Wednesday, April 23, 2014

National Infertility Awareness Week


Hi Friends!  I just learned that this week is National Infertility Awareness Week and wanted to share a few things I have learned about infertility.

I haven't actually been diagnosed as "infertile" for very long, but I have waited for four years now to be able to have another child.  It's much tougher than I imagined it could be.  The thing I have longed for most in this journey is understanding.  Not judgement.  So I've come up with a few suggestions to help out those in your life who may be struggling with the disease of infertility.

  • Show them you care.  Give them a hug.  Listen.  Ask questions in a thoughtful and sensitive way.  Even if you don't know what infertility is like, acknowledge that it is really hard and painful.  Don't belittle their suffering.
  • Be informed.  Before I knew that I had  Severe Endometriosis and would have a hard time having more children, I really didn't understand the struggles and facts about infertility.  Like all trials in life, you don't really know what infertility is like until you experience it.  I realize now that I should have been more sensitive with others, but I just didn't know.  So the more informed you are, the better of a support you can be.
  • Never ask a woman if she is pregnant, especially in public. Woman with infertility often struggle with feelings of self-worth as it is, so don't make them feel even more insecure, even if you are just curious. 
  • Don't complain about your kids or pregnancies no matter how difficult they may be.
  • If you are pregnant, let them know in a private and thoughtful way.  I had a friend who wrote me a nice little email and it was perfect.  It allowed me to deal with my frustration in private and I really appreciated that she told me that way.
  • Don't tell them what to do or what not to do.  Women with infertility already blame themselves enough for not being able to have children.  Believe me, in most cases they are already doing everything they can.  They just want people to understand.

Infertility is such a sensitive issue, so I hope this has helped.  If you just don't know what to say to someone, just ask them what they need.  Ask them what helps them.  They will tell you.  

Any thoughts or suggestions?  What has helped you or someone you know deal with infertility?

8 comments:

  1. To write down a blog or think about something else. That helped me.

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  2. I come to this issue from a different perspective. I'm trying to word this in a way that won't cause offence or sadness, as that is truly not my purpose. When I found out that I would not be able to have children it really didn't have an impact because being a mother is not something I ever wanted for myself. My irritation comes from people who refuse to accept that I choose not to have children, not that I'm not having them because I can't. On the rare occasion that I finally tell people I can't just so they'll leave me alone, I've heard "well if you could I'm sure you would". It makes me crazy! I can only imagine - given how frustrated this makes me and how minor an issue this is - how difficult it must be for people who are dealing with infertility and want to have a child.

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  3. Great list Elise! I agree with everyone of your points. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. What a good list! I think I was the same way. I didn't really think about it until it was happening to me. Thanks for sharing and posting. :)

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  5. *hugs* I only had a hint of this with Polycystic Ovaries. It look me a long time to get pregnant. People asking if I was 'pregnant yet' was the most painful thing x

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  6. This is good for me to know. Thanks!

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  7. What good advice. I had several friends who had either just lost their precious babies, miscarried or where having fertility problems during my pregnancies, it is really hard to have that conversation and be that great big pregnant reminder to them of what you have and they don't. All my friends were very sweet about it but even now 15+ years later I recall how very difficult and painful it was for all of us. No one likes to see their friends suffering, I think you just have to be really honest with each other to get through it and keep friendships intact.

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    1. Julia, thanks for sharing your perspective. You have great advice too! Hardships like this can be a strain on a relationship, so ya, you are right. You have to open up and talk about it.

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