11 ways to show compassion to a friend living with infertility

When you want to understand, but don't know how.

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  • Infertility is one of the most devastating afflictions for any couple. Being unable to conceive a child is something that many people never consider until it happens to them. Often times, infertility is a difficult and sensitive subject, and it is challenging to know exactly what way to approach a loved one who is struggling with its complications.

  • Here are 11 ways to show them compassion:

  • 1. Show them you care

  • The best thing you can do for any loved one during turbulent times is to simply offer your presence and your compassion. One of the best things you can do is support them, lend a helping hand and be a good listener.

  • 2. Offer your assistance

  • Often times, infertility calls for many doctor visits, and with that, a lack of free time. If your loved ones happen to have older children at home or pets to take care of, offer your help in watching over them while they are at appointments.

  • 3. Support them in their decision to begin or stop treatment

  • Fertility treatment is sometimes an option for those struggling to conceive, but treatment is expensive and the results are not 100% guaranteed. After a long haul of unsuccessful treatments, whatever their decision might be, support them without question.

  • 4. Be informed

  • The best way to begin understanding something is to study. Do your research on infertility and get acquainted with treatment plans and symptoms. This way you will be informed and educated when your loved one wants to talk about their diagnosis.

  • 5. Attend appointments with them

  • If they are in need of your moral support, be willing to attend those difficult appointments with them. Whether you are staying in the waiting room or going in with the physician himself, your moral support can mean more to them than you realize.

  • 6. Be sensitive

  • Being unable to fulfill your dream of bringing about a child is completely shattering. Approach the subject with caution and be sensitive to your loved one's emotions and thoughts on their infertility. Follow his or her lead on the subject.

  • 7. Remember them on both Mother's and Father's Day

  • There are many people in the world who are unable to ever achieve their goal of parenthood, but that doesn't mean they never act as fatherly and motherly figures within their lives. Don't forget your friends on this day. They will be both flattered and grateful that you remember them on that day.

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  • 8. Be aware of both men and women

  • Many people unintentionally disregard the potential father figure within a couple struggling with conceiving. Although the woman might be more open about her feelings, her partner may be silently grieving. Be sure to reach out to him as well.

  • 9. Avoid complaining about your own pregnancy or children

  • Parenthood isn't all kicks and giggles all hours of the day, and sometimes you may need to vent, but be aware that pregnancy is a sensitive topic in the eyes of your friend. It might be in your better interest to consult your pregnancy problems with someone who has been in similar circumstances.

  • 10. Refrain from giving advice

  • If your loved one has been struggling with infertility for some time, it is most likely that he or she has heard every piece of advice doctors and specialists have to offer. While you may want to give your friend the very best counsel you can, telling them to "relax" or to "give it time" may not always be the most helpful thing to say. Simply lend your ear and lend your heart to them.

  • 11. Share your own experiences

  • If you have suffered a miscarriage or you too are struggling with infertility, share your wisdom and counsel with your friend. Nothing is more comforting than talking to someone who completely understands what you are going through.

  • Infertility is very hard to understand and even more hard to accept. The best thing you can do as a friend or a family member is to simply support your loved ones to the best of your ability. Love them, appreciate them and support them. You will never know how much your presence means to them.

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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.

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