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How To Support Someone with Fertility Problems

Becoming a mother to our beautiful baby was not the easiest journey, actually it was probably one of the toughest things that me and my husband have ever been through. Many women don't want to talk about their feelings of pain, frustration and shame that comes with fertility. I think throughout society, there is a kind of stigma that to be a real woman you should be fertile and have babies. If anyone needs extra help, we are somehow less perfect or less of a person. But as a woman who has had fertility problems we just cannot beat ourselves up about it. There are so many people who are affected by fertility problems or miscarriage and with that there still seems to be a stigma, shame or those affected are consumed by an enormous cloud of guilt followed by silence. We shouldn't feel as if we cannot talk about it. We should talk about it!

This year marks a big milestone in our second fertility journey and its something that we have kept close to our hearts. After the birth of our daughter we started to tell people and the whole world through this blog about our fertility problems, along the way felt some kind of comfort knowing that it can happen to anyone. Being a parent was one of the most amazing experiences you could ever have, and last year we made the decision to start trying for a baby. Unfortunately we are in a similar position we were five years ago. I honestly thought that I wouldn't have any problems when it comes to conceiving another baby. After all, I have already prepared my body for pregnancy and we pretty much know how it all works so it should be a walk in the park right? But fertility can affect anyone. 

The last year we have been through a lot of heartache. We have had one negative test after another Some months I would be more than two weeks late and showed signs of being pregnant, but just as there is hope we find ourselves heartbroken. But one month we had a glimmer of hope with our first positive pregnancy test, we were so excited. After more than a year of heartbreak we finally had a positive. Our joy and happiness wasn't meant to be which made the heartbreak for us to be that much harder. I think that's why its so important for us to share our fertility story. We shouldn't be made to feel as if we can't share our woes, or struggles.

Since I shared my first post about my fertility struggles I have been contacted hundreds of time by some amazing people who said they found what I was saying honest and inspiring. I started this blog in the hopes to uplift and inspire as many as people as possible through my writing, it's incredible to get such a positive response from one of the darkest times in my life. There are so many of you out there who gets it. Some of you understand the pressure, the emotions, and those awful questions that you get asked all the time. You get it!

Bottom line, there are so many people who are seriously affected by fertility struggles and are completely consumed by feelings of guilt, shame or believe there are less of a person because of those struggles and don't feel they are able to talk. If we don't talk about our struggles it can break relationships and create a kind of isolation between family members. So that's why I have decided to write a post for those who want to show support and don't know how. By showing support, love and encouragement can do wonders to someones mind, body and their emotional well being, so please be kind, be supportive and have a great deal of compassion when faced with someone who cannot see the life they hoped for.

Try and put yourself in their shoes

During our fertility struggles there was nothing worse than hearing a pregnancy announcement or seeing those black and white scans appears on your social media. Now I don't want to sound as if we are not happy for those who have been blessed with new arrivals, but its hard. I actually remember my brother and his wife announcing their third pregnancy and my sister announcing her first. It hit me like a tonne of bricks. This goes without saying, I was happy that they were addition to their families, but a part of me hurt, and badly. My heart breaks for me, my heart breaks for my husband, and now it breaks for my daughter. Our daughter longs for a sibling to play with, someone to shares memories with. But with each and every negative test my heart shatters into pieces, and I begin to ask myself how much more heartbreak can we take?

So when you are announcing your delightful new, just think about people like us. If you find out your pregnant when you know your friend or a member of your family is struggling, take a minute to think about them. Maybe you could send a text or call them to let them know that you're thinking of them and it shows that you are completely aware of their current situation. You will not know how much this will mean to person going through fertility struggles. It shows that despite it all, you are showing them support, you're being kind and considerate. 

Show us you care.

If someone has announced a pregnancy in your friendship group, in your family or at work and you know someone ha been struggling. Send them a message, give them a call and tell them that if they want to talk about it that you are there. It really does help to know someone is thinking about you. You could offer a distraction. If you know someone has just had a miscarriage, or a fail cycles or another negative test instead of saying 'I'm here if you need anything?' be more practical, show them you care. Perhaps go for a coffee, organise a meal, invite them over, or a day away from it all. 

Be supportive in all their decisions and show kindness. 

Whether you know a friend, a member of your family or a colleague going through fertility struggles, be there for them and show your support. They may want to talk about the next steps or just want people to be understanding of their situation. People who are trying to conceive may do all kinds of thing to help improve their chances, and whether you agree with it or not, or don't believe it will work try to be encouraging and supportive. So for example if a couple who are trying to conceive try to change their diet or their lifestyle to improve their chances, support their choices. If they are not drinking or cutting our sugar or coffee in their diet be kind and support them.

Allow them to talk about infertility in their own time, and then just listen.

You honestly don't have to anything other than listen. Without sounding awful unless you have experiences infertility yourself, don't offer advice because it can come across a little insensitive. My husband and I confided in some friends about our situation and we were immediately met with 'Oh you're trying too hard', 'Just relax, it will happen' these are not what we need to hear right now. Just listen to us, and allow us to be sad and angry at how unfair life is at the moment. Even though most of comments and advice like these angers us, they mostly make us feel ashamed. I was ashamed that my husband and I couldn't do what our bodies were basically designed to do. Because these people never experienced infertility on a personal level, the comments came off as insensitive.

Whatever you do, consider that there are things that you should not say to someone who is struggling with conceiving. 

Don’t ever say that it’ll happen eventually, or just don't think about it. Because you don't know that it will, and it might not. It's better to offer reassurance and tell us that you love us and that you will always be there with the support when needed, no matter what.  I remember as soon as my husband and I were married we were bombarded with baby questions, even on our wedding day. We had spend so long organising one of the happiest days of our lives but then to be bombarded with baby questions wasn't ideal, we should have been completely honest. I'm not entirely sure how it has become acceptable to ask such questions, not every one knows your story.  Try not to offer advice, or tell them about people you know have had success or make any assumptions you know what they are going through. If you have never struggle with infertility then you don't understand. 

Never tell a couple that they just need to relax. Yes, our infertility is something that crosses our mind daily but by you saying that all we need to do is relax is far from being helpful. A couple does not usually start out stressing about their fertility, so implying that they are causing it with their anxiety will likely make them feel worse. That's not to say that relaxing may help improve her quality of life, constantly reminding those with struggles that they just need to relax will not help them get pregnant. 

If you know someone who is struggling to conceive, consider how you could walk alongside this person. What would this friend or member need? Maybe it's time and space to process, maybe it's a listening ear, or maybe it's a funny cat video on a depressing day. Reaching out to someone who is walking the lonely road of infertility might take some effort and education on your part, but I'm learning that the most meaningful relationships are the ones that require us to work hard.
14 comments on "How To Support Someone with Fertility Problems"
  1. This is such a good post. I can't imagine how hard it must be struggling to conceive to be surrounded my pregnant strangers, friends and people asking when you will start a family. Some people just don't think before they open their mouths!!

    1. Its not an easy thing, of course I am super happy for them but it still something that hurts my heart.

  2. I have a friend currently going through fertility treatment. She is very open about it and I think it has really helped her to open up.

    1. Oh I think that being so open and honest is such a great thing. We shouldn't feel as if we should keep it to ourselves.

  3. This is such a good post. So many people won't understand or know how they can be there for someone they know.

    1. Ah thank you lovely, it was a hard one to write. But that's exactly why I wanted to write a post like this so people would know what to do.

  4. This gave me all the feels. It's a really touching post and I agree that a huge level of sensitivity if needed when it comes to fertility issues. The struggle is heart breaking to see :-(

    1. It is a real struggle sometimes. So thank you for your kind words.

  5. A very sensitive post, thank you for sharing. It's sometimes hard to know the right thing to say.

    1. Yes I couldn't agree more that is why it was important for me to write such a post.

  6. Its such a hard topic and for someone who has never had these struggles it's so hard for me to know what to say or do right. Helpful advice, thank you

    1. I'm glad that this post will help you and give you some idea of what to say.

  7. This is such a sensitive topic for sure. So a post like this can really help people understand how to be xx


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