How to help friends who are trying to conceive
When a friend or family member confides in you that they’re struggling to fall pregnant, it can be hard to know what to say or do.
As tempting as it may be to say, “just relax and it will happen”, that’s unlikely to make them feel better.
Here are some tips for how to support a loved one who is trying to conceive (TTC).
Don’t give unsolicited advice
You know what’s infuriating? Being told to relax when you’re stressed.
Yet couples who are trying to conceive are often given this piece of advice.
“Don’t tell them to ‘stop worrying about it’ or ‘stop trying and it will happen’,” says Melanie Colwell, a fertility coach and clinical hypnotherapist.
Unless they ask for suggestions, hold back on telling them what you think they should try.
“Don’t tell them stories about people you know who went on a holiday and then magically fell pregnant, or drank a fertility smoothie and then got pregnant,” says Melanie.
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Be sensitive to their plight
“If you’ve got children yourself, don’t complain about how hard your life with children is, and don’t joke that your friend who is TTC can have one of your kids,” says Melanie.
If you’re pregnant, share your complaints about morning sickness or swollen ankles with other pals.
And your friend definitely doesn’t need to hear about how your partner only has to look at you to get you pregnant – zip it.
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And if you are expecting a baby …
While your own pregnancy doesn’t need to be hidden away (impossible in the third trimester!), be conscious of its impact on your friend.
“Surprise announcements, gender reveals or celebrating successful scans can be really hard for couples who are TTC,” says Melanie.
That’s why it’s a good idea to tell your friend one-on-one before they hear the news from someone else.
“Tell them that you understand that what they are going through is hard, and that you understand hearing your news is difficult for them,” says Melanie.
“Allow them time and space to process the news – while they will be extremely happy for you, your news might be difficult for them.”
Don’t avoid inviting them to kids’ events
While you may think you’re doing the right thing by not exposing your friend to baby or kid-related events, not doing so could make them feel even more left out.
“Invite them to baby showers and children’s birthday parties, but tell them you completely understand if they would rather not attend,” advises Melanie.
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Be a good listener
Above all, listen to them.
“I had a very close friend who supported my own trying-to-conceive journey,” says Melanie.
“She listened to me when I wanted to talk, bounced ideas around with me when I needed a sounding board and challenged me when she could see I was developing some unhealthy patterns (like obsessing over my diet).”
Check in on your loved one. While they may not have any news to share, they’ll appreciate that you’re there to listen when and if they need to talk.
Written by Samantha Allemann.