Infertility is one of the most painful and devastating afflictions someone can experience. When a couple that desperately wants a child tries to conceive with no avail, the diagnosis and hopelessness of infertility can completely shatter those whose only wish is to have a child.
Even if you have good intentions, infertility is a heavy and sensitive subject. It's important to know what is and what isn't appropriate to say to someone who is struggling to conceive.
1. "You will get pregnant if you stop trying so hard."
This phrase is one of the most frustrating things you can say to a couple. Everyone's body functions differently. This is one phrase you should avoid saying completely.
2. "Has your husband/wife been checked out?"
You may mean well, but this is a comment that rudely points fingers. If the couple is having a hard time getting pregnant, they have probably already approached medical professionals to give them answers. It is not your place to play doctor.
3. "You guys would have such cute kids!"
This is a phrase that seems like a compliment full of good intentions, but just reminds the couple they don't yet have a child.
4. "There is nothing to worry about, there are plenty of options to help you."
There are many options for those who struggle with infertility, but those options are expensive and the results are not always promising.
5. "I'm pregnant!" or "I got pregnant and we weren't even trying!"
If you must announce this to your friend struggling to have a child, do so with care and empathy. Although it is wonderful news that you are expecting, it can devastate your friend and remind her that she may never be blessed with children as easily as you are.
6. "Aren't you too young/old?"
Everyone has a different path in life. There is no set time to have children, and issues that cause infertility can happen at any age.
7. "You can always adopt a child."
There are many children waiting to be adopted, but refrain from suggesting this to a couple struggling to have their own biological child. They may have already considered adoption, or they may have not given up hope on conceiving their own yet. Either way, it is their choice and not your business.
9. "Be grateful you'll always have money and you can always sleep in."
This comment minimizes the problem of not having a child and makes it seem like sleep and money are more important than a family.
10. "Maybe you two just aren't meant to have any children."
This is an awful thing to say to a childless couple. No one is meant to or not meant to do anything in this lifetime. Infertility is not a punishment from Mother Nature.
11. "I hate being pregnant."
Don't complain about your own pregnancy to someone who is unable to be pregnant. Be grateful for your ability to carry a child and be aware of the feelings of those around you.
12. "Kids are so tiring, you're lucky you don't have to deal with them."
Parenting has never been a breeze. It is hard, exhausting and lasts a lifetime. Children are a lot of work, but be grateful for them. I guarantee you that your infertile friend does not feel lucky about her inability to have children.
13. "You already have one, why is this such a big deal?"
Some people are able to have their first baby naturally, then suddenly experience infertility when trying for more children. Secondary infertility can be just as devastating, even when a couple already has a child of their own. They may have wanted more children and are now unable to fulfill that wish. Be compassionate in this situation.
14. "Have you been taking care of your body?"
A person's health habits are their own business. This is a subject appropriate for the doctor's office, not anywhere else.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.