How to deal with unwanted infertility advice?
Updated: Nov 10
Just relax. It will happen when you are not thinking about it. Go on holiday. Have more sex. Are you ‘doing it’ at the right time, Don’t give up. My friend…
Inserts eye roll.
Have I missed any?
I hate them all, particularly the ‘Don’t give up’ mantra. It makes me angry, as it suggests that if you keep going you will achieve your dream of having a baby, or that if you stop you are a quitter, or a failure.
Infertility is so hard. It completely consumed me and took everything from me physically and emotionally. I spent month after month monitoring everything my body was doing, spotting every symptom, and repeating the same feeling of heartbreak on the bathroom floor time and time again. All while carrying on like everything was ‘normal’.
When my husband and I told people we were struggling to conceive, we lost count of how many pieces of unsolicited, definitely unwanted and often inaccurate advice we were given and sadly I know that we are not alone in this.
I know that usually this ‘advice’ usually comes from a good place, often from our friends, families and colleagues. Nobody has ever used those words with malice or ill meaning, but simply put infertility is really misunderstood by so many people and it is not always seen as a disease, like other diseases.
When we began planning our fertility treatment and IVF abroad with the help of egg and sperm donation the advice came in thick and fast. People thought they were being supportive, but it wasn’t helping.
No one asked us what we needed in terms of support and we were too consumed by everything that was going on to tell people what we needed. If I am being really honest I expected those people close to me to know instinctively what I needed.
I realise now that this was a little unfair. How could they possibly know what I needed? We are all different people, with different needs and if you haven’t been through infertility then it’s very likely you won’t know what to say, or how to support people despite your best intentions.
My best advice would be (if you can) to tell people how they can best support you, what helps and what doesn’t to give them the best chance of being able to provide you with useful support while you are trying to conceive, or going through infertility and fertility treatment like IVF. In fact most people will be grateful as they want to get it right and truly support you.
If you are reading to help support someone else then first of all thank you, we do want your support. My best advice to you is to please think carefully about giving ‘advice’ and avoid the…
…Just relax. It will happen when you are not thinking about it. Go on holiday. Have more sex. Are you ‘doing it’ at the right time, Don’t give up. My friend…
We know you do not have the answer to our infertility or a crystal ball to predict the future and whether we will be able to have a baby or not and nor do we expect you can ‘fix’ things and that’s OK.
Instead ask them how you can best support them. And at the times you don’t know what to say, just hold their hand and tell them you are there for them.
Love Emma Haslam
Co founder Your IVF abroad