Did you know October is National Infertility Awareness Month?
Hello dear readers of Go Fit Girl! I’m honored to be guest blogging today.
I’m writing a post about how to be more Infertility Sensitive. I’ve worked with many women who were suffering with infertility, and it’s not an easy road. And when someone isn’t aware, it can be easy to do or say something inadvertently that can be really devastating to a sufferer of infertility. Yes, they are super sensitive. But if you’ve been through it, then you know … it’s a very sensitive issue.
One in seven women will suffer with infertility, so odds are, someone in your circle has suffered or is suffering from infertility. And most women who are suffering will not discuss this situation with the majority of their loved ones. In fact, many just keep it silently to themselves. So, don’t thind that this doesn’t apply to you – it probably does.
So here are three suggestions to be more infertility sensitive in your everyday actions:
1. Don’t Ask when Someone’s Having Kids
Of course this question has good intentions behind it. Perhaps you have lovely children; you know how awesome it is. So you ask your cousin or friend, who perhaps has been married for a while, when they plan on having kids. Maybe as a response you get an overly bright smile, and a “Soon, I hope!” or a their face drops and they say, “Maybe some day?” There is no great way to answer this if one is suffering from infertility and doesn’t want to talk about it. It’s a stressful and personal topic and most of the time, she’s thought about it a lot already and is not interested in talking about it.
There are plenty of other things to make small talk about – hobbies, pets, jobs, weather… that are safe subjects and do not make someone suffering from infertility feel cornered and anxious. If she’s suffering from infertility already, trust me, she’s stressed enough. Please don’t add to her burden by asking, however innocently, when she’s having kids. Maybe she’s already been trying to have kids for years. It really does happen. I’ve helped this kind of woman.
2. Offer to be a good listener and supporter
I feel that this is a great policy to have with your friends in the first place. If you are willing, please let them know that you can be a good set of ears for if there is anything that is weighing down on them. OK, so here’s the thing. If you make this offer, you have to follow through and only listen. Trust me, in all likelihood, there is nothing you can say that she hasn’t already thought of to console herself. If she wants to learn about treatment options, she has probably looked them up already on her own or asked her doctors about it.
It’s pretty simple to find advice on what she could try and do, if she’s concerned enough to consider treatment options. Trust that she’s a smart lady and if she wants advice that she would ask for it. Or, ask if she would like advice before offering it. The hardest thing to find when one is suffering from infertility is someone that you can talk to, that won’t offer advice or suggest treatment options. What someone who’s worried about infertility needs most is a true friend that can listen to her talk. Now I’m going to warn you – this can be something that takes a long time for her to talk about. So if you offer this you need to be ready to know that it can be a tough commitment. For my clients, I usually advise them to have a support system, so that no one person feels like they bear too much of the load. But if she’s not my client, well, she may not have that in place. So, leave the door open but know that could happen.
3. Don’t Complain about your Kids to Others
Well, unless you know for a fact that a couple has decided to be childfree (and, of course, there is also the possibility that they have changed their minds), it’s best not to complain to a childless woman about your kids. It’s extremely unlikely to make her feel better if you say something like, “You’re so lucky to have the time to go out on Friday night dates.” She knows to be grateful of what she has (or at least my clients do).
And here’s the thing, even if that woman you know already has one child – she could be suffering from secondary infertility. Sometimes having the first one is fine, but then the second time around is not so easy. It happens a lot – the woman is older, and has less energy. There are more life demands, and more stress. So, while I am not a fan of complaining in general – I think bad energy attracts more bad energy – especially try not to do this in front of a woman that does not have kids. It’s different if the other party starts this, which is different. However, it’s much more infertility sensitive of you to avoid this habit in the first place.
Trust me, I know how hard it can be to be a mom sometimes. I have a toddler who’s almost 3. He’s a lovely child but that doesn’t mean that sometimes it all feels like it’s all just so much. That’s when I take a deep breath, ask my husband to take charge for a bit, and take sanctuary in another room for just a little quiet time. After 5-15 minutes of hiding in the bedroom with my earbuds in, listening to some relaxing ambient music, usually I come out feeling refreshed and reset.
And there you go. Those are the three best tips I have for being more infertility aware. Just keep in mind that some women literally try for years to have the baby of their dreams, and it doesn’t happen so easily for them. Join me in being mindful of these often-silent sufferers. They need our help and support.
Dorothy Pang, L.Ac. is the founder of TheNaturalFertilityCenter.com, an innovative comprehensive solution for women who are trying to conceive. TheNaturalFertilityCenter.com, a division of AcuSpa, is dedicated to helping women across the United States utilize acupuncture principles, stress management, and rejuvenating practices to move toward youthfulness and fertility. She has helped with the conception of hundreds of babies so far. Through her website, e-zine, and Fertility in Bloom programs, Dorothy helps women increase their chances of conception, create balance in their lives, and find inner peace.
To get a Free Fertility Planning Guide, and receive her weekly e-zine filled with general lifestyle recommendations, visit The Natural Fertility Center. Or see our acupuncture & wellness site, AcuSpa.