Dear Dorothy…

Dear Dorothy....I’ve just found out that a good friend of mine has been dealing with infertility and I don’t know what to say to her. Any advice?

– J

Hi J,

It can sometimes be really hard to find the right words in difficult situations! We desperately want our friends to know that we are feeling for them and don’t want to put our foot in it when we’re dealing with something so sensitive. I’ve found it best to just come out and say ‘I don’t know what to say, but I want you to know that I’m thinking of you, and I’m here for you’ as opposed to saying nothing.

I asked some of my readers who have been travelling along with infertility issues, and here’s some of what they’ve found helpful and not so helpful:

What not to say or do:

  • “Everything happens for a reason”
  • “Its all in Gods plan If its meant to be …”
  • “Just relax or take a holiday and it will happen”
  • “You aren’t going to try again are you ? You know you are in your 40’s! Think of the child – when they are a teenager you’ll be so old its embarrassing!!!”
  • “Perhaps you are too old!”
  • “Why are you putting yourself through that stress?”
  • “You are lucky you already have kids. Lots of people cant even have one.
  • “You are spending a lot of money on this. You could be spending this money on a holiday or doing this/that…”
  • “I just KNOW you’ll have children one day.”
  • “At least you know you can get pregnant” (after a miscarriage)
  • “Just do IVF. “
  • “Maybe it’s not meant to be…”

What to do and say:

  • “It’s a hard journey isn’t it…”
  • “You are so brave.”
  • “Well done for following your dream.”
  • “You are not alone.”
  • “Believe.”
  • “There is always hope.”
  •  Do some research on infertility and treatments, be interested in what your friends are going through.
  • Do keep inviting your friend to celebrations such as children’s birthday parties and baby showers. If they don’t feel up to coming, they’ll let you know, but they’ll feel grateful for being included.
  •  If you are pregnant, tell your friend in person and privately about your pregnancy, rather than in a group announcement. They will be happy for you but your announcement will bring up feelings of sadness about your friend’s situation. Allow them to process that in private.
  • Remember them on the tough days such as Christmas day and Mother’s and Father’s Day.

dorothy nada

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Leigh-ann, the face behind dorothy nada, is a qualified counsellor with a background in individual teen, group, and family work specializing in addiction therapy. The advice and information given here is accurate to the best of my knowledge, but should not be taken in lieu of professional advice. I accept no responsibility for the actions of readers based on the advice given.


4 thoughts on “Dear Dorothy…

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We are currently faced with a similar problem, and love your suggestions for helping friends through. The point about still being invited to parties is so true. There are times when tears are close to the surface (or actually arrive!) but sharing in the journeys of other people’s children is still a great blessing and joy x


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