(Here are the previous posts in this series)
In the two recent posts in this series I wrote about what NOT to say to your friend. My friend Steph wrote a comment that is such a good reminder. As people, we often try to “fix” others. Even though we may consciously realize we can’t fix infertility, sometimes we don’t know what angle to take so we offer anything that comes to mind. That’s why people say things like – “have you tried this doctor?” Or – “just stop thinking about it and it will happen.”
I encourage you (in most issues of life!!!) not to be a fixer. When you are talking to your friend with infertility, let your words have the motivation of understanding, comfort and encouragement.
Obviously everyone is different, but here are some ideas you can say:
Don’t over think it. It’s okay to tell your friend that yes, this sucks and you’re really sorry she has to go through it. Don’t be afraid to cry with her or tell her you’re really sad for her. It won’t make her MORE sad – on the contrary it will comfort her in her grief and know she’s not alone there.
I’m here for you. Let me know what I can do to love and support you.
This can be really freeing. Want someone to go to a doctor appointment with you? Need someone to come clean your house? Want to come bake and talk? Need to watch a stupid movie and get your mind off things? Even if your friend never calls on you for these particular things, it is monumental for them to know that they can if they need to.
It’s okay if you don’t know what to say. Some of the times I’ve felt the most loved during hard days were when my friend was just listening and crying with me. As friends, sometimes we feel like we HAVE to say something. It’s okay to say “I don’t know what to say, I love you.” You can’t fix my infertility or my sadness. And that’s okay. Just be there for me:)
You’ll be great parents.
This is such a sweet encouragement. Sometimes we believe lies that we’re not getting pregnant because we’ll be awful parents. It sounds crazy, but it can be devastating. This statement is so hopeful for your friend! It reminds them that this is a season and one day, if the Lord wills, they will be parents.
I’m praying for you.
Prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16). Pray for your friend. Pray with your friend. We recently had some (new!!) friends pray over us and it was such a beautiful and life giving time. It was the absolute best thing they could have said or done.
I’d like you there, but I totally understand if you would rather not come to my baby shower.
If you’re pregnant, it can make this situation especially sticky. You can share things with your friend! Try your darndest not to complain about pregnancy, but it’s okay to want her to celebrate with you! Often this may be really, really hard. The more you’re aware of this and sensitive, the easier it will be for your friend to celebrate with you. But know that she may not go to your baby shower. And she may still hide you on facebook when you weekly update the size of your baby. And that’s okay. It doesn’t mean that she doesn’t love you, it just may lead her to sin or despair to be around that.
I don’t know why He is doing this, but I know God is good.
In my best moments, I know this trial is a huge blessing. But usually I don’t want you to tell me that this TRIAL is good. What I need is you to remind me that OUR GOD is good. THAT is something I can hold onto. That’s a truth that is so ground breaking it can change everything.
[Resolve has a great article on “Infertility Etiquette” which you can read here if you want]
– Photo Credit: Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post