Tips for Supporting Someone Struggling with Infertility During the Holidays

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For anyone struggling with infertility, the holidays can be an especially difficult time of year. They are a continual reminder of the missing pieces, the things you don’t get to experience with the baby you so desperately long for. There is little magic, and so many dreams left unfulfilled. It can seem like everywhere you turn, you find painful reminders of another year without a baby in your arms or belly. The pain and loneliness of infertility is profound. It is a seemingly endless marathon of stress, disappointment, and emotional roller coasters. For anyone who has a friend or loved on struggling with infertility, it can be difficult to know what to say or do to best support that person during this season of their life. The holidays are no exception. I’ve rounded up a few tips for supporting someone struggling with infertility during the holidays.

Let Them Know You Care

This may be the most important thing on this list. Even if you don’t know exactly what to say, showing someone that you see their heartache and care about what they’re going through is huge and can help them feel less alone in their pain. Check in periodically and ask how they’re doing. A listening ear and expression of compassion can go a long way.

Acknowledge Their Pain and Include it in Invitations to Events

It can be hard to know whether to invite your friend struggling with infertility to your holiday party or family gathering, especially if there will be children or pregnant bellies around. The best approach is to reach out to them and invite them, and their grief, along. Be sure they know there are no expectations of how long they stay or how much they participate if they do choose to come. Invite them personally, saying something like “I know this year has been so hard for you. We would love to have you join us if you’re up for it.” Then, check in a couple of days before the event and make sure they’re still up for it, letting them know you’d love to see them but understand if they’re not able to make it.

Avoid Platitudes

While well-meaning, saying things like “Just stay positive” and “Don’t give up hope!” can make a person struggling with infertility feel even more alone. Try asking open-ended questions like, “How are you doing?” and “What do you need right now?” This article has some more great tips on how to best talk to someone going through infertility.

Use Sensitivity when Sending Holiday Cards and Posting Online

Reach out to your friend and ask if they would like a holiday card, acknowledging that this is an especially difficult time of year. When it comes to social media, if you’re someone who posts regularly, consider sharing a post that acknowledges that this can be a hard time of year for many people who are dealing with infertility (or any type of grief). These types of posts can make a huge difference for anyone who is struggling during the holidays.

If You’re Announcing Pregnancy, Let Them Know First 

This doesn’t ensure that it won’t still be painful for your friend to see your announcement, but it may help lessen the blow. This article has some great tips about how to tell you’re infertile friend you’re pregnant.

Offer to Sit and Listen to What They’re Going Through

Sometimes, a listening ear is all we need. Try not to respond with things like “I know this will happen for you” or “Your turn will come.” Just listen, tell your friend you’re sorry they’re going through this, and that you’ll be here for them through all of it.

Don’t Forget their Partner’s Pain

Often, infertility is focused on the person who is trying to carry the pregnancy. If your friend has a partner, be sure to check in with them, too, even if you don’t know them well. They are also going through the heartache of infertility and need support, too.

We hope these tips for supporting someone with infertility during the holidays can help you or a loved one. If you are looking for more resources on infertility, head here. 

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