Infertility can be a sad and difficult experience for a couple. Helping your friends or relatives cope with infertility takes some finesse and grace. Most of all, it takes patience and sensitivity around the issues.
- Familiarize yourself with infertility. There is an entire language of acronyms, testing and procedures that your friends will be going through. They'll appreciate that they can talk to you about it, and you'll have an idea of the lingo.
- Offer to be there for your friends if they need to talk. Let them control the time or place. The infertility journey can feel like a roller coaster and giving your friends control of this one small thing could mean the world to them.
- Keep advice on adoption, conception or infertility to yourself. Refrain from telling success stories of couples who got pregnant on the first try, right after a miscarriage or 3 weeks after delivering or adopting a child. It's difficult for your friend to hear how easy it is for others to get pregnant, and unsolicited advice may push her away.
- Propose activities and events that are child-free, even if you have to get a babysitter for your own children. Your friends won't tell you that sometimes it hurts to be around your kids, because they want one of their own so badly. Help them by scheduling an adults-only movie night or sporting event.
- Remain a positive influence to your friends but don't be overly sunny. For example, avoid statements such as "You'll get pregnant soon, I just know it" or "Just have more sex--that should work." Since you don't have a full understanding of their medical issues, it will seem insensitive.
- Be there for your friend on her terms. She'll come to you when she's ready to talk. Don't ask her if she's pregnant yet, because if you've been a good friend to her through her infertility, you'll be one of the first she'll tell.