How to Help Someone Who is Struggling to Conceive
If You’re Trying to Help Someone Who is Trying to Conceive Stay Positive and Supportive
When a woman is trying to conceive she, and her partner get all sorts of advice and nosy questions. Most of the time the advice isn’t helpful, and the nosy questions just add to their stress. Here is a list of things people often say to someone struggling to conceive, followed by something that should be said instead that will be more supportive and less stressful.
Don’t say: I’ve heard you’re trying to conceive.
Instead: You can say something positive about some other aspect of her life or just ask how things are going in general. Leave the conversation open ended, so she can feel comfortable discussing the subject with you.
Also, if a woman is on fertility drugs, she has a lot of hormones surging through her body making her emotional. Depending on where she is in the fertility cycle, she might feel some tentative hope or be extremely depressed because the last cycle didn’t work. Either way, asking her about it might bring up emotions that she isn’t prepared to discuss with you right away.
Don’t say: Why did you wait so long; your peak fertility is in your 20’s?
Instead: You can say something positive about somebody getting pregnant in their late 30’s or early 40’s and ending up with a wonderful child.
Most people know when a woman’s fertility peaks and women that are struggling to get pregnant are extremely aware and don’t need to be reminded. If you have a great story, like your hair dresser had her first child at 42 and she’s a wonderful kid, then share that. The more positive stories you share the better.
Don’t say: Have you tried laying on your back and putting your legs up after having sex?
Instead: If you must go there at all, use language that is non-confrontational or demeaning. Something like: “You’ve probably already explored this option, but I just wanted to mention it because it worked for my husband’s cousin. She told me about it when we saw her baby last weekend.”
Remember, most women trying to conceive have explored every treatment, even non-medical interventions. Whatever you want to mention she’s probably already explored it. You can also say something about your belief that she will eventually become a mother because she’s smart and tenacious and will keep at this until she gets the baby of her dreams.
Don’t say: Don’t stress about it, if you’re under a lot of stress it makes things worse.
Say instead: Is there something I can help you with that will relieve some of your stress? How about we go to the day spa next weekend, my treat? Or, I know you’re probably running around a lot right now, can I drop off some food that just needs heating up, so you have one less thing to deal with?
Women struggling to conceive are under a lot of stress and they know it. Telling them not to stress only makes the situation more stressful since it’s something they can’t control. Frankly, at this point not being able to control stress is something else for them to feel guilty about, so reminding them doesn’t help. But, helping with something, on the other hand, does.
Don’t say: You’re making this too difficult, if you stop trying so hard it will happen naturally.
Instead: You can say it sounds like you’re doing everything possible to achieve your goal, that’s wonderful. I know that you’ll be a wonderful parent. The truth is that most people try on their own for at least a year before seeking help for infertility. By the time they’re actively trying to get pregnant, using infertility interventions, there is a dwindling ovarian reserve and every cycle count. They don’t have time to just stop and wait for nature to take its’ course. Nature had its’ chance already, they are now at the active intervention stage, which is right where they need to be.
Don’t say: Did you hear that Samantha is pregnant again?
Instead: You can share other gossip that you’ve heard that doesn’t involve pregnancy.
Chances are the woman trying to conceive has already heard the gossip about the pregnancy and has processed it herself in private. She doesn’t need to be reminded frequently that there are women out there who are pregnant, she already knows that and is trying her hardest to join them. Pointing this out to her just makes her feel worse.
Don’t say: Why don’t you just adopt?
Instead: You can say you deserve a family, you’re going to be a great mom, and I know it will happen for you eventually.
While most people are aware of adoption on some level, most don’t know how much time, effort and money it takes to achieve one. This is especially true if you want to adopt an infant. It’s not like shopping, it’s a long, involved process that basically involves selling yourselves to birth mothers and social service agencies. Adopting is a fantastic option that most people undergoing infertility treatment have explored, but most women trying to get pregnant using fertility treatments want to be completely sure there’s no way the treatments are going to work before they start the adoption process.
These are just a few ideas that can help you know what to say and do when you’re trying to support a woman who is struggling to get pregnant. The big thing to remember is not to add stress to her life, she has plenty of that already. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your friend who is trying to conceive. Anything you can do, or say, that doesn’t add more stress and makes her feel supported will be appreciated.