One of the most painful aspects of infertility is isolation. You feel like the only woman on earth who is not either currently pregnant or raising children. You avoid talking about it because people don't really understand what you're going through, or they make comments that make you feel worse. So my plea to the world at large is, "Please don't ignore it. Please don't ignore us."
- Don't ignore kindness. If you know someone who is going through infertility, someone who has lost a child, someone who has experienced a failed treatment, say something. Something like "I'm sorry you're going through this," or "I'm thinking of you," or "How are you doing?"
- Don't ignore the emotions. People who struggle with infertility are going through a lot emotionally. And those emotions may be exacerbated by all the crazymaking fertility drugs. If you see the tears, the anger, the frustration, don't look away. Offer comfort if you can. And don't take it personally if your friend or loved one tells you she can't bear to see your children or your pregnant belly right now.
- Don't ignore the impact of your words. Out of a desire to comfort, sometimes people say things that hurt. Just about every woman I know who has suffered from infertility cringes whenever someone says:
- "Just relax. It will happen."
- "Well, you could just adopt. Lots of babies need good homes."
- "My cousin's neighbor's daughter-in-law's orthodontist had the same problem, and . . ."
- "Everything happens for a reason."
- [In the case of miscarriage] "At least you know you can get pregnant!"