One in eight couples experience challenges with fertility and there might be numerous people around you that are going through infertility without your knowledge. This is why conversations around having children need to be handled with tact and empathy. On that note, here is what not to say when talking to someone struggling with conception.
‘Adoption is always an option’
The issue with this proposition is dual: it minimizes the emotional, logistical and financial adoption process and implies that adopting is just a back-up plan for people who cannot have children. Adopting is a good thing, but leave it for them to decide. Do not offer adoption as a Plan B just because you assume their plan A failed.
‘You know, it could be worse!’
We have the best intentions for our families and friends who are having trouble getting pregnant, but saying this does not do them any good. You are just diminishing their fertility struggles and anguish. You should know that you cannot compare anguish because their process might be stressful and painful. Validating their feelings however, is a great way to go about it.
‘You can just have mine’
Jokingly offering one of your kids to a person struggling with infertility is insensitive. You are essentially making light of the situation and making them feel as if their parenting dreams do not matter.
‘It could be that you are not cut out for parenting’
Whatever your intentions may be, this is one of those phrases that you should refrain from voicing out. It is insensitive and cruel to tell a person that they are not meant to be parents and to just cut their losses and move on.
Chilling is definitely not what someone who wants children is doing. They are actively trying to find solutions to their problem and actively worrying about why it is not working out. While this comment may be out of good will, it places blame on the individual trying to conceive. They cannot relax their way into a successful conception just because you said so.
‘A vacation may do you good’
Suggesting that what is likely a medical problem may be solved with relaxation in Kilifi or the Maldives is not ideal. It is a slap in the face to most people who want children, but are not able to. While it is healthy to take some time off from treatments and all the pressure, a vacation will not exactly solve their problem.
‘Consider trying this…’
You might mean well but exercise tact when giving suggestions regarding this issue. Knowing their struggle, the couple trying to conceive has probably already tried almost everything under the sun. So, suggesting that they change their diet because you heard it on the news or heard that it worked for another person is not ideal.
Keep in mind…
Unless someone comes to you for advice, it is always best to keep these ideas to yourself and not intrude on sensitive topics. It is better to allow them to reach out first, and even then, remember to be sensitive to their experience.