How to be a friend to someone with fertility issues

It’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it. You’ll be with us in the darkest of times and, hopefully, in the happiest. We will never be the same person again regardless of the outcome. Everyone dealing with infertility copes in a different way; you’ll be an important part of our lives and having you there for support will help us feel less alone.

Always have your ‘listening’ head on

We know, it probably starts to get really boring after a while, and you’ll more than likely think we need medication of a different type with all of our mood swings and whatnot, but having someone there – a close someone – just to listen and not be judgmental is doing us the world of good. Honestly. Even if you think we really have turned into an obsessive babyzilla, bear with us. We’ll be back to our nearly normal selves at some point but right now you’re doing a fantastic job just with your ears.

Don’t try to ‘cheer’ us up or tell us to relax. Or give us any unsolicited advice whatsoever actually.

Unless you want to get your head bitten off that is. Being told to relax is probably one of the most annoying pieces of, ahem, ‘advice’, you could give. Apart from the fact it will make not one jot of difference, all this will do is wind us up immensely and make us even more stressed than we were in the first place. Plus it’s so condescending, and more often than not our infertility problem is of a medical nature not a psychological one. Trust us, advice is not what we need – we’ve probably spent hours, days or even months researching our own particular brand of infertility. We’ll have asked questions of more doctors than you can shake a stick at and if they haven’t answered to our satisfaction then really, no-one can. We’re not ungrateful, quite the opposite, assuming you’ve heeded number 1 above. So if we want your advice on something, we’ll ask.

Don’t get embarrassed if we burst into tears in the middle of the supermarket/coffee shop/wherever.

Or whilst having a conversation about something else completely different. Our mouths might be moving and words may be coming out, but our heads will often be somewhere else and we cannot be held responsible for our actions for the entire duration. Sometimes we just get overwhelmed and emotional for no reason whatsoever. Just make sure you always have a large supply of tissues in your handbag – crying in public never did anyone’s mascara any good.

Research infertility.

It’s useful if you can relate to what we’re talking about. Plus it shows you care. It helps when we do share some of the nitty gritty with you that you don’t act all squeamish and have a ‘eew’ face on. Saying that, don’t then become an infertility expert and tell us all about how doing this, that or the other will work, and that if we just changed our diet all will be well. It’s a fine line people.

Don’t get pregnant!

Only joking! No, seriously, if this happens, it happens. It’s tricky, we won’t deny that, but we’re not made of porcelain and we do realise that life goes on with or without us. Whether it’s you or another mutual friend/relation, don’t hide it from us or put off mentioning it for fear of upsetting us. Once we know we’ll say either we can handle it or we can’t. If it’s the latter then please do respect that and refrain from further updates, unless we ask you of course. Discussing other people’s successes or celebrations takes a back seat when our own state of mind is, and rightly should be, our priority.

During and at the end of it all, know that we are extremely grateful. Infertility is a lonely place. And a paranoid one. Knowing we have a friend there for us to shout, moan or cry at or just sit in silence with is doing more good than anything you could probably ever say. So thank you for being there.

main-smallcloseupThank you for this guest post from former CRGH patient Tru Spencer. Read about Tru’s experience in Twin Stars and a Mother from Mars; available as paperback or ebook from www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk, Amazon, other online retailers, or to order from any good bookshop. See also www.truspencer.com.”