Part Two: How to Talk About Infertility (As the Person Not Experiencing It)
In our last blog, we covered some common faux pas, unintentional cruelties and general mistakes that people often make when a loved one approaches them to talk about their infertility struggles. It can be very helpful to know what NOT to do, but it is just as important to provide positive examples of what is a more appropriate response.
Here are some ways we recommend approaching the conversation:
- Remember that first and foremost, you are there to listen. Not only is it not your job to fix this problem for your friend or family member, but it is physically out of your control. You are probably not psychic, or a baby whisperer: there is no call for you to try to be. Just listen and let your loved one lead the conversation.
- When in doubt, ask your loved one if they are looking for advice, assistance, or just a friendly ear. It will almost always be the latter, but open communication is better than making an assumption and being wrong.
- If you have not experienced fertility struggles, the key is empathy, not sympathy: this isn’t about you. “I am so sorry that you are going through this right now. It’s completely unfair. How can I help?”
- These conversations are already very emotionally charged and as a result, can be quite uncomfortable. The more open and relaxed you remain through the conversation, the safer your loved one will feel to be honest with you. Try to leave your own discomfort at the door; the only way to normalize and unstigmatized these conversations is by having them freely and without judgement. Try to treat the conversation the way you would any other heart to heart you might have with this person – they aren’t broken, or damaged. They are your loved one, and they need your support. Treat them accordingly.
- Put the focus on how they are doing. Ask periodically and re-up your offers to assist them with anything they might need. It may take a while before they feel comfortable telling you ways that you can help, even if they could REALLY use the assistance.
- Check in frequently while respecting boundaries. They need support, even if they don’t verbalize it – but even the best intentions fall short when the room isn’t being read properly.
Everyone is different, and no two people struggling with infertility will have identical thoughts, feelings or needs when it comes to these conversations. The main thing is to enter in with an open mind, and to make sure your loved one feels exactly that: loved and supported without reservation or condition.
If you are struggling with infertility and would like to talk to someone about your family’s journey, please contact us here at Simple Surrogacy today. The family you’ve always dreamed of is still within reach.Go back