If you know someone who's suffering from infertility - and yes, I say suffering, because it can be quite painful - here are a few things NOT to say and why:
"You don't want kids anyway, they're [insert some moderately annoying traits about children]"
Listen, we understand the sentiment, but let's get one thing clear: it won't matter what little annoying traits some kids can have, we still want them. End of story. Intentionally complaining about these motherhood experiences, in an effort to make us feel better, simply reminds us that we can't experience the same ups and downs as other women; and trust me, we'd gladly take the downs if we could also experience the ups!
"You can have mine!" (jokingly)
No...just no. When people make comments like this, it is very frustrating. It makes it sound as though you don't want your kids (and we know you do), which just reminds us that it seems as though all the people who don't want children get them, and all the people who desperately wants kids don't.
"Well don't worry, these days there are so many options. Why don't you [insert alternative method for family planning]."
We know the options...please don't remind us. Our Doctors drill them into our heads even when we're not ready to hear them; it doesn't make it any easier, it simply makes it more stressful.
"Just think about the things you'll be able to do without kids in your life, you can [insert suggestions]"
Bottom line: if we wanted to do all those things without the "burden" of kids (which is how people try to make it sound), we wouldn't have wanted children in the first place. Besides, we know we still CAN do those things with kids in our lives, it just may take a little longer; we're OK with that!
"I'm sure everything will be fine. Doctors are always wrong, you'll be able to have children."
Now this one, for some women, is comforting. However, you must know that you're walking on thin ice! It is important that a woman work through the grieving cycle and comments like these can send her right back to the denial phase. Instead of denying the situation alltogether, encourage a hopeful but realistic and proactive mentality.
"It could be worse..."
Maybe so, but we don't want to hear it. Learning you're infertile can often feel like the end of the world. Women feel less womanly and for the first time in their lives, they often question their purpose on this earth; please understand.
What the heck should I say?
Infertility is a very sensitive topic for most women - it literally feels like your children (yes, unborn, but equally as special to you) have passed away; there is an intense and long grieving cycle. This blog may make it seem as though there is nothing you can say to help...and that's because there isn't. But if you really want to be comforting to your loved one, here is the approach that I, personally, recommend you take:
I'm terribly sorry that you're going through this; it must be extremely difficult for you. I want you to know that if you ever need to vent, I'm here for you. And remember, you're a strong person; if there's anyone I know that's tough enough to face this, it's you.