How do you talk to someone with fertility issues? You might be pregnant and they're not, that's totally awkward! Right? You might already have two kids, that you fell pregnant with 'accidentally', so that's pretty awkward hey? You might be waiting until later in life to have kids while someone you know is young and having trouble, that kind of makes the topic hard to talk about.
Wrong wrong wrong! The fact that this topic is so awkward for some people really bothers me, and it prompted me to share some information so that you know how to speak about it, without being a total weirdo!
I've experienced it all when it comes to fertility awkwardness, from obvious pity, to loosing a friendship when she became pregnant and no longer knew how to talk to me. It's a topic that so many people either become weird about when you bring it up, or that they will dodge at all costs.
I can't speak for all women experiencing fertility issues, but for me, I just want the people around me to be honest and real about it, like I am. It's really tough to go through, but I'm still a normal person, and having endometriosis, and ongoing fertility troubles doesn't define who I am. I'm at a point where I have accepted it, and I'm totally ok with it! In fact I'm happy to be on this journey!
These are my top tips for talking to your friend about her fertility issues
Keep your pity to yourself
In fact, don't even have it. I don't want people to feel sorry for me, I'm so blessed in so many ways, and having the struggles I've had with my health, has taught me so much about myself, that I may not have learnt otherwise. I realise that some women don't feel the same way as me, but if you have a friend who wants pity, you shouldn't give it to them anyway! It's not healthy. You can offer love and compassion, but the 'poor you' and 'it's not fair' isn't good for anyone!
Pick your timing
Bringing it up in front of strangers, or a group of distant friends at a BBQ is probably not the best idea, even for the strongest of women. Clearly I'm ok with sharing my story with everyone, but it's not all I want to talk about either. Group social occasions are what we all like to do to relax and have fun. Bringing up personal issues about someone you care about, is in my opinion, pretty selfish. Let your friend enjoy her relaxation time too!
The story about your Aunties cousins daughter, who had endometriosis, who had six kids is not one I need to hear. I understand that sharing stories of success from others might seem motivating, but it's really not. When you are doing all you can to improve your health, hearing about someone else success is in no way related, nor does it change your reality. Every single person is different. Two people who have endometriosis are still two different people, and will have two different journeys.
Go with the flow
Follow your friends lead, and don't pry too deep. They will tell you want they want to, and asking too many questions can feel quite invasive. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Would you really want to share the details of a internal ultrasound with anyone?
This is the most important point I can share! Just be cool about it! Break it down, recognise that we are all human, we all have different struggles, and we are all doing the best we can with what we've got. Comments like 'Sorry is it awkward if we talk about babies while you're here?' Are off limits! And yes this has been said to me more than once.
I'm stronger than I look!
And your friend is too! Remember that! The chance of a spontaneous meltdown when I see a baby are lower than low, in fact I'll probably have the same reaction as you. Give your friend a little credit, she's awesome!
Offering honest love and support is the best gift you can give. This doesn't always mean saying 'if you need to talk I'm always here', it means doing thoughtful things to make her smile. A text message to say good luck at your appointment, a cute quote, or a girls night out where baby talk is off limits. As women we need to love and champion each other to happiness, not bring each other down!