How to support friends struggling to conceive
*This post originally appeared on Telisha’s blog, Double the Doubles.*
In the age of Instagram, it’s easy to scroll through your feed and see endless baby announcements and sweet first birthday photoshoots. What you don’t see are posts from friends who are struggling to conceive, seeing one negative pregnancy test after the other. In fact, about ten percent of women struggle to conceive. This means that someone you love is going through it.
As someone who has seen family members or friends struggling to conceive with the shame of buying a pregnancy test in fear of “what if It’s just another negative? I’m not sure my heart can handle another test without two lines.” Or, "What if I see someone I know?”
If you’re wondering how to be a good friend to those during this time, here are some tips from the ladies at Stix, a new pregnancy test company that’s centered around privacy, empowerment, and accessibility.
Simply check in about how they’re doing and let them open up to you.
Trying to conceive is anxiety inducing enough, and the last thing your friend needs are added reminders that they aren’t getting pregnant. You can support your friend by calling and texting regularly to just see how they’re feeling and ask how their week is going. If they feel comfortable, they’ll open up.
First and foremost, take the time to listen.
If your friend opens up to you, just hear them out. Listen and digest what they’re saying. Don’t jump to solutions or conclusions.
Don’t tell them everything will be okay, that they should “just relax.”
While it’s tempting to want to soothe them and their pain, telling them to chill out and go with the flow is the wrong move. It minimizes their feelings. In the moment, they might not feel like it will be okay, and that is okay in itself.
Regularly ask them to get coffee or a quick lunch.
Fertility struggles can be really lonely. Go out of your way to make yourself available and create meaningful face-to-face interactions. Ask her to start her day with a quick coffee meet up. A little gesture like that can truly go a long way.
Don’t suggest adopting or fertility treatments.
Trust me, your friend is smart and she knows her options. Don’t play doctor with her. She will reach her own conclusions when the time is right. Plus, you don’t know the intimate details that go behind making a decision like adoption or IVF.
Offer to connect them with other women who are also struggling with the same thing.
Infertility can feel like a long and lonely journey. There are amazing communities of women that are going through the same challenges. While you can be a great friend, if you haven’t gone through infertility, it’s hard to relate. Think about who you know in your network you can connect her to. Don’t be pushy with it, though, just suggest it and see how she reacts. Gently remind her that you’re happy to make the connection if and when she feels up to it.
Most importantly, tell them you’re sorry they’re going through this and that you’re here for them.
Infertility sucks. If you don’t know what to say, a simple and sincere “I’m sorry and i’m here for you” goes a long way.
Infertility can be quite expensive, too. Dozens and dozens of pregnancy tests and doctors appointments can add up. Stix is a female-founded pregnancy test company that delivers high quality pregnancy tests directly to women in a discreet envelope. Next time you’re thinking about when to take a pregnancy test, avoid those judgmental cashier clerks and dated, overpriced top shelf brands.