I understand infertility is awkward. It’s awkward because it’s hard to know what to say or how to respond to your loved one who is in this kind of pain, especially during the holiday season. So in order to help you out, can I offer four suggestions?
The first one is simple,but yet so hard to do. And why? Because as humans, when we see someone we love and care about in sorrow, we want to naturally help. But please do not try to help by giving them advice such as “just relax” or offer up the notion that they should “just adopt”. And if you could, would you please refrain from also telling them it will happen in God’s timing? Or that His plan is perfect? Because while it might be true, and your advice is incredibly awesome (whatever it may be), it generally hurts more than it helps. Instead, simply let them know you are praying for them. Or perhaps just give them a hug with a gentle whisper that says, “I am so sorry you are going through this.” Maybe even let them know that you also see how unfair this is for them and no matter how you slice it, this just sucks. Trust me, saying one of those three things will do more for them than any other story of hope or incredible nugget of advice you share.
Secondly, don’t avoid the topic. Instead, ask them how they are feeling and acknowledge the pain, as well as the heartache they are experiencing. Too often those struggling with infertility feel alone and isolated, especially at family events where everyone has a child but them. So if you could, please take the time to make them feel remembered and loved. And if you see her sitting alone, in the corner, with tears filling up her eyes because none of the children running around are hers, don’t hesitate to go over and give her hand a squeeze. The holidays are tough and she needs someone to remind her that she is tougher, and she will get through this.
Thirdly, give the couple grace. Allow them to grieve and be sad during this season. I know this is a time when we are all supposed to be filled with joy and happiness, but that’s not always the reality. Especially when the couple has exhausted every avenue possible to try to grow their family in hope that this year things would be different. But as it has turned out, it isn’t. And for some, it might even be worse as they have experienced at some point a miscarriage or pregnancy loss.
Which brings me to my last suggestion…
If your loved one has suffered such loss, whether this year or in the years past, acknowledge it. Acknowledge the child who is not sitting at the dinner table and the pain they feel as a result. Even go so far as to whisper the child’s name and tell them how you also miss them and wish they were here. It’s the little things you do that will matter the most.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this article. It truly shows how much you care for the person who would love nothing more than to have you not even need to read this. And while I realize that we are all human and we will at some point unintentionally say or do something that will ultimately cause another person more pain by. But my prayer is that these four simple suggestions will help you navigate these rough waters and even deepen the relationships you have as you gather around the table to give thanks and celebrate in this holiday season.
For more on this topic, click here to read “25 of the Worst Expressions to Say to Your Infertile Friend”
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