Infertility sucks. But, it also changed my life. And you never know what what trials people have faced until you get the full story.
If you would have told me 7 years ago that I would be sitting here with 3 precious children, I probably would not have believed you.
7 years ago marked when my husband and I felt deep in the trenches of our battle with infertility — the biggest challenge of our life and marriage…and it sucked. (Pardon my French, but frankly that’s the truth.) You can read a little bit of our story here.
Many might look at me and ask why I am still so passionate and interested in infertility when I have three children. But thats precisely the reason I still focus on infertility–because my children didn’t come easily and it was journey. A journey of trial, pain, challenges, financial strain, marital strain and times of depression; however, that journey also ended with our three precious gifts.
Our infertility journey included three main struggles that we dealt with: primary infertility, ovarian cancer, and secondary infertility. Some people know the details of our story in depth, while others remain completely unaware if they joined in our story late in the game.
Regardless, these three challenges shaped me into who I have become, how I deal with trials, how I view the Lord, and how I approach life. My husband and I have become an open book when it comes to speaking to others who struggle with infertility, but sometimes you just don’t know what to say. You may want to help someone when infertility sucks, but you just don’t know how.
Check out these 7 suggestions for helping someone when infertility sucks:
1. Don’t give any suggestions.
Unless someone specifically asks for a suggestion or advice, don’t give it. Unsolicited advice can become more detrimental than helpful.
2. Listen well.
Infertility is lonely. Sometimes we just need someone to talk to and listen–without giving suggestions. Also, please listen when someone says they don’t want to talk about it. They might not be at a point where they can talk about the struggle openly yet. (You might have to read between the lines or watch body language to interpret this!)
3. Don’t tell someone you understand. (You don’t.)
Even if you have gone through infertility yourself, each situation has unique circumstances. Empathy gets you a long way, but don’t pretend you know the feelings inside.
4. Don’t speak down to others.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the line, “You’ll understand when you have kids” or “Don’t worry about that yet, since you haven’t had kids.” Either one of these statements emotionally cripples a couple battling infertility.
5. Never joke about how much sex we must be having.
Couples battling infertility battle more emotionally than others know. Their sex life should never become the object of your humor. Find other topics to joke about when offering humor.
6. Accept that they may struggle for a while.
It drove me crazy when people told us it would all end soon and God would give us a child. The message the couple hears is: your problem isn’t very big, and you need to get over it. Stay patient with their emotions and allow them time to grieve and process.
7. Serve them.
Don’t know how? Ask. Shower them with love and you can’t go wrong. Even when you don’t know what to say, actions speak strongly and make an impact. Even though infertility has difficulty around every corner, you can always find little ways to start helping someone going through infertility.
Start with this list (let me know what other suggestions you have!) and remember that although the experience hurts, having someone walk alongside of them in love can make all the difference.