Friday, April 27, 2012

Top 5 Friday - How To Help A Friend Going Through Infertility

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week {April 22-28}, I've come up with a list of 5 ways to help those you may know going through infertility.

1. LISTEN - When a friend feels comfortable enough to open up about their infertility, listening is the most important thing you can do.  Chances are your friend is not opening up to everyone about this, so really listen to what they are saying and acknowledge their feelings.  I know that we all have busy lives, so if your friend is not calling at a good time, plan a phone date where you can dedicate some time to them.

2. RESEARCH - You don't need to learn enough about infertility that you can write a book, but find out what exactly they are suffering from and gain enough knowledge to have a better understanding.  When I was first diagnosed, I did my own research and printed out info for my family and I believe I e-mailed info to my close friends.  I wanted to be the one in control of my PCOS, but others may not feel comfortable doing that.

3. KEEP IT TO YOURSELF - I know that it's easy for us women to bring things up in conversation, but this is a BIG no-no.  If your friend wants others to know about her condition, SHE should be the one sharing.  On the other hand, if she asks you to share some details with others, this is okay.  Case in point, I gave my BFF permission to give BASIC info to mutual acquaintances because at parties, etc. I did not want to keep hearing "When are you & Gary going to have a baby?"  I figured if these people knew enough about my PCOS, they would refrain from asking.

4. DON'T COMPARE - Some of you may know more than one person dealing with infertility.  Some of you may even know more than one person dealing with the same infertility condition.  Refrain from saying things like, "Oh, Jane also has PCOS, but after a few months of HCG treatments, her & Joe got pregnant."  Every case is different.

5. BE POSITIVE, BUT IN THE RIGHT WAY - From my last post, you all know how I hate when doctors told me to "just relax."  Infertility is a sucky thing that no one can predict.  There were days when I felt like absolute shit and a disgrace as a wife and a woman.  Those were normally the times I really needed to talk to my BFF.  If she would have said things like "You'll be pregnant in no time," or "Just relax," I probably would not have opened up to her so much.  Instead, she was supportive and acknowledged my feelings {she even let me have MAJOR pity parties at times} and told me that no matter what happened, I was still Mo, that my husband still loved me and that at the end of the day what will be will be.  It's all about perspective people!

I couldn't leave you without sharing this one as well.

6. DON'T STOP TALKING ABOUT YOUR KIDS - Your friend knows you have them, so don't do the weird thing and suddenly act like you don't.  While Gary & I were in the middle of of fertility treatments, my BFF was blessed with becoming pregnant.  I am pretty sure there was some guilt when she called to me her good news knowing it wasn't working the same for G & I on the baby front.  Still, when she called to tell me, that was the 2nd happiest day of my life {Someday I'll have to share my story about how I knew she was pregnant before she called - it's classic}.  Hearing about her pregnancy gave me hope at times and at other times made me a little happy I wasn't pregnant {why don't they tell you in High School about the horrible side of pregnancy?}.  Once my Godson was born, I was the proudest Auntie Mo!  I LOVE hearing about the crazy stuff he does and that will never stop.

I also REALLY want to thank everyone for the support I received over my blog post on Wednesday.  Opening myself up like that was crazy scary, but so worth it in the end!  Your kind words have meant the world to me.


  1. Well, you got me back!! I am sitting here in tears. I love you so much, sis. I am so glad to know that I did the "right" things when you call to talk about PCOS and the struggles you were/are having. There are times that I felt like a horrible friend because I couldn't completely understand what you are going through but am so glad that you still felt my support anyway. As we all know, God has a plan for each and every one of us and I know whatever the plan is, you and Gary will make it the best plan possible!!

  2. this is such a helpful list. I feel like I never know what to say, how to say it, or what not to say when dealing with situations like this. You are so strong to be able to write about this. Good job.