How to handle an “Infertile”

27 Aug

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I’ve been playing this infertility game for about 7 years now, so I’d like to think I’m becoming a bit of a pro.

I also happen to have met or been friends with a few other ladies battling their own infertility issues.

And as someone who has been on both sides of the fence (the one with the problem and the supporter of someone with the problem), I realise how hard it must be to know how to handle us. To talk to us. To support us.

The worry of saying all the wrong things, of making us sad is tough to overcome. Which is why I feel some people just feel more comfortable not talking to me about it at all. It’s complicated, better not go there.

So I thought I’d use my experience of this situation to put together a handy Dos and Don’ts type list, so that, should you know someone dealing with infertility, you can help them out a little.

Now, this is my Dos and Don’ts list, so I can’t promise that every other infertile will share the same view, but it’s better to start from somewhere eh?

DON’T avoid us. I know the hormones and broodiness can make us a tad emotional, but we don’t have a contagious disease so don’t need to be given a wide berth.

DO offer us the option to talk about it. You may get a polite “thanks but no thanks”, but your offer shows you aren’t scared, you care, and you never know when we may take you up on it.

DON’T (and this is a BIG DON’T) provide us with your advice on how to get pregnant. TRUST ME, we have tried every trick in the book, and know WAY more than you successful shaggers ever could about this subject. I have heard some shit in my time, some of my least favourite being “just get drunk and get your leg over”, “try not to get stressed” and “it’ll probably happen when you stop thinking about it”. Now maybe those things work for some people, but probably not the person you are talking to. If you really want to help, go and do your research.

DO listen. Since there is very little you can say that will help, your ears are your best asset when your friend just needs to get things off their chest.

DON’T keep staring at our belly. A bloated stomach could be the result of many things….. Time of the month, ovarian cysts, fertility drugs, OHSS. It doesn’t mean we are in the club. Just as soon as we are, we’ll scream it from the roof tops, but until then try to look at our face.

DO send gestures that show you care. A text, an email, a card, flowers, chocolates, a massive cheque (alright I know that’s pushing it) when times get really rough…. Anything. It is massively appreciated to know people are on your side.

DON’T tell us the story about the person who had (insert number here) failed cycles, then fell pregnant the month after they packed it all in. We know these stories are true, but they haven’t happened to us and just think about it….. Would you rely on it as a family planning method?

DO invite us to events with pregnant women and babies. We may find it a bit grating, but it’s preferable to loneliness and isolation. And honestly, if we really can’t bear to come without harming your pregnant guest and kidnapping the baby, we’ll turn the invite down ourself.

DON’T keep getting pregnant! Ok, so I know I can’t ask you to deprive yourself of a family just to appease my ego, but do you really have to do it with such little effort?

DO admire us. Having sex is easy. Having fertility treatment is not. Surviving infertility either with or without a baby at the end takes strength, determination, courage, a sense of humour and nerves of steel. If we make it out the other side with our mind and body in tact we probably possess all those qualities in spades.

And finally, one last plea…… before you succumb to the inevitable temptation to ask a newly wed when they will be getting knocked up, just stop and THINK. Is this really a sensitive question? How would you feel if I asked you if you had piles? Care to talk about it?

Instead, realise that you never know their story. They may not even know it themselves yet. Getting pregnant, even when nothing is wrong, doesn’t always happen straight away. And when it doesn’t, it can cause impatience, frustration, confusion and anger. So they could really do without you reminding them of their failure every time you see them.

Just think, if a wedded lady is not yet with child, it’s probably because they either:
A) don’t bleedin want one right now, they’ve got better ways to spend their first few years with their sexy new husband
B) are already pregnant but don’t yet fancy telling you about it
C) are trying to conceive but haven’t succeeded yet
D) are struggling to conceive and don’t fancy telling you about their sub fertility

So cut them some slack and ask them about something else.

That’s my lot for now. I’m sure this list isn’t exhaustive, but I hope it gives you some tips.

And if you are dealing with infertility yourself and have any of your own Dos and Don’ts to add, my comments box is all yours…..

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2 Responses to “How to handle an “Infertile””

  1. Bibi November 3, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Thanx for sharing… I have just started this journey myself.
    And lots of luck for youand your family.

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