Skip to Content

5 Things NOT to Say to Your Infertile Friend

5 Things NOT to Say to Your Infertile Friend | One Hangry Mama

Infertility is a sensitive topic, y’all. Most of us who’ve battled it, do it quietly and privately, hiding our constant pain behind the thinnest veil of fake happiness.

So if someone has actually confided in you with their infertility struggle, don’t screw it up. Or you might get punched.

Women fighting infertility are warriors. And they’re warriors who are also juiced up on hormones and pent-up emotion, so the last thing you want to do is piss one of them off unwittingly.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a few things to avoid saying, and some alternative suggestions that may save you a beat-down.

What Not to Say to Someone Going Through Infertility

1. “It’ll happen when it’s supposed to.”

This is number 1 on the list for a reason: it’s everyone’s first instinct to say.

Because to you—a fertile Mertile who probably sneezed and got pregnant—that sounds comforting.

“All in God’s time,” “just trust your journey,” and “when it’s meant to be” are all equally upsetting variations of this. While you hear reassurance, all we hear is “it’s obviously not supposed to happen.”

A lot of times, a cycle goes perfectly right, but it doesn’t work. We see that awful negative pee stick, and there’s no good reason for it.

And we think, maybe the real reason is that we’re just not meant to be parents, and maybe we never, ever will be.

And that makes us cry. And you don’t want to make us cry, because we’re filled to the brim with hormones and we can’t stop the crying once it starts.

Instead try: “You WILL get a baby, some way, some how.” Because that is the truth.

It may not be how or when she envisioned it happening, but it will happen. Whether it be natural, or IVF, or adoption, or surrogacy, or any of the million other ways you can become a parent, she will get there.

2. “Just have faith.”

This is kind of an extension of number 1, but it deserves its own section.

See, when you’re going through infertility, you’re constantly reminded that you have NO control. You can control your treatments and how aggressively you go after it, but all the money, needles, and doctors in the world still can’t guarantee that it’ll work.

And that’s maddening. So the last thing she wants to hear after 15 consecutive negative cycles is to “just have faith” that this one will work.

Instead try: “I’m praying for you.”

Nothing was more comforting to me than hearing that someone was praying for me. The key to this is to then actually pray for her, of course.

By the time we were doing IVF, quite a few people knew about it, and many of them had sent prayers our way. And I’ll tell you firsthand: I felt them, and they meant the world to me.

3. “Be glad you don’t have to deal with [insert complaint about your kids here].”

If you complain about your kid/pregnancy to her or imply that she’s lucky to be infertile, she is well within her rights to punch you right in the throat.

While wearing rings.

Find someone else to vent to and leave her alone.

Or better yet, use her as a healthy dose of perspective and remind yourself that she’d trade places with you in a heartbeat. She’s probably literally wished to be kept up all night by a crying baby.

Instead try: calling someone else. I get it – motherhood is hard and frustrating. But find a fellow mom to commiserate with about it.

If you really can’t resist rubbing your motherhood in her face, though, you can try phrasing it more like, “I can’t wait for you to experience this frustration with me.”

(But I can’t promise that’ll save your throat from getting a hole punched through it.)

4. “It will happen as soon as you stop trying.”

No, it won’t.

Sometimes, yes, this happens. But the reason you hear stories of “miracle” babies, conceived naturally after years of infertility treatments is because they are miracles. It never happens in real life.

And since the world has put that thought in her head, she’ll never actually stop trying and hoping. She’ll always be wondering if this is the month that it’ll “just happen.”

Instead try: helping her destress.

Stress does have a real effect on our fertility, and infertility causes stress, so it’s a vicious cycle.

So instead of telling her it’ll just happen when she stops stressing about it, offer ways to help her destress.

Take a yoga class with her, or gift her a bath bomb and a bottle wine… whatever floats her boat. Just don’t tell her it’ll get her pregnant.

“I’m pregnant.”

OK, this one’s tricky. Watching all your friends get pregnant is one of the hardest things about going through infertility.

She’s going to be really happy for you that you’re pregnant. Really, truly, she will be.

But the ugly truth is, it’s also going to remind her that she’s not.

And she’s going to be really, really sad about that. And sadness tends to land on top in the wave of emotions that’s going to crash over her in that moment.

So she’ll probably cry. And then she’ll hate herself for it. And feel guilty. And probably overcompensate.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, so please don’t make her go through them all right in front of you.

Instead try: telling her your news via text message, as unnatural as that might sound to you.

Tell her you know how hard it must be for her, and that you totally understand if she needs to take some time, and that you love her.

Infertility sucks, y’all.

So let’s help it suck a little bit less by not accidentally making our infertile friends miserable.

Infertility sisters: what’d I miss? What other mostly-innocent comments send you over the edge?

5 Things NOT to Say to Your Infertile Friend | One Hangry Mama
First Birthday Party | One Hangry Mama
Previous
Planning the "Perfect" First Birthday Party
We Are All That Mom | One Hangry Mama
Next
We Are All *That* Mom

Katherine

Friday 17th of November 2017

“You just need to relax and it will happen. You’re stressing yourself out.” Ahhhh!

Switchblade

Thursday 4th of October 2018

I have a "friend" who is preg who had the NERVE to tell me I made her feel like s#!$ because I told her pregnancy is a sensitive issue for me and its "not fair" bcuz its supposed to b a joyous time for her. How insensitive, ignorant, and selfish! Tall about what's NOT FAIR!

Rebecca

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

In the realm of #1 is "Maybe God's not calling you to be a parent." OR "Maybe you're just not meant to have one naturally." Thanks for the gut punch and totally crushing the dream, you completely insensitive nit-wit.

Chrissie

Tuesday 17th of October 2017

UGH yeah that’s awful. No one has ever said that to mean. Thankfully. Because I probably would’ve stabbed them with a used PIO needle and said God was calling me to do THAT.

Lori | Choosing Wisdom

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

Thank you for raising awareness about those difficult questions that make a wanna be momma squirm! I think people just don't realize how it feels - unless you've been in those shoes.

Chrissie

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

For sure. I think most people mean well; they just don't know what's going on in our heads when we're struggling.

Kenya

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

I have a few friends in this space and it's hard. I remember struggling to conceive for three years and everyone saying these things to me. I wanted to scream.

Chrissie

Wednesday 26th of April 2017

It can be so frustrating! I know most people mean well, but it's still hard to hear some of these things.

The Infertility Guidebook | One Hangry Mama

Friday 7th of April 2017

[…] a few times on this blog, like my Why I Love My Baby More Than You Love Yours post, and my tips for Things Not to Say to Your Infertile Friend, but have yet to go in depth about our actual […]