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Things you shouldn’t say to someone experiencing infertility

Did you know that 1 in 8 couples struggles with infertility? Having said that, it seems rather common for people to deal with infertility. That is why everyone should be careful on how they express themselves. Most of the time when talking to someone who deals with a fertility issue you just want to seem as sensitive and optimistic as possible and you say things you think the other person needs to hear. But that’s usually not the case! Everything you say, probably it has been said before and actually harms and not helps the person’s feelings and situation. So let’s see some phrases you shouldn’t use when talking to someone experiencing infertility.

  • Just relax. 

It’s by far the most common thing to say to someone experiencing infertility. As easy as it sounds to just relax and get pregnant, the truth is different. Sure you don’t have to extra weigh yourself with anxiety but if you deal with medical issues, you should definitely consult a fertility specialist. There are examples of women who stopped measuring the exact time/place/pills etc. they should use to conceive, relaxed, let nature work its magic and later on stayed pregnant naturally but that doesn’t mean that if you stop stressing you will conceive. Always in cooperation with your doctor you will find the way to maximize your odds.

  • Stop thinking about it and it will happen.

Another rather harmful piece of advice. By saying this you are practically “accusing” the other person of thinking too much about his/her issue and probably sabotaging themselves. Also, when you encourage someone to stop thinking about it you encourage them to delay asking for professional medical help. On the contrary you should encourage them to immediately start exploring their medical options in order to proceed in a fertility treatment if needed.

  • Just adopt one.

The problem with this “solution” is bigger than you think. Firstly, adoption is a sacred process that shouldn’t be treated as a plan b or an easy solution after not staying pregnant. The phrase also minimizes the complex financial, emotional and logistical process of adoption. The decision of adopting rather than still trying to conceive via fertility treatments is solely yours and it should not be treated lightly. 

  • I know how you feel, I also tried for 3 months until I stayed pregnant.

Although no one should not minimize any effort or the frustration someone experiences when trying to conceive, it is different to try for 1, 2, or 3 months and finally conceive naturally from those women who experience infertility issues and need further assistance that could take years and eventually not result in pregnancy. No one can imagine the emotional rollercoaster of people receiving fertility treatments, so instead of attempting to empathize, just accept the diversity of the situation and stop trying to comprehend emotions you have never felt. 

  • There are worse things than not being able to have children.

Yes, there is world hunger, there are children who starve everyday, there is war and so many unimaginable pains in this world. Acknowledge though, that for that person with the infertility issue their pain feels the biggest one. We can’t compare pain and we should all be more thoughtful of others’ situations. Everyone is carrying a burden and shouldn’t be guilty about it in comparison to a bigger one.. 

  • Everything happens for a reason!

A phrase commonly used as a quote on social media… But if you say it to someone who can’t conceive the answer will be: “and what is that reason?”. And what will you answer then? You wouldn’t say something like that to a person dying from a chronic illness! Would you? Don’t minimize their pain and don’t make them believe that they aren’t meant to have a child.

a blackboard writing inside "what is your reason?''

  • Just take one of mine.

Of course it is a joke, but you can’t imagine how badly it sounds to a person not able to have children. Yes, you have three children and they are driving you insane most of the day but you know that you are blessed to have them and that they are the most valuable “thing” you have. 

What can you say instead?

First of all, by just being there to listen to them and offering the kind of support they need is extremely important. Sometimes it’s not the words that heal, but the presence. Phrases like “I know how much you want it, and I am here for you”, “You will be an excellent parent and your kids will be so proud of you”, “I know I can’t fix anything, but I am here no matter what”, “You are always in my prayers and I am hoping for the best” are some of the phrases that you can use in order to enhance your overall support to people dealing with infertility. 

And don’t forget, just because you haven’t experienced it doesn’t mean it’s something easy.

For those struggling with infertility there are important associations that offer emotional support:

Infertility shouldn’t be a taboo, and should also not have to be considered a woman’s issue only. Everyone can struggle with infertility, everyone has the right to dream of a family, and everyone should feel free to open up about their feelings.

MEDIPASS supports all those who want to start their fertility journey and provides excellent medical help in Greece. Greece takes pride in being one of the top destinations for fertility treatments, because of its good prices, legislations and doctors. Choose your treatment and leave the rest to us! You are in safe hands.

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Things you shouldn’t say to someone experiencing infertility