Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just trying to be helpful, really :)

Do you have friends or family members that are having a hard time starting their family? I know quite a few (including myself, of course!) Here are a few comments they may often hear, and which I might suggest you avoid.

It's not that we don't appreciate people trying to be helpful and supportive, it's just that some comments are not what your friends/family need to hear from you. What they really need to hear is that you're there for them while they're going through a difficult, emotional and potentially very long (who knows how long?) trial.


"Don't worry, you'll probably end up having lots of kids.

"I know this couple that had a really hard time, and it worked out for them."

"You're young, you've got plenty of time."

"You're lucky that you don't have to deal with the stress of having kids right now."

"You can always adopt." (or "You should try adopting, and then you'll get pregnant!")

"Just have faith, and it will happen."


The truth is: It may work out (that is, a successful pregnancy) or it may not, adopting is an equally emotional process, the uncertainty of not being able to start a family is difficult at any age and for any length of time, and an increase in faith will likely not cure infertility (although it is certainly necessary to endure it).

I hope this doesn't come across as scornful, because I really am truly trying to be helpful. :) Your suggestions and comments are welcome, of course! I'd really, really love to hear from as many people as possible on this.

(Speaking of comments, thanks to all of you who offered your support in response to my account of the "worst doctor's appointment EVER." I've wanted to reach out to each of you individually, but I've been out of town and out of touch for quite a while, so I'm still working on that. Just know that it meant ALOT to me, especially in light of this being the week that our first baby would have been due - which is why all of this has been on my mind - and I love all of you!)


  1. I think I've said some of sorry! Thank you for letting us know what not to say- I'm never sure what is helpful or not, so this is good information!

  2. I just typed a mile long post and it got deleted!!

  3. Jenny, i love you and you know that. I am so glad you write it out and share your feelings and let those who never experienced it, including myself, know how it feels to be going through what you are going. Sometimes I just feel so helpless in encouraging you because I just want you and Ben not be going through that. And it hurts me so much to feel your pain but I am grateful when you do let me know about it because otherwise I may have not known how it feels. Please, let me know if there is anything i can do to help you in any way to make it easier. I always can lend you my ear. but I always ask myself what can I do to help you go through those hard times and i feel so lost, I just don't know. I do pray for you and Ben but I wish I could do more. Love you sis!

  4. Here we go again:

    AMEN to what you said! I'm glad you are expressing yourself. Each couple is different and what one couple likes to hear, another despises. Its good to be clear in what YOU like and need. I love it when people talk to me about infertility because talking about it gets things off of my chest. Other couples would rather not talk about it at all and keep it very private. This is why we ("we" as in couples with fertility struggles) are probably a mystery to some people. They don't know what to say to us and in hopes to be positive, caring, and supportive, they say whatever they can think of. Its good that YOU let them know what YOU like and need.

  5. I agree, Brandi - I think that's the most important thing: both sides being comfortable talking about it. That was my goal here - talking to your friends/family about infertility might be easier when you know how to be supportive without dismissing their concerns.

    And to Kim and Lena - you are two of the closest people to me - I can promise you I've never felt anything but support from you.

    To everyone - don't worry so much about saying the right thing, just say something to let your friends/family know that you're there for them. What I was trying to get at with "comments to avoid" was that failing to appreciate the pain and uncertainty that your friends/family are going through - having a "oh, just get over it, it will work out" attitude - is what's not helpful. So you should never hesitate to let your friends/family know that you're thinking of them and hope the best for them.

    Anyway, sorry for the mini blog post, but I hope that helps.

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  7. Jenny,

    I love your articulation of your thoughts. It's always good to be upfront about what you don't want to hear, but few people (myself included) are brave enough to do it. I've been thinking about you a lot since your " the most awful dr visit ever" post. As someone who has been through it and is living my dream of family life through the (thanks for recognizing it) very emotional roller coaster of adoption all I know is that the Lord loves you. The journey will take you where it goes and lessons will be learned along the way. Good luck with your dream.

    (so many typing errors I had to delete and redo)