The big thing to remember, when trying to help someone who is trying to conceive, is not to add stress to her life, she has plenty of that already. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your friend who is trying to get pregnant. Anything you can do, or say, that makes her feel supported will be appreciated.
If You’re Trying to Help Someone Who is Trying to Conceive Stay Positive and Supportive
When a woman is trying to conceive she and her partner get all sorts of advice and nosy questions, most of the time the advice isn’t helpful and the nosy questions stress them out even more than they already are. Here is a list of things people often say to someone struggling to conceive followed by something that can be said instead that will be more supportive and less stressful.
Don’t say: I’ve heard you’re trying to conceive.
Say instead: Something positive about some other aspect of her life or just ask how things are going in general, leave it very open ended so she can start discussing a subject she’s comfortable with. If a woman is on fertility drugs, she has a lot of hormones surging through her body making her more emotional. Depending on where she is in the fertility cycle, she might feel some tentative hope or be extremely depressed because the last cycle didn’t work. Either way, asking her about it might bring up emotions that she isn’t prepared to discuss with you right now.
Don’t say: Why did you wait so long, your peak fertility is in your 20’s?
Say instead: Anything positive about somebody getting pregnant in their late 30’s or early 40’s and ending up with a wonderful child. Most people know when a woman’s fertility peaks and women struggling to get pregnant are extremely aware. Women who are struggling to conceive are hyper aware of this fact and don’t need to be reminded. If you have a great story, like your hair dresser had her first child at 42 and she’s a wonderful kid, this is so much better. The more positive outcome stories women hear the better they feel. No one, especially someone who’s hormones are hyped up because of fertility drugs, needs to be reminded that some of their life choices led to the predicament they are in now.
Don’t say: Have you tried standing on your head after sex or any other old wives tale you’re heard.
Say instead: If you have to go there at all, use language that is non-confrontational or demeaning. Something like: “You’ve probably already explored this option but I just wanted to mention it because it worked for my husband’s cousin. She told me about it when we saw her baby last weekend.” Remember, most women trying to conceive have explored every treatment, even non-medical interventions. Whatever you want to mention she’s probably already explored it. Even better, say something about your belief that she will eventually become a mother because she’s smart and tenacious and will keep at this until she gets results since she is obviously meant to be a mother.
Don’t say: Don’t stress about it, if you’re under a lot of stress it makes things worse.
Say instead: Is there something I can help you with that will relieve some of your stress? How about we go to the day spa next weekend, my treat? Or, I know you’re probably running around a lot right now, can I drop off some food that just needs heating up so you have one less thing to deal with? Women struggling to conceive are under a lot of stress and they know it, telling them not to stress only makes the situation more stressful since it’s something they can’t control. Frankly, at this point not being able to control stress is something else for them to feel guilty about so reminding them doesn’t help. Actually helping with something, on the other hand, does.
Don’t say: You’re making this too difficult; if you stop trying so hard it will happen naturally.
Say instead: It sounds like you’re doing everything possible to achieve your goal, that’s wonderful; I know that you’ll be a wonderful parent. The truth is that most people try on their own for at least a year before seeking help for infertility, they’ve already done easy and stress free and it didn’t work for them. By the time they’re actively trying to get pregnant, using infertility interventions, there is a dwindling ovarian reserve and every cycle counts. They don’t have time to just stop and wait for nature to take its’ course. Nature had its’ chance already, they are now at the active intervention stage, which is right where they need to be.
Don’t say: Did you hear that Samantha is pregnant again?
Say instead: Did you hear that Sam is in the process of becoming Samantha, or basically any other gossip that is just as juicy but doesn’t involve pregnancy. Chances are the woman trying to conceive has already heard the gossip about the pregnancy and has processed it herself in private. She doesn’t need to be reminded frequently that there are women out there who are pregnant, she already knows that and is trying her hardest to join them. Pointing this out to her just makes her feel worse and is something else to beat herself up about.
Don’t say: Why don’t you just adopt?
Instead say: You deserve a family, you’re going to be a great mom, and I know it will happen for you eventually. While most people are aware of adoption on some level, most don’t know how much time, effort and money it takes to achieve one. This is especially true if you want to adopt an infant. It’s not like shopping; it’s a long, involved process that basically involves selling yourselves to birth mothers and social service agencies. Adopting is a fantastic option that most people undergoing infertility treatment have explored, but most women trying to get pregnant using fertility treatments want to be completely sure there’s no way the treatment are going to work before they start the adoption process.
These are just a few ideas that can help you know what to say and do when you’re trying to support a woman who is struggling to get pregnant. The big thing to remember is not to add stress to her life, she has plenty of that already. So, don’t be afraid to talk to your friend who is trying to conceive. Anything you can do, or say, that doesn’t add more stress and makes her feel supported will be appreciated.
Sophie Yang is a content writer at the Reproductive Services Medical Center, a full-service fertility clinic in San Diego features a full line-up of fertility services; including hassle-free egg donation process, sperm cryopreservation, IVF treatment & IUI Fertility treatment and much more. She loves writing about the reproductive system and treatments for infertility. When she is not writing or working, you can find her gardening.