Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How can one support a friend with infertility?

Life continues on here. We are doing well, and keeping busy. The FertilityCare Center of Michiana continues to grow and thrive. So many people are hungry for FertilityCare, and to better know, understand and respect their fertility. It has been so richly rewarding to work with women and couples as a Creighton Model FertilityCare Practitioner. God is so good. He has allowed me to take my greatest pain and find ways to support and minister to others not in spite of my cross, but rather because of my cross.

In the next few weeks I am going to have two big opportunities to reach out to others sharing the same cross as us. On December 3rd, my husband and I will be speaking at "A Night of Hope for Those Touched by Infertility" held at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, IN. The retreat runs from 7-9:30EST and we are looking forward to presenting our talk "In the Waiting". Then on Saturday, December 11th, I will present at a conference called "The Church and Infertility" in Harrisburg, PA. Together with Fr. Tad Pacholczyk and Dr. Mark Stegman we will look at the Church's teachings on Bioethics, In-Vitro Fertilization and Embryo Adoption, as well as how we can support those going through infertility. I have been asked to come share our personal story as well as to help others learn how they can support friends and family carrying this cross.

Please pray for me as I work to complete my talks. And this leads to my question today. I don't want this to be just be our (Dave's and mine) story. I feel that God has given me these opportunities to speak for all of us. To share with hundreds of people attending what it is like to experience infertility and how we can best support those going through infertility. Over the next few days I am going to post a question here on the blog and it would mean so much to me if you would give me your thoughts. Stay tuned, there will be more to follow....but for today:

How can one support a friend with infertility? (What are the BEST ways your friends, family, parish, priest, etc have supported you? What are some of the LEAST helpful things they have said/done?)


  1. Best ways: If one must say anything at all, please sincerely and simply say: “I’m praying for you.”

    Worst ways:

    Don’t tell me it’s God’s will; that’s obvious. Don’t tell me it’ll happen; you don’t know that. Don’t tell me to relax; that doesn’t help. Don’t tell me to stop thinking about it; it’s written into my very nature, I can’t ignore it! Don’t tell me about the latest greatest breakthrough in NaPRO technology; chances are I already know it and have tried it. Don’t tell me about how many women you know who’ve struggled with this and had a score of children; great for them but each situation is different and that doesn’t mean it’ll happen for me. Don’t tell me to be patient; I can hardly do anything else but wait. Don’t tell me my clock is ticking; just please don’t.

    Don’t judge me and think I’m contracepting. Don’t judge me and think we’re waiting until we’re more financially secure. Above all, please don’t judge and think I don’t want children! Please don’t judge me.

    Please don’t complain about morning sickness; I get nauseated when I see another negative pregnancy test. Please don’t complain about being tired; I’ve stayed awake many nights praying and crying. Please don’t complain that your children are driving you crazy; oh that I could be stricken with such insanity!

  2. I think the best way people supported me was through prayer (obviously) and direction. Prayer obviously is helpful, but not just praying for me; praying with me, praying over me. Laying hands on me. I found it helped me to find "Simons" in my life--people who would help me carry my cross.

    Direction. What I mean by that is people pointing me to help, both physically and spiritually. I had only vaguely heard of Creighton before our fertility issues and my thoughts on spiritual direction were along the lines of "how nice, but not for me." I needed both, and it took the direction of other people to get me there. Of course some people offered very unhelpful unsolicited advice, but there were nougets of goodness in there, too.

  3. Sorry for posting late.... ;-)

    I agree, some of the best ways are when people tell me that they are praying for me.. or asking me how I'm doing (giving me an extra hug) after some announces a pregnancy or birth. To know that someone is thinking of me and praying for me helps me to know that I am not alone even if they have never walked in my shoes...

    I also agree that the sort of encouragement that gives me open ended advice doesn't help; be patient, in God timing, relax, don't think about it......
    Also it's hard for me when people tell me to enjoy the time I'm having with my hubbie, and that they wished they could have back the time just with their husband. I know it's great right now, I know it will completely change if we have kids, and I know I don't even totally know what to expect, but my heart longs for what they have and I can't change that.... ok I'll go answer some of your other questions as well....