Thursday, October 6, 2011

A few days ago friend of mine asked what she could do to reach out to someone who was struggling with infertility. I have been asked this question many times, and I'd love to share my perspective. I'm not going to suggest that my opinion is applicable to everyone in this situation, but this a reflection of my story and what spoke to my needs during that time. 

Forewarning, if you are reaching out to someone who is unable to conceive, don't get into it for the warm fuzzies of 'helping' someone. This is a journey that may not be short, pleasant, or easy. In fact, it will probably be long, hard, and difficult. That is exactly why you are so desperately needed. 

I have shared my own journey herehere, and here. In summary, when I was hurting, I pulled away from community. It took some very determined friends, one in particular, to help me ease back in to any semblance of a normal life, even before I became pregnant. She decided to be my 'strong friend'. Her name is Genny.  

Do you know what's the funniest about this? Genny was pregnant at the time. It didn't matter. Her willingness to be there overshadowed any ill-feelings. Don't be afraid to offer relationship to someone who is trying to conceive, even if you are pregnant or have children. 

The words I remember most vividly are, 'It's ok if you hate me some days, I just want to be here for you." We met every week just to talk about how I was feeling, or just hang out. Some weeks i cried on the floor, and some we laughed. There were hopeful times and sorrowful times, but I needed someone to push me into purposeful relationship. I found myself so wounded that I wasn't in a place to go after what I needed the most. Go after them.

Infertility is isolating not only because those who are hurting tend to isolate themselves, but it is also isolating because good-intentioned people are afraid of inflecting more hurt. Be sure you extend invitations to mom playgroups, baby showers, and girls night outs, but do not assume they will attend...and don't pressure them to. Sometimes holding babies and seeing families is just what a lonely heart needs, and sometimes it just hurts too much. Every day is different. 

This last part is the trickiest, and is only applicable if you have a close friendship. I already know this sounds controversial, but hurting does not make someone sinless. Somewhere in the midst of my journey, suffering, laziness, selfishness, and apathy can sneak their way in. This was certainly the case with my life. 
 Genny pushed me to confront my biggest fear; she didn't coddle me with feel-good words. She offered the challenge to live life as if nothing would ever change, and at the same time believe for healing

A couple words of caution:
1) Speak only the Truth.. as in God's truth. Do not make up your own happy ending.
2) Don't relay what 'worked' for this couple or offer folk remedies like 'just relaxing'

Offer your love. Pray about what her heart needs to hear, and just be there as a friend. Most people are scared away by hurting people. Your kind words and actions will mean more that you think.

Lots of love,


  1. I love this. There is so much truth in your words. Being someone who's currently experiencing this, I agree wholeheartedly with what you said here.
    Thanks for following my blog! And, for signing up for my secret sister blog party! I'm excited to get to know you better!! xoxo

  2. This is a FABULOUS post. I have several friends who are struggling with this right now and it is very difficult to know what to say to them.

    I think this is the post you meant to link up. ;) Thanks for doing so!

  3. Breeann- You are so welcome. I'm excited too :) I just read a little of your story on the blog; i will pray for you!

  4. Tricia- Thanks so much. It is hard to know what to say..I'm sure they are beyond grateful for your presence in their lives right now.

  5. wow this is such a great post ... thanks for taking the time to write this ... so much good information here ... coming from casey's link up!

  6. this was so great and so nice to hear a perspective about how to help others in this situation from someone who understands. your heart is so sweet and real. thanks for sharing your heart, i look forward to more from you! blessings to you tonight friend!

  7. I found you from Casey's blog and I have to say that your post had absolutely perfect timing. A few of my girlfriends have been struggling with infertility and miscarriages. We had literally just met for coffee and were talking about helping friends with this topic when I came home to read your post. You are beautiful!! Thank you for sharing this. xo