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What women really want to hear!

by | Dec 9, 2015 | Mindfulness | 0 comments

One of the most challenging aspects of fertility challenges over the holidays is how isolating and lonely it can feel.

All around you, friends and family are preparing for their celebrations. And sending you their family holiday cards. You feel alone just waiting and hoping for your turn, opening everyone else’s joyful photos.

Even more challenging is that everyone seems to have an opinion about what you should do in 2016.

You hear suggestions, especially during the holidays, from your mom, your best friend, the receptionist at the dentist, the dog groomer, the mailman — in 2016, why don’t you try IVF? Why don’t you adopt? Why don’t you just relax? My sister’s friend’s older brother’s college roommate’s friend used acupuncture and got pregnant – why don’t you do that? Or, worse yet, don’t worry, it’ll happen this year!

These comments are absolutely meant to be helpful, but can feel so hurtful, especially during this vulnerable time of year.

I remember when we were making plans with good friends of ours to go out and see a movie, as a distraction while they were waiting for news from the IVF clinic about their embryos. After frantically making dozens of phone calls when the sitter cancelled on me last minute, I reflexively said out loud “you are so lucky you don’t have to scramble to get a babysitter!”

Of course I understood that a night at the movies meant nothing to them and they would do anything just to have the chance to need a babysitter! After all, supporting women through fertility struggles is WHAT I DO!  But without THINKING, out it came!!!! I felt deeply ashamed.

Everyone wants to help and be supportive, but so few know how to say what you really need to hear. And even in situations where they do, like mine, sometimes people can be on auto-pilot and offend, unintentionally.

It can feel so frustrating that your friends and family just don’t know how to say the right thing – but it’s true. They don’t. So many people feel the need to say something, to just say anything, but they feel awkward or guilty and as a result they blurt out something awkward or insensitive.

Sometimes the worst offenders are people who are struggling on their own in silence and don’t know how to cope. Or the ones who should know better.

Being one of the ones who should know better, after apologizing to my friends, I thought to myself,

“Wouldn’t it be great if someone made cards for fertility challenges?” And so I did!

Instead of cliches about “relaxing” or empty, baseless promises of “I know it’ll happen for you guys this year”, wouldn’t it be awesome to receive cards that were actually helpful and comforting? Cards that said REAL things like:

“I’m sorry for complaining about my babysitter to you.”

“I promise to listen, and not to push you if you don’t feel like talking.”

“Please let me know when your embryo transfer is so that I can come over and cook you a wholesome healthy meal…. AND wash the dishes afterwards!”

“I promise to never tell you ‘everything is for a reason’ or suggest that you weren’t meant to be a mom.”

“I think your bruises and bloating are very sexy. Forget bikini shopping – let’s eat ice cream and watch Netflix.”

“I know you don’t want to be strong, or be an inspiration – you just want to be a mom.”

“Let’s go do something fun to keep your mind off the endless waiting.”

“I’m sorry if I mentioned something I read on the internet and asked why you weren’t doing that. I trust that you are doing everything that is best for you and your situation.”

“I’m so sorry you are dealing with this.”

“I don’t know if you’ll ever have a child, but I’m here no matter what happens.”

As hard as it is to hear things like “just relax and it’ll happen in 2016” or “why don’t you try this, this year?”, remember that your friends and family truly love you and are searching for relevant and meaningful ways to support you during the holidays.

If you can this holiday season, instead of taking offense and suffering through the family cards and hurtful well wishes, try to remember and then FEEL, in your body, how much they actually love you and then teach them the right things to say.  Most importantly, as you extend kindness to them, remember to be kind to yourself.

Sending my love and best wishes to you for a compassionate holiday season.

I’m so sorry you are dealing with this.

All my very best, always,

Buffy

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