Friday, April 26, 2013

Infertility Etiquitte

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici /
For those of you that might not know, this week is National Fertility Awareness Week. This week goes out to all those women and men who have struggled to add a child to their family. It's a topic that is sometimes hard to grasp and awkward to talk about without fear of saying the wrong thing.  I came across this post while researching what I could talk about for this very special week.  I know I myself have sadly broken at least one or two of the following rules.  It's just so hard to know what to say and when to say it.  If you know someone struggling with infertility, this list of Infertility Etiquitte rules may help you break the silence... or in some cases silence what should not be said.  In the end just try and be there for your friend, family member, co-worker, or acquaintance.  Knowing you are thinking of them and there for them during this tough time is worth more than you will ever know.  

Don't Tell Them to Relax - After a year plus of trying to conceive, the last thing a couple wants to hear is that they just need to relax.  Infertility is a disease, and relaxing is usually not the problem.

Don't Minimize the Problem - Don't say, "Well at least you won't have to..." fill in the blank (change dirty diapers, listen to a crying baby all night, pay for a college tuition, etc). For those that want a child, they would gladly take all the "bad" that comes with having a child if they could.

Don't Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen - No person can say what is the worst thing that can happen. The answer to this question is different for everyone. For one it might be the death of a family member, for another it might be losing their job, for yet another it might be getting a divorce, and yet for another it might be not having the chance to have a child.

Don't Say They Aren't Meant to Be Parents - This is one of my pet peeves Please don't say, "It's just not in God's plan." Or for those that are not religious, "It just wasn't meant to be." Who has the right to say who can and can not have children. As for the God part, I don't want to get into a religious debate, but if God was selecting who could and could not have children, then he wouldn't give children to those addicted to crack and leave loving would-be parents sterile.

Don't Ask Why They Aren't Trying IVF - IVF is a serious matter and not to be taken lightly. It's insulting to ask such a question so lightly. I'm sure they've considered it or already tried it, but remember that IVF is no walk in the park. There are lots of medications to be taken, risks involved, and high prices attached.

Don't Be Crude - Don't make crude infertility jokes. You might be trying to lighten the mood, but deep down it's just hurtful to those that are involved.

Don't Complain About Your Pregnancy - It's hard enough for someone who is infertile to be around others that are pregnant. It's a constant reminder of what they long for. Yes, pregnancy is hard and your hardships are valid, but remember that someone with infertility would take all those hardships x10 just to carry a baby of their own.

Don't Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant - Don't tell them that they would not want to be pregnant so bad if they knew what they were getting themselves into.

Don't Gossip About Your Friend's Condition - Infertility is a personal matter. Be honored that they shared their story with you and respect that the decision of who they share their story with is theirs to be made.

Don't Push Adoption (Yet) - Don't push them to move on to a new chapter if they are not ready.

Let Them Know That You Care - Sometimes the most simple efforts are the most important. Let them know you are there for them if they need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on. Send them a card. Tell them you are thinking of them. You don't need to solve the problem. You just need to acknowledge it and let them know that you care.

Remember Them on Mother's Day - This is most likely a tough day for those women struggling with infertility. Take the time to reach out to them with a card, e-mail, or a call so that they know they aren't forgotten.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments - The decision to stop treatments is a hard one for those with infertility to make. Don't make them question their decision or feel bad about the choice that they have made. Support them.

For the full post on Infertility Etiquitte written by RESOLVE - The National Infertility Association, please visit their website.  They've also got lots of other great information in infertility and how you can get involved to help spread awareness to others.  This is a great site for both those struggling with infertility and those that are just looking to give support to someone who is.

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