Infertility can be an incredibly difficult and emotional journey for those experiencing it, when my husband and I were going through treatment it was all we thought and talked about and it felt like we were on this journey by ourselves a lot of the time. As a friend of someone going through this it can be difficult to know what to do and say but it’s important to support your friends who are going through this challenging time. The friends that were there listening, asking how we were, and just being available were just amazing and I don’t think I could ever repay them for just being there when we needed them.
In this blog, we’ll discuss how to support your friends as they battle infertility, with a focus on IVF and other fertility treatments so they can know that you love and care and are there for them when they need.
Listen with Empathy
One of the most important things you can do to support your friends who are dealing with infertility is to listen with empathy. Infertility can be a deeply personal and emotional experience, and it’s important to create a safe and non-judgmental space for your friend to share their feelings. Avoid giving unsolicited advice or trying to “fix” the situation, and instead, listen with an open heart. I had many crying sessions with my amazing friends during my IVF cycle failures and them just listening to my messy thoughts allowed me time to process what was happening.
Infertility can be a complex and overwhelming topic, so it’s important to educate yourself about the different types of infertility and fertility treatments. This can help you better understand what your friend is going through and provide more meaningful support without adding to their mental load by answering all the questions on potentially highly emotional topics.
Offer Practical Support
Infertility treatments, such as IVF, can be physically and emotionally demanding. Your friend may appreciate practical support, such as offering to help with errands, meal prep, or childcare. You can also offer to attend appointments with your friend or provide a listening ear during difficult times.=
Be Mindful of Triggers
Infertility can be an emotional rollercoaster, and there may be certain triggers that are difficult for your friend to handle. Be mindful of holidays, pregnancy announcements, and other events that may be emotionally challenging for your friend. There were events that I chose not to attend for my mental health during our IVF cycles, and while I desperately wanted to celebrate others, the anxiety and stress of attending these events became a bigger stress during a time I was trying to decrease the stress levels.
Infertility can be a long and difficult journey, and your friend may need encouragement along the way. Let your friend know that you believe in them and that you are there to support them through the ups and downs. You can send a thoughtful message, drop off a care package, or offer words of encouragement during difficult times. One of the simplest ways to to let someone know you care is to remember important dates and send a simple heart vs text, I know these were the things that mattered the most to be as I knew my loved ones where there with me.
Infertility can be a sensitive topic, and it’s important to respect your friend’s boundaries. Your friend may not want to discuss their infertility or treatments in certain situations, and it’s important to honor their wishes. If your friend is not ready to talk, let them know that you are there for them when they are ready.
Infertility can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience, and your friend may need time and space to process their feelings. Be patient and understanding, and let your friend know that you are there for them when they need you. Infertility treatments can also be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible and understanding if plans change.
Infertility is a challenging journey, but with the right support, your friend can feel less alone and more empowered to navigate the process knowing they have a strong circle of friends and family supporting them. Listen with empathy, educate yourself, offer practical support, be mindful of triggers, offer encouragement, respect boundaries, and be patient.