This post is brought to you by The Stork OTC and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own. This content is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician.
We had absolutely no problems getting pregnant. Charlie was conceived the first month we tried and Owen (and his ectopic twin) was conceived without trying at all. That fact alone can make it hard for me to know what to say to a friend or family member that is experiencing infertility.
The first step to being a supportive friend is to know what infertility really means. Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances.
If you're not experiencing difficulty yourself, you likely know someone who is. Even with 7.3 million couples in the U.S. having trouble conceiving, it's still really rare for people to open up and talk about infertility. The journey to parenthood can be really hard and we all want to support our friends struggling.
Tips and Resources for Friends and Family Members of Those Who are Trying to Conceive
We all want to be supportive of our friends and family, especially those dealing with such a sensitive topic as infertility. How can we be that supportive friend? It's a fine line, for sure. In fact, many who try their best to be supportive often achieve the opposite, and unintentionally push their friend or family member away.
Our friends and family members aren't looking to us for solutions. If they are able to actually open up about their infertility struggles, they're looking for support.
- Listen to them.
- Let them vent about how they're feeling and be shoulder to lean on.
- Say something to the effect of “even though I don’t know what you are going through, I am willing to be here for you in any way you may need or want.”
- Don't complain about your pregnancy. At least you were able to get pregnant.
- Be there. This is the most important thing you can do.
Resources to Help You Support a Friend
Doing a little research on infertility can help you understand some of the emotions your friend is experiencing. Check out some of the great resources below to help you be a more supportive friend during infertility.
- Challenges of living with fertile friends and family members
- Path2Parenthood shares some great advice for those struggling to conceive when everyone around them seems to be getting pregnant.
- The Delicate line between infertility and friendship
- Path2Parenthood shares advice to those struggling on how emotional and relationship boundaries can be altered in surprising ways when one half of the friendship duo become pregnant.
- Dealing with infertility over the Holidays
- This podcast from RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association speaks of the feelings, and stresses that your friend or family member might experience over the holidays. Knowing this can help you to be more supportive during the holiday festivities.
- When Infertility Strikes a Family Member
- A great piece from RESOLVE on how infertility might influence behaviours of all generations of families. “Although infertility is widely acknowledged as a crisis for individuals and couples, it is less recognized as a trauma that impacts their families. Yet, involuntary childlessness is an intergenerational crisis that has the ability to strain, even damage, family relationships over time by impairing communications and interactions.”
- Mother/Daughter Dynamics During Infertility
- Path2Parenthood’s article on how Mother/Daughter dynamics can hit a new level when trying to conceive. “Daughters often need their mothers when struggling with infertility and while many daughters are able to turn to their parent for support, others are not. In fact, the complexities of mother- daughter relationships can hit a new level of high, when fertility issues arise. Do mothers realize how powerful they are in their daughter’s lives? Their glances, their silences, all mean something to their daughters, so naturally daughters may look to their mothers as they travel through the fertility maze.”
- Infertility Etiquette:
- RESOLVE- “People dealing with infertility see things every day in the world that remind them of their plight. And society has formed opinions about infertility that are used in various channels. This section will share what a “day in the life of an infertile woman” is like, and discuss some societal facts that impact her.”
Have you heard of The Stork OTC?
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The Stork OTC uses an established and effective conception technique—cervical cap insemination—which helps with many common fertility difficulties (Unfavorable Vaginal Environment (pH imbalance), Unexplained Infertility, Low Sperm Count, Motility Issues). Cervical cap insemination’s documented success rate is around 10-20%, similar to the success rate for IUI.
The Stork OTC is ideal for:
- People who are trying to become pregnant.
- Men diagnosed with low sperm count or motility issues.
- Women diagnosed with an unfavorable vaginal environment (pH imbalance).
- Healthy couples who desire to control timing.
- Couples who are not ready or are unable to take the next step in reproductive treatment such as IUI or IVF.
You have a chance to win a trial of The Stork OTC!
#TheStorkOTC Twitter Chat
Join me to exchange ideas on the best ways to support others during their struggle to conceive.
You’ll also have a chance to win one of three $25 gift cards to CVS/pharmacy by answering some trivia questions! For more information on The Stork OTC, please visit their website.
When: Tuesday, September 22 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #TheStorkOTC hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Vite: http://vite.io/thestorkotc
Do you have any tips on how to support a friend going through infertility? I'd love to hear them!