How to help your friend or family member through infertilityA few simple pointers to make things easier for everyone:
1. Listen and learn
Listen to what your loved one tells you about their infertility, their feelings and their treatment. Trust that their feelings are valid and don’t try to dismiss them or interpret them using a framework that you understand. The more they feel they can talk to you, the more you will be able to help them.
2. Avoid platitudes
It is better to say nothing at all than to say the wrong thing. Don’t try to offer words of consolation such as “I know it will happen for you” or the classic “Just relax and it will happen”. Just a simple “sorry” and a hug will do.
3. Don’t offer unsolicited advice
By the time an infertile couple has decided to look for help, they probably already know more about trying to conceive than any fertile couple has ever needed to know. Once they have started medical investigations, they will have talked through their treatment options with their doctor and will be as informed as they need to be.
4. Educate yourself
Read up as much as possible about what your loved one is going through. That way you can talk to them on their level about the investigations they are having done, or the treatments they are enduring. Not only will it help you avoid offering them irritating platitudes and annoying unsolicited advice, they will also appreciate that you care enough to do this.
5. If you’re not sure, ask
If you don’t know how to act or what to say, ask your loved one. Only they can tell you the best thing to do. There will be times when it is too hard for them to talk and others when they will welcome a chat – let them decide.
If you have any suggestions for improving the list, I would love to hear them.