We get it: It’s not always easy to know the right thing to say. But if you have a friend struggling with infertility, there are a few choice statements that you should steer clear of at all costs. You’re her friend and have good intentions—of course. Just avoid these five common “feel better” phrases. (Real talk: They don’t help.)
“Just relax and it will happen.”
Oh, wow? It’s that easy? Gosh, why I didn’t I think of that? This is what your BFF will probably be thinking if you hit her with this unhelpful advice. Sure, your heart is in the right place telling her to take care of herself, but it’s like a kick in the gut to boil infertility issues down to something as basic as “relax.” Instead, it’s better to be a listening ear and validate her feelings during this tough time.
“Ugh, being pregnant is the worst anyway.”
It’s like telling someone struggling with their finances: Mo’ money, more problems. Yes, there’s the nausea and the sleepless nights and the food aversions, but the fact that carrying a baby is a miracle that your friend is wishing (and trying) for more than anything else in her life makes this one of the most insensitive comments you could utter. Just don’t say it.
“I wish I had that problem. I get pregnant if my partner breathes on me.”
Of course, your friend already knows this from your social media feed. Not to mention the endless stream of pregnant people all around her at home, at work, on the street, everywhere. Whatever your personal experience, keep your focus on her and her needs.
“Have you tried acupuncture?”
Or essential oils? Or fish oil supplements? Or [insert crazy thing you read on the Internet that might help your friend conceive here]? Trust us, your friend has most likely tried them all under the guidance of her doctor. So unless you’re also an OB-GYN, it’s probably best to avoid dispensing unsolicited advice about alternative methods. On the other hand, you could ask her if there are any appointments you can accompany her to or suggest a plan (like a massage) to help her get her mind off things. It’s much kinder—and less like you’re trying to interfere.
“Have you thought about adoption?”
Whoa, it’s complicated. And bringing it up as a simple alternative can come across as insensitive and misinformed. First of all, adoption is time-consuming, expensive and emotional. Plus, it’s a conversation that your friend and her partner will have to be on the same page about. (Not always easy.) If you’re this close to your friend and you know she’s reaching the end of her rope, you could maybe broach the topic. But even then, it’s better to let her bring up the option first.