I read this the other day in an email from Sarah's Laughter, something to share?
Practical Advice for Friends and Family
do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Nevertheless, you have done
well to share with me in my affliction.
are the one struggling with infertility, guess what! Today’s Daily Double
Portion is not for you! Please print this copy out, hand it to the nearest
friend or family member, turn your computer off and patiently wait until
tomorrow for your next Daily Double Portion!
If you love someone who is
carrying the heavy load of unplanned “un-pregnancy”, you may find it difficult
to know how to offer support for their struggle. They definitely need your
encouragement, but it is sometimes so difficult for friends and family to know
how to offer the support. As we struggle with infertility, our relationships
with friends and family are undeniably touched. Those who conceive easily may
have difficulty truly understanding the struggle an infertile couple faces every
single day. In our effort to offer support for those who struggle, we submit
these suggestions for ways that friends and family can offer their own support
to those they love. These are simple, practical ways to show your love and
support. If Sarah’s Laughter can help you in any way, please feel free to
contact us at any time.
What to Say...
I’m so sorry.
praying for you. (Only say this if you really will pray!)
How would you like
me to pray for you? (Join in agreement with them in prayer. Don’t assume you
know what they’re praying for. They may be praying for something that seems
totally off the wall to you. You don’t have to understand why certain things
are important. It may be important for your friend to not be invited to her
cousin’s shower, or to be called into work on what should have been her due
date. When you validate their feelings by praying in agreement with them, it
can be a beautifully healing thing.)
I’m here if you need to talk. (Then
don’t be afraid of what they may say. Don’t be offended if they don’t want to
talk. Being available to them as a sounding board is priceless.)
NOT to say...
Relax, honey. It will happen. (This minimizes the hurt
the couple is feeling. Also, sometimes it doesn’t happen.)
You’re so lucky
not to be tied down with kids. You can go on vacation any time you want.
least...you were only a few weeks along, At least...you have one child. At
least...you have time with just the two of you. (A good rule of thumb is--if
you start a sentence with “at least” it’s probably the wrong thing to
So whose fault is it--yours or his? (Infertility is not an issue of
fault. It is a medical condition that carries a heavy emotional and spiritual
burden. This is an intensely personal battle. If they want--or need--to share
personal, medical information with you, let them. It’s really quite an honor to
be trusted with such vulnerable information. If they don’t want to share, please
You can always have another baby. (Unfortunately, many who
experience infertility also experience loss. Even if they are blessed with a
houseful of other children, they still grieve the baby they’ve lost. They love
this baby. They want this baby.
I know how you feel. (No, you don’t. Even
if you suffered with infertility or miscarriage, you cannot know exactly how
this person feels. You may have a good idea based on your own experience, but
not the specifics of this situation.)
Don’t cry. It’ll be okay. (Let them
cry. Let them cry with you or on you. Just let them cry.)
Infertility and loss are excruciating experiences which tend
to be extremely private. If someone dares to trust in you and shares these
experiences with you, take their hurt very seriously even if you cannot relate
to their pain. Maintain their confidence. If someone else questions you about
your friend’s childlessness, keep the information to yourself. Even when others
ask out of concern, remember the intimacy of this situation. If and when your
friend wants to share with others, she will--just as she shared with you.
Don’t ask infertile women or mothers who have miscarried to pass out gifts
on Mother’s Day, host baby showers, etc. These are excruciating events for
those who struggle.
Realize that the grief an infertile couple carries begins
anew approximately every 28 days.
Don’t panic if the couple “emotionally
vomits” on you. Don’t cringe if they start talking about sperm counts or
post-coital tests. Your support can be life giving to someone who feels like
they are going to collapse under the weight of an empty cradle.
afraid of anger. Hurting people tend to lash out. If they are angry at their
spouse, their doctor, their baby, their body or even at God, let them
Give hurting couples an “out” on Mother’s Day/Father’s Day, on days
when you have a baby dedication at church, for baby showers, etc. Let them know
about the dedication in advance if you are comfortable doing so, so that they
can decide if they want to attend that Sunday. These are hard events to
attend. Don’t criticize if they do not attend. However, follow up with them if
they miss more than just the difficult days or if they are pulling away too
Let them know you care. However it works for you and those you care
for, just let them know you care.
As Philippians 4:13-14 says, we can do
all things through Christ who gives us strength, but it is so good of you to
share with your infertile friends/family in their trouble. Thank you! Thank
you! Thank you! Thank you for caring for hurting people and making such a
wonderful effort to ease the pain of unintentional childlessness.
2012 Sarah’s Laughter-Christian Support for Infertility & Child
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