What to say to someone that is struggling to have a baby

by Ingenes Institute 22/12/22

In this article we will tell how to become the support that your loved ones need fighting to bring a baby home. We will share some advice and tips to make your support network greater for them to feel contained and to give them that love boost for the path that they are going through.

Struggling with having a baby is a common problem

According to World Health Organization, around 48 million couples and 186 million people endure fertility issues. In other words, approximately 15% of the world population has difficulty conceiving. 

Even though infertility is more common than is thought, living through a process like this one is complex. It comes with different physical, emotional, and social challenges. 

People with difficulty begetting a baby will take the appropriate decisions on how to live their process and there are many valid reasons if they decide to keep it private.

Infertility: a highly discussed topic, yet a sore subject

Nevertheless, we have to consider that fertility issues are a controversial topic for a large portion of society and generate stigma and labeling for the people who suffer from them. A lot of women don't talk about it because of the fear of being judged or not being supported, which carries much more negative weight to overcome the issue, seek help, or even start the treatment they need. 

On the other side, indeed, the situation does not only impact the affected people but the family and loved ones around them. However, it is necessary to be careful with the words and speech we use to talk about this because of the huge impact that just a phrase could have. 

Listening attentively before talking

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An Ingenes family celebrating

The first advice we can offer, is to listen, be present, and not be judgemental. Before asking, or sharing an opinion, or idea that you have about the topic, listen to your loved one with patience and let them share with you what they need to say.

Avoid using phrases such as:

Have you tried…?

While experiencing fertility issues, most of the comments would be around suggesting different ways to have a baby, but with total disregard, for any attempts, the affected person has already made or discarded. 

Advising someone who probably has been trying for months, or maybe years, to get pregnant, may turn uncomfortable, even dangerous. Especially because there are different conditions and illnesses related to infertility that require treatment and specialized guidance that just Assisted Reproduction experts can give. 

Just relax and it will happen!

This type of comment may generate more stress for the individual or couple, and it is also giving them an enormous burden of guilt. 

Although it has been proved that state of mind influences the capacity to get pregnant, the stress of trying to conceive requires tools and strategies to fight it. This type of strategy is guided by psychotherapy experts with experience in such cases. 

Also, this type of comment completely ignores if the person is dealing with any kind of physical problem that is stopping them to have a baby.

"At least you have more time for yourself and not for the child you would have to look after!"

Phrases like this minimize the pain that the struggling aspiring parent is going through. Your loved one is the only person who can define their priorities in life and their decisions have to be respected

"It's better to do it the “natural” way"

To seek help from Assisted Reproductive Technology is something natural, also having your baby through this process. When a couple has intercourse without protection, they get pregnant and have babies, we say that it occurs spontaneously. 

Science and current medical advances allow millions of people that are not able to spontaneously beget, to become parents naturally, having a 9 months pregnancy and giving birth to a child.

"Don't be so melodramatic! It'll eventually happen to you"

For people enduring fertility struggles, especially for women, time is an extremely important factor so this kind of comment adds more stress. 

Also, saying this again speaks of a complete lack of knowledge about their particular situation because it is uncertain how long your loved one has been trying for a baby.

"This is part of God's plan for you"

Regardless of the personal and spiritual beliefs of the person, commenting on that matter is completely daunting and can generate shame, guilt, and even low self-esteem. 

Tips for being the support that your loved one needs through their path with battling fertility issues

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An Ingenes family celebrating the baptism of their baby

"I am sorry for what you are going through, I am here if you want to talk"

One of the best ways to comfort a loved one is by being present when they need someone. It is fundamental to let them know that in case they require it, they count on your support, your hearing, and your shoulder to share everything they feel. 

"Is there anything I can do for you?"

Asking promptly how you could help someone is a direct and kind way to become the support they actually need. The person who is struggling is the only one who knows what they need. 

"If you feel comfortable with me, we can hang out soon"

Offering to spend quality time with that person could be a great way to help. Think about the personal tastes and hobbies of your loved one and suggest a plan related to their likes. That way they won't feel pressured or obligated to talk exclusively about the issues they enduring.

"I know this is hard. I know this hurts and I am with you"

To struggle with a fertility issue, the path could have obstacles and losses that are hard to confront alone. Recognizing the pain the other person might endure and being present, brings compassion. It can help your loved one to reduce stress and find new ways to cope with it.

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Ingenes family celebrating their babies' first birthday

Final advice…

All of us could go through fertility struggles because it is much more common than we imagine and because of that, we have to keep being careful with our words and  the way we communicate about the topic.

Men and women can be around that situation and both need company, support, security, and comfort. 

Assisted Reproduction treatments require multidisciplinary support, as well as emotional support, not just from psychotherapists, but from people they love. Let's be the support that our loved ones need to make their dream come true. Being present during the process can make a difference.

At Ingenes, we offer the service from our Emotional Support Unit, with clinical psychotherapists specialized in providing care for people with fertility issues.  

If you are in the middle of an Assisted Reproduction treatment and you are having trouble facing all the emotions that are involved, come with us and let us be part of your support network. 

In case you know someone that might need this, share this information for them to feel much more comforted. 

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