Hi new friends! My name is Chelsea and I’m so excited to guest post on Motherhood Inspired today! A little about me: I have been happily married to Josh since 2005 and we have an adorable little furbaby, Cali, who brings us so much joy! I blog over at Trials Bring Joy on living a joy filled life despite trials, love reading, trying new foods, visiting coffee shops and investing in other’s stories. In fact, I am honored today for the chance to share a tiny bit about mine!
Our story includes one big word: infertility. When Josh and I started trying to grow our family back in 2009, it seemed like it’d be an easy task! After all, everyone around us was starting their families! It was frustrating when, after a year, we had no success. It was then I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a disease that affects my hormones, ovulation and insulin, making it incredibly difficult to get pregnant naturally.
Over the next 7 years, we sought the help of a fertility doctor and began the draining treatment steps including medicated cycles to induce ovulation, inter-uterine inseminations (IUI), and several invitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. Unfortunately, the treatments only brought continued tears and resulted in 3 miscarriages.
According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, as many as one in eight couples in the U.S. will have a hard time conceiving, which means chances are likely that you’ll one day need to support a friend struggling. Your friends are more than a statistic though, and like any good friend knows, you don’t want them to suffer alone. While “infertility and miscarriage” typically isn’t brunch talk, it is important to lend support to a friend who is suffering.
Here are a few ways you can support a friend struggling with infertility:
- Listen to your friend. You may not understand the emotions fully, but be willing to listen when she is ready to talk about it. If you don’t know what to say, simply empathize that what she is going through is really hard. Don’t force her to talk about her emotions, but let her know you are there for her when she is ready.
- Avoid giving unsolicited advice. Every situation is different, and every set of circumstances are unique, so avoid telling her about your neighbor’s cousin or friend of a friend of a friend who did XYZ and got pregnant. Phrases like “Just relax!” or “Take a vacation!” or “Adopt, then you’ll get pregnant!” should be avoided. You can always assume that a couple going through infertility has looked into and discussed many options, so unless they ask for your opinion, just share how much you care and how much infertility sucks.
- Reach out to her with small gestures. A card, call, text, or email, simply letting her know how much you care about and are thinking of her will mean so much. Every day is a struggle to a friend struggling with infertility. Become familiar with your friend’s calendar landmines, such as Mother’s Day or a due date after a miscarriage, and take the time to acknowledge those days. Coffee gift cards, a small bouquet of flowers, or an invitation for an afternoon out means so much.
- Be mindful of your audience when you need to complain or vent. She recognizes that pregnancy may be difficult or being a mother to young children is tiring. Keep in mind that someone experiencing infertility would do anything to trade their child-free life in for your swollen feet and sleepless nights. Sharing your struggles is important, but it’s typically going to be better received and validated by friends who aren’t as sensitive.
- Keep her in your life. Your friend loves watching you be a mom. She wouldn’t wish the pain of infertility or secondary infertility on anyone. Sometimes seeing your joy will remind her of her own sadness, but she doesn’t want you to sit and wallow with her all the time. She doesn’t want to eliminate all child-bearing friends from her life! She loves being included and being invited to your baby shower or child’s birthday parties. Just understand that there are good days and bad days, and if she can’t make it, it’s not personal. Love her anyway. Don’t leave her feeling isolated. Offer her grace and support.
Perhaps you’re reading this today and understand intimately the pain and suffering of infertility or secondary infertility. If so, friend, I am so sorry. I know how hard it is, and I want you to know you aren’t alone. I hope you’re receiving the care and support you need to make it through another day and pray that your little miracle is right around the corner. I’d love to connect more with you! Stop on by my blog or Instagram account @chels819 and say hi!
Looking for something to help you keep the faith and grow in a season of waiting? Chelsea has co-authored a 6-week devotional, In the Wait, that dives into how to grow in a season of waiting. It broadly offers biblical application for all types of seasons of life and provides action steps to make life happen today. The heart of this book is to encourage women regardless of what they are waiting on, to not give up, and to fight for full reliance on God. You can find this interactive book for sale on Amazon or learn more about it on Instagram at @IntheWaitStudy.
Chelsea is graciously giving our readers a chance to win a copy of this study! Enter below!