The decision to have a baby can be such an exciting time! It’s a time filled with hoping and excitedly wondering if “this is the month” that it’s going to happen. However, for many it can also be a time of frustration, anxiety and wondering if this is “finally the month” that it’s going to happen. No matter what stage a couple may be in for the process of trying for a baby, the loving and thoughtful support of friends can make struggling to conceive a bit more bearable.
My husband and I experienced some of this when we were trying to conceive our second child. After 3 years of waiting and wondering, we were finally able to conceive. During that time, love and support from family and friends meant so much to me. I can still remember how someone saying or doing just the right thing at the right time made everything easier.
Because of this, I decided to ask a few friends in different stages of trying to have a baby, about what friends and family members should do to help show them love and support through the process. Many of the answers were the same from friends who are just at the beginning of the process to friends who have been struggling with infertility for many years. So I decided to compile some of their answers into a list of things that you should (and shouldn’t) do to support a friend who is trying to conceive.
• Don’t “go there” on your own: Questions and comments about conceiving/ trying to have a baby should only be brought up if the person who is dealing with it, brings it up! Getting a lot of questions like “so when are you having a baby” can add a lot of pain and anxiety to the situation.
• Do ask open ended questions. Ask about other area’s of the friend’s life such as work and hobbies. Be genuinely interested and excited about their achievements in these areas.
• If it starts with “at least” or “it’s ok” you probably shouldn’t say it. One friend told me “Many family and friends have tried to make you feel better with well meaning things like: At least you get to sleep in… Kids are a pain… You are welcome to take mine any time… I wish sometimes I didn’t have kids… You just need to relax… You should just adopt its easier… Once you adopt you’ll get pregnant… Etc… Nobody ever plans to be hurtful or cruel but if it starts with “at least” or “it’s ok”, you probably shouldn’t say it.”
• Don’t exclude- Just because your friend doesn’t have kids of their own, doesn’t mean that they don’t want to come to kid-friendly activities. Offer an invitation for your friend to come to the event with your family.
•But don’t be offended by a “no”- be understanding if your friend declines. She may not be emotionally in the mood to hang out with a bunch of kids, or simply have her own things going on that day. Whatever the reason, always respond with love and understanding.
• Plan a kid-free night- one friend recently told me, “I love spending time with you and your kids, but it really means the world to me, when it’s just the two of us, especially because I know how hard it is for you to make that happen.” Just enjoy a night of no kid/ diaper/ cartoon conversation and enjoy some time connecting with your friend.
• Provide a listening ear- if your friend brings up her struggles or concerns with trying to conceive to you, just lend a listening ear. One friend said, “people always had too many stories and advice to share that had nothing to do with what I was going through!! We don’t want to hear stories (good or bad) I was clear to my inner circle that all I wanted was an ear to listen and empathy. No advice… No stories… Just love and support.”
• Let your friend share her love- a friend who has had a long time struggle told me that she finds comfort in sharing her motherly love with those around her. She said “I have 5 “adopted nieces” and 1 “nephew”. I am the activity days leader (girls 8-11) in my church (kinda like girl scouts). I love the children around me and my friends that allow me to be a Mother figure to their children. Surround yourself with great supporting friends and you can “mother” those kids around you and be a everlasting influence on them.”
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SASMAR Conceive Plus® sponsored this blog post. The opinions and text are all mine.