When Valentine’s Day draws near, love and romance seem to go into overdrive, especially for those in a relationship. But for some couples, celebrating Valentine’s Day is the last thing on their mind. With 1 in 8 couples struggling with infertility, chances are that you know someone dealing with this heartbreaking disease. But how can you help your friend as they struggle to cope with the ups and downs infertility brings, especially around holidays?
Dr. Ketal Patel of Arizona Associates for Reproductive Health in Scottsdale, Arizona, shares some tips on how you can support your infertile friend and help her get through this challenging time in her life. A great way to start? Transform Valentine’s Day into a day to celebrate your friendship and shower your friend with some tender loving care. In fact, make it a month-long affair with #28DaysofTLC.
Put Your Listening Ears On
For most people, our first instinct is to jump in with advice, anecdotes, and success stories when a friend brings up infertility. But in all likelihood, your infertile friend has most likely been dealing with this in private for some time, and has already learned about every tip, trick, and tale you have to offer. Instead, try letting your friend tell you what she needs to get through this difficult time. She may just want to vent, cry, or complain about her latest battery of tests. Your job is to show up with tissues and ice cream in hand, and your listening ears on.
Another way to support your friend? Take some time to learn about infertility and what your friend is going through. She may never ask for your advice, but raising your infertility awareness will help you better understand what she’s experiencing. Call Arizona Associates for Reproductive Medicine at 480-946-9900 for a list of educational infertility resources.
Doing What Matters
As your friend talks, think about how you can walk beside her through this challenging season. Does she dread tough appointments? Offer to go with her. Hate waiting for test results? Treat her to a movie or coffee date after her next round of tests. Avoid exercise like the plague? Make working out fun by offering to be a workout buddy.
If your friend is struggling with secondary infertility, she may have trouble finding childcare amidst the flurry of appointments. Let her know she can count on you to watch the little one(s) so they can focus on what they need to do to grow their family.
Encourage Her to Opt Out
Baby showers, gender reveals, kids’ birthday parties…they can all be excruciating reminders of what your infertile friend doesn’t yet have. Missing milestones and big events for loved ones can be difficult, but your friend doesn’t need to make her infertility journey any harder than it already is. Remind her that attending can bring up difficult emotions and could impact her psychological well-being during this difficult time, but her friends and relatives will surely understand her absence.
You could also encourage your friend to take a social media hiatus. When you’re trying to conceive, social media can become a minefield of cute announcements and adorable baby photos. Let her know it’s OK to opt out of social media for a bit – not only will she save herself some heartache, she’ll get back hours in her day!
The value in true friendship goes far beyond candy hearts and flowers. Simply being there for your infertile friend can help her cope with the ups and downs as she travels the path to parenthood. If you have any questions about how you can be a source of support, reach out to Dr. Ketan Patel of Arizona Associates of Reproductive Medicine at 480-946-9900.