If you’ve got a friend going through infertility or miscarriage, here are 9 things you need to know…
‘She said ‘I’m so sorry and hate that you’re having to deal with the pain of losing a child’ and then gave me a big hug. The long bear hug kind. It’s easily the most understood and loved I felt when the pain was still raw. I guess the important bits were the hug and the acknowledgement that he/she was my child.’
Since sharing my story of trying to conceive and the struggles of miscarriage I’ve been overwhelmed with the response from women in the same position. Not only that, I’ve received so many questions from friends of those women, asking how they can best support their friend.
Here are 9 things couples going through the struggle of infertility and loss want you to know…
1. We don’t hate you for getting pregnant
….well maybe a little bit.
No, in all seriousness, we love you and we want to celebrate your blessings even when it’s hard for us to do.
One of the worst things you can do is alienate a friend out of fear of hurting her.
I’ve had many friends over the years come to me with a pained look on their face, ashamed to tell me that they were pregnant.
Instead of coming with joy and excitement they felt guilty and were worried to share their great news with me, but this made me feel worse!! It might hurt a little to hear of your great news, but we want.. and need.. to be a part of your life. We want to celebrate with you!
One of my friends told me first when she was pregnant, before telling anyone else, because she wanted to make it something special for us to share together.
Rather than being scared to tell me she gave me the privilege of knowing first and that meant the world to me.
2. We’ve ‘been there, tried that’
Please oh please don’t give us your best ‘getting pregnant tips’.
There are two reasons we don’t want to hear them…
First reason, we may be seeing paid professionals to help us through this process, we’re kinda past the ‘try this position’ stage…asking if I know when I’m ovulating isn’t going to go down too well (especially if you’re the third person that day!)
Secondly, we don’t need the visuals that go with your advice… I am personally a very visual person, and infertility is enough to go through… I don’t need to be thinking about the ways you and your husband made your babies.
3. We don’t want to hear you complain about how much you dislike being a mum
To hear friends complain constantly about their children is like nails on a chalkboard when you are struggling through infertility.
4.We all grieve in different ways
When I went through my first miscarriage I went back to work only a few days later.
I had someone pull me aside and tell me that I needed to grieve and that I wasn’t allowing myself to do that by being back at work.
I was so angry. I needed work, not as a distraction but just to have a bit of normalcy back in my life.
I didn’t want to sit around at home and be reminded of the child I had lost. I wanted to work through those emotions as part of my day, not make it the only thing I did all day.
The best thing you can do is ask. Ask us for what would be most helpful. For some it might be someone to talk to, for others it might be silence, and for a few of us it’s fun friends who make us laugh and remind us of the joy we have in God.
5. We are going to have tough days
The truth is, for those who have lost a child, no matter how many children we have, we will always have moments of sadness. During mothers day, around the time that baby was due, when our other children go through different milestones, all of these can be really hard on us.
6. We don’t want to be left out
Please keep inviting us to your kid’s parties.
It can be so hurtful to be the only friend in a group not invited because we don’t have children. At least extend the invitation.
We still want to pin the tail on the donkey and enjoy watching your kids overdose on sugar.
7. We are already a family
You don’t need to have children to call yourself a family. You and your husband have left your parents and have become one. YOU ARE A FAMILY! Kids will add to your family, but you don’t need them before prioritising family time, or taking a ‘family holiday’.
8. We want you to be careful with your words
Don’t worry, you will probably say the wrong thing at some stage, we understand! We all say the wrong thing at times.
What you can do though is be mindful of what you do say when we are grieving.
Throwing out comments like ‘well there’s always adoption’, ‘you can have mine if you want’ and ‘don’t worry, you will definitely have kids, in fact maybe you’re pregnant right now!’ can be hurtful – even when well intended.
9. We need your prayers and support
If you have a friend who opens up about their struggles, make sure you treat that as a privilege.
It is such personal thing to share and can make them feel very vulnerable.
Follow them up, tell them you are praying for them. Speak less, listen more.
You don’t need to have any answers, you just need to have compassion.
Please pray for us.
Pray that God will do what HE WANTS to do in our lives.
Pray that we will have peace and joy in our hearts.
Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.“