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5 Things To Stop Saying to Someone Facing Infertility

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, and each year more and more people are speaking up about their struggles and erasing the stigma of talking about infertility. Myself included, which is why I want to share these 5 things to stop saying to someone facing infertility.

A lot of people struggle with infertility silently, only share with close family and friends, but there are others that are open books. Regardless of how transparent someone may be about their struggle, there are some pretty common comments that people in the infertility world hear over and over that truly hurt.

Did you know that just this April the World Health Organization released data that shows that 1 in 6 people globally experience infertility.

Here are 5 things to stop saying to someone facing infertility and what you can say or do instead.

 

1. “Just Relax”

 

Telling someone facing infertility to just relax and then it will happen, while may be coming from a good place, often comes off as sounding hurtful. Infertility is a disease that is diagnosable and has proven treatments to aid those trying to conceive.

Suggesting that all that someone needs to relax, stop thinking about it, or any other similar advice isn’t going to help that couple conceive when medical intervention is the only way they can build their family.

Instead, take the time to understand what infertility is, how it is treated, and offer to listen. Encourage them to speak to a specialist if they’ve been trying for a long time.

 

 

2. “You’re still young and have plenty of time”

 

Dealing with infertility at any age is hard enough, but to be told that you’re still young or you still have time isn’t as helpful as you might think it is.

The truth is time can run out at any age for any number of reasons and that is a fact. Infertility is cruel that way, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that fertility treatments will work. IVF isn’t successful for everyone.

Instead of telling someone that they are young and still have time, encourage them by offering support during their journey. Help them consider their options and offer to lend an ear so they can talk about all the emotions they are experiencing.

 

 

3. Asking “who is the problem?” or “who is at fault?”

 

Please, just don’t!

Infertility is a disease or a result of an accident or other illness and is no fault of anyone involved. By placing blame on some you could be adding to feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, or depression.

Often, the cause of an individual or couple’s infertility is a private and personal matter that they aren’t comfortable sharing. If they are comfortable sharing, it will come up as they talk about what is going on with you.

So rather than asking who is the infertile one ask about their mental well-being, or let them know what value they bring to your life. Trust me, most people experiencing infertility need to be reminded that they are enough.

 

 

4. Don’t “push” or “assume” the options they have.

 

Not everyone has insurance coverage that includes fertility treatments, TRICARE, currently has very limited coverage for IUI and IVF for those with service-connected injuries and illnesses only.

Not everyone wants to pursue adoption or egg/sperm/embryo donations. All family building options are personal choices for the individual or couple making them.

As a friend or family member you can help them by encouraging them to learn and consider all their options, or offer to listen as they work through what they want.

Family building options are just that, options for people to pursue, but don’t offer any guarantees.

Being there for them is what matters. 

 

 

5. “Maybe you aren’t meant to be parents.”

 

I’m going to be honest with you, if you say this to someone that is struggling to build their family be prepared to lose your relationship with this person.

infertilityThis was personally the most hurtful thing anyone said to me (possibly ever) while facing infertility, and they were from my church small group.

I’m sure it was meant from a place of love and not malice, but I believed that I was meant to be a mother and those words ended that relationship.

If you are religious and think that someone’s purpose is meant to be something other than a parent, find a different way to tell them, or just don’t.

You can encourage them to find purpose outside of their desire to be parents by asking about hobbies, professional goals, really anything to help them not focus on something other than what isn’t going right.

When the time is right and they are considering living a life childfree, that’s when you can encourage them, but until then support them as they are trying to build the family that they are dreaming of. 

Seek infertility Resources that will help you be more supportive.

 

While these are just my top 5 most cringeworthy things that people say over and over to people struggling with infertility and family building, I know that there are many others.

If you know someone that is struggling I hope this helps you find more ways to support them, and helps you understand why somethings that might be said with good intentions could actually be really hurtful to someone struggling. 

For more information, check out RESOLVE and its mission to support those who are struggling with infertility.

 


*To read more about Julie, visit her on our Band of Bloggers Team Page.

 

Author

  • Julie Eshelman

    Julie Eshelman is originally from Pennsylvania and met her husband while they were both attending James Madison University in 2009. She has been with him since he was in ROTC and has experienced military life as a significant other and a spouse since marrying her husband in 2015. Throughout her husband’s career, they have been in every type of duty status within the Army Reserve and are currently enjoying life as an Active Guard Reserve (AGR) family. They have been stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA, Scottsdale, AZ, Darien, IL, Fort Leavenworth, KS, and are currently stationed in Schuylkill Haven, PA. Julie has held careers in film & media, aquatics, and in the nonprofit worlds. She is passionate about advocating for military and veteran families through storytelling and raising awareness. Julie loves exploring new places, especially National Parks with her husband and daughter.

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