Loving Your Friend Through Infertility- What to Say

(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:

I’m sorry.

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.

Just listen.

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

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About jackielopina

Follower of Jesus, Pastor's Wife, Cookie Baker.
This entry was posted in Infertility, Loving Your Friend Series, Sanctification and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Loving Your Friend Through Infertility- What to Say

  1. steph says:

    great post. I think your insight here will give many of us the “permission” to say things that we may have been thinking, but weren’t sure (especially after the last post! haha) if they were appropriate or helpful. God IS good and He’s doing a huge work through you as you walk down this road. I know that you never would have chosen it, but you are using it to be such an encouragement to others while constantly pointing to Jesus. Thank you.

  2. Jacquelyn says:

    I have a question :) I like this series and it’s been really helpful to remind me to keep my mouth shut sometimes :) I am wondering about the line about not complaining about pregnancy. Obviously, a complaintive attitude is always ungrateful and therefore never Godly, but I’m wondering if this extends into statements from a pregnant mother like, (if you ask her how she is doing) “I’m just not feeling well today” or “My belly is making it hard to get comfortable and sleep at night”. To me, those statements are not complaining but are honest. Pregnancy is very hard (but also good), motherhood is very hard (but also good), and I am of the position that if we mask the difficult parts, especially about something so transformative and encompassing as motherhood, that we are setting up too high of standards for mothers and it can lead to things like PPD. I’ve seen in my own experience the fallout for new mothers who weren’t prepared for what to expect. Now, I understand that it might still be hard to hear those things, but I don’t think the mother is always intending to complain (out of an ungrateful attitude), and she is just being honest.

    What do you think about that? Perhaps you could elaborate a bit more on that :)

    • jackielopina says:

      Hey Jacquelyn! That’s a great question!

      A part of it goes back to how close you are with someone. If it’s a best friend, just talk to her and ask her how to best share your lives together! If it’s an acquaintance definitely be honest, but I wouldn’t go too much into detail unless they ask deeper. Things like “I’m doing okay” or “Hanging in there, just really worn out” are great!

      Personally I think there is a huge difference between sharing pregnancy and complaining about pregnancy. Feel free to share things like you mentioned! Or statements like “I’m really uncomfortable” or “I’ve been nauseas a lot so it’s hard to get things done.” Statements such as “I hate being pregnant” or “I’d do anything to get this baby out of me” are probably the hardest to hear. Now, most of my friends are mothers and I know those are common things to feel and say (especially towards the end!!!) and I’m not even going to say I think people should never say them! Just shelter your friend’s ears who would literally be willing to vomit 5 times a day to get a baby in the end:)

      Jacquelyn thanks for reading and joining in the conversation! Hope you’re doing well!

      • Jacquelyn says:

        TOTALLY! Thanks so much, I was wondering where the line was. I talked with my husband about it too and we decided basically the same thing you just said, re: acquaintances, etc. It seems we’re on the same page, so that’s great! Thanks :)

  3. Kate Titus says:

    Ditto to what Steph said. A lot of what you posted here is what I’ve wanted to say to you. Seriously, I think about you guys a LOT and about what amazing parents you will be and how I don’t understand why you have to go through this. Love you.

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