I would like to give a little shout out about how to act around women who are struggling with fertility…I hope it doesn’t come across like a preach with a pointing finger. That is not my intention. I see it as a loving and caring guideline for both sides, the women who struggle and the friends and families who like to know how to support their loved ones.
I know it is not easy to always find the right words when being with a friend who struggles to become pregnant, because to many people this pain is hard to comprehend. It is also uncomfortable listening to someone else’s pain. We always tend to leave this uncomfortable zone a.s.a.p. by using platitudes such as; all will be fine, it will happen etc. However the best way to support your friend that struggles is to confirm that this must be a hard journey and that it is indeed unfair and you wished you had any power to do something about it. Offering to be there when she needs you and listening is the biggest gift you can make.
To most people it feels strange to confirm a painful situation, because we think the person will feel worse, but the opposite will happen. When we validate pain, feelings can calm down and they will slowly relax. It is hard being in this waiting period, feeling each cycle another failure or being in the middle of medical treatments such as IVF or on an adoption journey. It is extremely draining and all you need on this journey is empathy. I am a fan of staying positive as a friend, because being the one who is struggling means often losing trust and hope along the way, but when friends and family keep up the good spirit that is always very helpful.
The hardest part for women who struggle is being helpless and powerless and not to succeed despite the effort. Whether it is a few month or a few years of waiting for the first or the second or even the third child. There is no difference in the pain level. If someone is in pain – that’s all we need to know. Everybody is and feels differently, let’s not judge and not compare. Every cut in the soul is painful. Not to forget nature’s force in this matter. Nature wants to keep the evolution running, so let’s not underestimate the power she puts on women’s bodies. When you are talking with your friend about her painful journey let’s not travel with her into the future, stay in the moment and in the procedure she is in. If she does IVF then talk with her about the IVF procedure. IVF is such a stressful and draining process that it feels good talking about it and not traveling into the future getting advice on what other options are out there in order to become a mom. Giving yourself about 30 shots for one IVF trial shouldn’t feel like it is for nothing. What’s really soothing and helpful is the attention and acknowledgement of present feelings.
Another important point is, let’s not point out to our kids when we are with a friend who struggles with fertility and say how blessed we are with your kids…It not only reminds her of something she doesn’t have…even worse it tells her that she isn’t blessed, which often causes the feeling of punishment. It’s the same when a friend just went through a break up, we would never say in her presence that we feel so blessed with our spouse…It doesn’t mean she doesn’t share your joy it is more the effect that it causes, it makes her travel like on a roller coaster deeper into her pain and I am sure that is nobody’s intention. Just look in her eyes when she looks at your kids and you will see the love and happiness she shares with you. And yes, no matter how exhausting motherhood can be it never diminishes a woman’s wish for wanting to become a mom.
Let’s also not have ideas for our friend’s future just ask what they are up to and how they feel. If they think about adoption then talk with them about it – and please don’t fall into the stigma of how terrible adoptive children are when they are in puberty. It is such a myth as many many more. Let’s not share your own fears about adoption with your friend, unless she is talking about what she is afraid of.
I remember having so many concerns about adoption due to so many unknowns and it all did not matter in the end. If your little soul finds you, you will know and any fear about adoption will disappear. Normal concerns about parenting will show up and that’s what every new parent has.
We didn’t even meet our son before we signed the adoption papers. We read his profile and knew a lot about him, but not how he looked. If someone had told me that up front I would have freaked out, but being in that moment I felt so balanced I just knew this feels right. When we finally saw him and his birth mom put him in my arms we immediately fell in love with him.
Keep up the good spirit and be a great listener with empathy and your friend will be for ever grateful for your caring and loving support!
If you like to share an experience or you have a question, please feel free to write me an email via contact or add a comment here to this post.