Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to Support an Infertile Friend During Christmas

By FaithAllen

The Christmas season can be a challenging time for couples who are struggling with infertility. While the rest of the world is celebrating families, your infertile friend sees an empty place at her table. Your infertile friend needs support from those who love her, but she might not be able to articulate what she needs. As a friend, you might want to help but not know what you should say or do. Here is how to support an infertile friend during the Christmas season.

  • Step into your infertile friend's shoes. Imagine that you desperately want to become a parent but are unable to do so. Every time you look at your kitchen table, you see an empty place that you desperately want to fill. Meanwhile, some of the people around you take parenthood for granted or even express a desire to "escape" from parenthood for a while. You are bombarded by Christmas messages of learning to appreciate family when all you want to do is experience having a family of your own.
  • Identify the emotions your infertile friend might be feeling. After you step into your infertile friend's shoes, label the emotions and feelings that you felt. Those emotions likely include depression, grief, anger, envy and isolation.
  • Think about things that you can do to help your infertile friend. Your friend needs a way to "escape" from the family-focus of Christmas. Brainstorm activities that you can do together that will take the focus off the empty place at the table.
  • Invite your infertile friend to a non-family-focused Christmas event, such as "The Nutcracker" or an instrumental Christmas concert. Take your friend to a Christmas cantata performed at a local church. Think about ways to get your friend into the holiday spirit that are targeted toward adults.
  • Ask your friend to share her feelings. Talking about the pain can be very comforting to your infertile friend. You do not have to say any magic phrases to make her feel better. What your infertile friend needs the most is for you to "hear" her, empathize with her pain and still want to be around her.
  • Make yourself available to your infertile friend. During the Christmas season, it is easy to get carried away with the "busy-ness" of the season and lose touch with your friends. Make an effort to stay in touch with your infertile friend during this busy time of year.


Whitney said...

Great suggestions. I wish everyone could read these!

Faith said...

I love this post! It is difficult to read because it puts into words what i feel in such a real way that emotions well up that i didn't really know were there (you get good at stuffing i guess)... anyway, thank you for posting! And thank you for blogging!