Life Without Baby

Filling the silence in the motherhood discussion

What to Say (or Not to Say) to Someone Who is Infertile April 26, 2011

Photo courtesy E. Lindert/L.A. Times

My friend Carrie Friedman wrote this wonderful article for The Los Angeles Times My Turn Health column. In it she articulates perfectly what we’ve talked about many times here, which is people (well-meaning people) who just say the wrong thing. I found myself nodding to each unhelpful thing she’s heard and saying, “Yup, heard that one. Yup, that one, too.”

She also suggests some things that are helpful. Here’s what she says:

First, listen. Or, if you know it will make you uncomfortable to hear about it, let us know that. We’ll be A-OK talking about something — anything — else.

Second, say you’re sorry for our struggle. Several months ago, a friend of mine wrote me the loveliest, simplest paragraph I didn’t even know I so badly needed to hear:

“I am so very sorry. I’m most sorry that there’s nothing I can say that will make this better for you. But please know you’re in my thoughts and prayers and I am wishing you peace and good news. I’m always here to talk if you want to.”

My hope is that Carrie’s article will help people to understand a little more about what it’s like to deal with infertility, and what it is they can say if they truly want to help.

And, by the way, if Carrie’s name rings a bell it’s probably because I reviewed her excellent book, Pregnant Pause here last year.


3 Responses to “What to Say (or Not to Say) to Someone Who is Infertile”

  1. Mali Says:

    I like her lists – I can nod to all of them. A lovely gentle article.

  2. Aja Gold Says:

    Yes, I caught the article too in the LA Times. I wanted so badly to email the link to everyone who ever said anything to me just like Carrie had listed. I fantasized about leaving the paper open at work, at my in-laws, or attaching the link on Facebook! But alas, I chickened out and merely cut the article out for my own diary – to remind myself that I’m not alone.

  3. J0 Says:

    Very nice article. Thank you for posting. Those comments left @original post are very insensitive and mean spirited and for the most part those people completely missed the message. . . wow.

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