7 Suggestions For Helping Someone When Infertility Sucks

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.

helping someone when infertility sucks

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.

  • Old Sarge

    I have given guidance to folks over the years with this issue and it is not funny, Some of the things i have learned over the years has helped some folks. Each situation is different. Sometimes all it takes is a change in the mechanics or vaginal environment. Sometimes when people give up trying the removal of the stress results in pregancy. One couple gave up and in the middle of the adoption process came up pregnant. One couple adopted two kids and became pregnant. One couple tried for ten years and when they had resigned themselves to being childless, VOILA! Enjoy trying for a baby as often as you can, but enjoy it. I believe when you make it a job trying to beat a deadline or crank out a project you somehow hinder the process by the stress. Some will be sterile and thnakfully there are plenty of children needing love. Then again, adoption seems to enhance fertility so who knows. However, for those who are indeed infertile and will stay that way, I pray that God will give you grace to accept the situation and to consider adoption. Lavish your love on someone who needs it. May peace be unto you.

    • Goose929

      Thanks for visiting the blog! Every situation truly is unique and different. Many of the words you mentioned were some of the most difficult comments for us to hear as we experienced infertility. Hopefully those you spoke with felt differently, and left feeling encouraged.

      • Old Sarge

        They did, because they saw in the testimonies of others that they were not alone and even when it looked hopeless there was still hope. It is hard to see a compassionate face or hear a tone of voice in writing.

        Unfortunately, in life not all things are necessarily encouraging, but they are true. Not facing some things only makes reality worse when those things come to pass. Some of these were made after hearing the anxiety and stress in the voice or seeing it in the face. Removing the stress was needed. Considering alternatives is almost always needed in any situation.

        Some felt that since God opens and shuts the womb that maybe they were were in some sin that kept them from having children or maybe God did not love them. That was a difficult discussion. Trying to overcome such perceptions can be challenging.

        I am happy for you! Enjoy your blessings! Peace be unto you!

        • http://www.lindseybridges.com/ Lindsey Bridges

          Just wanted to say thanks again for your feedback. Praying for you as you provide perspective and hope to other familiies facing infertility. Have a great weekend.

      • Old Sarge

        Here is another option.


        • http://www.lindseybridges.com Lindsey Bridges

          Very true. You are absolutely correct. At the end of the day, there are many, many options out there that people may want to consider. I love the way you take the time to help people see the options available to them as it can be very difficult during the tough days of infertility.

          I can’t caution enough that many times couples aren’t at the point of hearing advice. Frequently, we’ve found couples hurting and in need of care and compassion more than advice and “truth.” Ultimately, we all need truth and need to follow God’s leading and His word but we’ve witnessed far too many people who pull the “advice giving” trigger far too early rather than first listening and loving.

  • Pingback: 5 Reasons Why Infertility is a Silent, but Deadly Struggle - Intentional Living for Intentional Moms()

  • Pingback: 7 Ways to Keep Infertility from Ruining Your Marriage - Intentional Living for Intentional Moms()

  • Pingback: 8 Things Not to Say to Your Friend Going Through Infertility - Intentional Living for Intentional Moms()

  • Michele Lafortune

    So true …my saddest memories was having a miscarriage a week before Christmas. Going home for the holidays and found out my sister in law and my sister were pregnant. It was all our first pregnancy. The second time ….they were twin and brought one to term (Jojo) For years I wasn’t able to look at twin. Today I’m bless with two kids (26 & 23) I totally get it you’re on a mission and as an expert keep blogging on the subject because all the stories hasn’t been told yet….and maybe one word or one experience will give the soon to be mother some hope and clarity you can so well write about it.

    Best of luck.

    • http://www.lindseybridges.com/ Lindsey Bridges

      Thanks for sharing Michele. I never went through the pain of miscarriage and I’m sure these statements are equally painful. Glad JoJo and Elisa are here today. Thanks for your encouragement.

  • Guest

    Thanks for sharing Michele. I never went through the pain of miscarriage and I’m sure these statements are equally painful. Glad JoJo and Elisa are here today!!

  • Nancy Le

    Thank you. I think not offering suggestions and just being there to listen and praying for them in the secret place is best. I have friends that have gone thru this and my own parents.

  • Pingback: 10 Reasons I'm Thankful for Infertility - Intentional Living for Intentional Moms()