As promised in the Sticks & Stones post (8 things not to say to someone living with infertility) here are some ways to encourage someone who is living with infertility.
1. Bring your kids
Babies and Children can be extremely therapeutic, especially to someone who is hurting. You may think that being around babies will be too painful for them (and don’t get me wrong, sometimes it absolutely is-but they also know how to cleverly avoid these situations when necessary) but sometimes they just need to cuddle your sweet baby or be silly with your toddler.
2. Value their friendship
Your childless friend completely understands that when you start having babies, you naturally desire to seek out other mothers in similar life circumstance as you. But they feel it. They feel that separation, and although it’s not intentional, it sometimes feels as though they’re that old toy that got exchanged for a new upgraded version. They may not have experienced motherhood yet but they just might bring a special something into your world that you would have otherwise missed out on. And as your friend, they want to be there for you in all of your life changes, and that includes this new adventure.
3. Ask them about their struggle
Generally, they do NOT want to talk about being infertile….ever. They hate the word and the reality of it in their lives. But they also desperately need your friendship, your support, your shoulder to lean on and when you pursue them and ask the hard questions, they begin to feel like you truly care. It eases the loneliness, if even for a moment.
4. Be excited when they are (part 1)
This may sound obvious, but it is so important I felt the need to add it. Sometimes good things happen amidst the pain of infertility. A financially good year settles in and they can take that vacation they’d been saving up for. A long-awaited promotion at work or they’ve welcomed a new pet into their home. They need your excitement! They are constantly bombarded with the mentality they will never have a complete, fulfilled life if they don’t have children. But when they feel your excitement for the good things they are blessed with, it helps reassure them that although nothing will ever replace motherhood, there are still reasons to rejoice and be thankful everyday….
5. Be excited when they are (part 2)
….Or maybe , just maybe, they’ve gotten that miracle plus sign on the pee stick or decided to pursue adoption. They need your excitement! This can be a crazy wonderful time mixed with so many emotions. They probably have a lot of anxiety and are hesitant to get too excited for fear that they will lose the baby or something will hinder their adoption success. But they need your contagious joy to carry them through the fog of uncertainty & fear.
6. Be informed
Maybe you know the cause of their infertility and maybe you have taken #3 to heart and learned it first hand. Either way, do your research (google is very helpful-but process everything you read with a cautious filter) and learn the details of their specific struggle. They will appreciate your effort, and you will better understand the mountain they face.
7. Pray for them
Prayer is so incredibly powerful and we know great things happen as a result of prayer. We know of the power of prayer by reading God’s Word: John 14:13 “…And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son…” Mark 9:29 “…This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” James 5:15 “…And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up..” (please look these verses up for full context on the power of prayer)
8. Tell them that you have been praying for them
Learning that not only have they crossed your mind, but that you have taken time out of your own busy day to pray for them and their struggle is so humbling and yet also very comforting. This is a beautiful way to show anyone that you love them.
Well, I hope this has helped and that you have a new perspective on how to approach your loved one who is going through infertility. Now again, I cannot speak for everyone out there who has felt the ache of an empty womb, but I have found these personally true and uplifting.