People mean well when they give you their advice, or say things to try and make you feel better, but these are just some warnings and advice of things NOT to say to someone who is struggling to get pregnant and/or dealing with infertility:
1) "At least you have a lot of free time and don't have to be tied down by kids" or "just enjoy your time together now"
Sure, having "free time" is nice, but a lot of that time is spent visiting doctors (if you're dealing with infertility), appointments and treatments. Not to mention the financial side.
PLUS, it's something that we WANT. We want kids.
If someone was struggling to move up in their job track, or struggling to make ends meet would you say "well, at least your taxes are lower?" No. It's kind of the same thing.
And telling me to enjoy our time together is just annoying. If I didn't enjoy my time with my husband, I wouldn't be trying to have kids with him. We've had time to enjoy together--before we were married, and afterwards. That doesn't make me change my dreams any more than it would for you.
2) "Don't stress out. You just need to relax."
Ok, duh. We ALL know that stress doesn't help to make a baby. You know what else doesn't help people to not stress out? Being TOLD not to stress.
As my fertility doctor said, there's an innate amount of stress on your body anyway because it's in our DNA to procreate in order to carry on our species. That stress is programmed into you. Then add in something that you want desperately, and of course there is stress when it doesn't happen.
Relaxing is great, but sometimes it's a lot easier than just saying it.
3) "It took us a long time to get pregnant too" followed up by 2, 3, 4 months, etc.
No. That is the NORMAL amount of time it takes for people to get pregnant. When you've been trying for a year or YEARS, it is a slap in the face. We get that you're trying to relate, but just don't. 3 months is nothing compared to a year or years.
4) "You guys just need to have sex more"
This one is wrong on so many levels. One, it actually doesn't work like that since you don't ovulate every day. Two, what do you know about my sex life? Three, no...just shush.
5) "There are always treatments available. Or adoption."
Well, no kidding. Do you know the emotional journey going through THOSE steps are? IUI, IVF...they are both expensive (IUI less so than IVF) and it is a huge commitment--financially and time-wise. I'm talking about multiple early morning trips to the doctor before work for bloodwork and ultrasounds. Shots at night. Pills to take. It's not fun. There's nothing romantic about this process. In fact, it is probably some of the most UNromantic times you'll experience. And yet you do it anyway. There is some reassurance knowing these are available, but it's not an easy, snap your fingers kind of journey. And there's no guarantee with those either.
IUI increases your chances of getting pregnant to 20%. IVF is 60%.
And adoption is a GREAT option for people. But when you have your heart set on having a baby of your own, it's not an easy fix-all solution. It's still hard. And expensive.
(This is in no way knocking adoption. Adoption is wonderful and I'm thankful that it is available and out there.)
If you've said these things, it's ok. I know I've said some insensitive or stupid things in the past without intending to, or realizing it. We say things to try and help someone cope or make them feel better. But, this is just to increase the awareness. You never know what someone is going through, so just try and be sensitive, especially when you DO know there is a struggle there.
What CAN you do?
Listen. Support. Let people know you're there.
You may not have gone through this before, and that's ok. Offering to listen or be someone to vent to is perfect. You're showing your support and letting someone know you're there. Sometimes that's all that we need.
Ask how you can support them. If you don't know, ask.
This depends on the person and how close you are, and whether they said they want you to ask. I haven't met too many people dealing with this who don't appreciate someone asking how they are doing with everything.
I appreciate when my friends ask when our next treatment is so they can pray for us, or check back with me when they know I'm getting my bloodwork back.
I've gotten this text before: "I know you had your bloodwork done today and I was just checking to see how it went. If it didn't go well and you don't want to talk, that's fine and I won't be offended. Either way, I'm here"
This is perfect. I don't feel the pressure if I'm upset and don't want to talk about it, but I know you're there when I want to.
I hope this helps all of us to navigate the tough stuff. Life isn't easy, that's for sure, and just knowing that people are there to support you is what matters.