help, encourage, and support your friend facing infertility? What shouldn’t you say even though you may mean well?
How can you support your friend during this challenging time of crisis and grief?
As men, we often have some generally unhelpful tendencies in these situations. Let’s acknowledge them so we can try to avoid them:
✹ When presented with a problem, we want to fix it. Often, the better move is to try to feel it.
✹ We project the help, support, and needs we would have onto the person we’re trying to help.
We forget that everyone is different, and everyone is not us.
✹ We’re frequently uncomfortable with emotions or feelings – our own or someone else’s. This can cause us to withdraw or avoid people and not engage in hard conversations.