What CAN you say to someone going through infertility treatments? How can you navigate this sensitive subject, offer support, and do so with sensitivity?
This is a follow up to last week’s post, What NOT to Say to Someone Going through Infertility Treatments. PS, there were some GEMS that I had totally forgotten about/omitted, so I added them in–be sure to check them out so that you can avoid those massive blunders!
What You Can Say to Someone Undergoing Infertility Treatments
This list might seem oddly short, but there is a reason for it: sometimes, less is more. But still say something! Just knowing that you are there, that you care, and that you have the decency to recognize the level of sensitivity required of the subject of infertility speaks more highly of you than a bunch of words that could go the wrong direction. (again, see last week’s now expanded post).
You are allowed to feel whatever you are feeling.
They might not know how they are feeling, honestly. For the most part, I have felt sadness and anxiety, not anger, so when people tell me that it is okay to feel mad, I feel even more like they just don’t get it, or that maybe I am the one who doesn’t get it. When we are hormonal and emotional, the last thing that we need to be doing is questioning how we are processing our news–so let us process, then let us tell you what we are going through, and then just tell us that it is alright.
We might feel totally different in 30 minutes. Just be there for us.
Take the time that you need. AND THEN How are you feeling?
Again, you need to let them determine what the next step is as well as when they are going to take the next step. Check on them later on the week that they get bad news, just so that they know that you care, and simply ask the second part.
When I texted Alex about my negative test, he called me immediately, but I just didn’t have anything to say yet. Our phone call was about 2 minutes long–him telling me he loved me, that he was sad, and me telling him that I didn’t know what to say and needed a moment. I hung up and sobbed. It wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that I was able to speak on it.
I don’t know what you are going through or how you feel, but I wanted to let you know that I am here for you when and if you need me.
Just be there if you are needed, but don’t be offended if they don’t reach out to you.You don’t have to know what to say in order to be there. You friend will tell you what he or she wants to tell you, and when he or she wants to talk.
I love you (if appropriate). OR I am sending hugs and so much love.
Send that. Hugs and love always work. “Send” doggy cuddles (maybe even bring the dog over–you remember how much I needed Ridley after our last negative), cat vomit (this is definitely a joke; please don’t send cat vomit).
Basically, let them steer the ship. Don’t put words into their mouths, tell them how to feel, or how to act. Let them know that you love them, that you are there for them, and that you will support them in any way that you can.
Simple is best. Let them rant, wail, or sit in silence. Watching someone grieve can be hard and uncomfortable, but you have to let them process what they are going through–something that they might not yet know or understand.
Note of Caution:
As much as you want to let them take their time, let them lead the discussion (or not), if it appears that they are at risk of doing themselves harm, please get their loved one involved. If the loved one is not available, you might need to take them to the hospital or call someone (like a therapist) for them.
This is also the case if they are having mood swings, crying jags, or are withdrawing after a week of hearing bad news. Don’t ambush them, just tell them that you are concerned, you understand that they have had a shock, and perhaps they might find it helpful to talk to someone apart from their normal circle.The secret to what you CAN say to someone going through #infertility treatments #TTCJourney Click To Tweet
I hope that these posts helped! I know that it is a tricky situation–love and compassion is the way to go.
What are some other ways of offering compassion?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud