Many people in the adoption world understand the emotional impact infertility can have on a hopeful family. But everybody who faces infertility copes and manages their emotions in a different way, so it may be difficult to know how to talk about it.
To shed some light on the subject, we’ve provided 5 noteworthy examples of things you should never, ever say to people dealing with infertility:
1. Well, it could be worse.
Most of the time, people who say this are well-intentioned, but it minimizes the emotional challenges caused by infertility. Do not invalidate the feelings of someone grieving infertility – just let them cope in their own way, and on their own time.
2. Maybe you should try…
Most of the time, couples dealing with infertility don’t need suggestions from anyone other than a doctor. And if they have already decided to stop trying to get pregnant, unsolicited advice is even less helpful. If someone is grieving infertility, it’s more than likely that they’ve looked into every possibility – and it’s frustrating when others assume they haven’t.
3. You’re trying too hard. You just have to relax.
This implies that a person’s infertility is his or her fault in some way. Infertility is never a result of trying too hard or not trying hard enough. Statements like these only serve to make hopeful families feel guilty over something that they can’t control.
4. Now you won’t have to deal with being pregnant!
So many hopeful parents would do anything for the opportunity to be pregnant and give birth to a child. Those who are facing infertility don’t want to hear other people talk about how bothersome or inconvenient pregnancy is.
5. You should just adopt.
Adoption is not a replacement for having biological children, and it doesn’t erase the grief of infertility. More importantly, there is no such thing as “just” adopting – the process can take years for some families and is a huge financial and emotional investment.
Infertility can be a challenging subject to talk about – but instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t say, focus on what you can do to support hopeful families in this position. The most valuable thing you can do is be there for them and listen.