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.