When you hear that your friend, relative or an acquaintance is suffering from infertility, the only solace that you could give them is by showing your support. Here is one such good friend who gave her friend the greatest gift of all - ears to listen.
Normally people with infertility tend to lose all interest and there are high chances to get into depression with no one to talk about and the society being hard and unapologetic by judging them. All of this makes them dislike social contact and refrain from participating in functions or involving in small talks because of the fear to get judged or be gossiped upon behind one’s back. During this time, they don’t need you to give them solutions to their problems but instead, be a supportive person giving them a secured feeling that you will always be on their side and help them eases the pain of infertility.
A Friend In Need
Recently, one of my friends called, checking up on my health as I had problems with hormonal imbalance. I initially felt awkward when he showed his concern about my hormonal health and I went on to explained to him about how with my healthy lifestyle, I am able to overcome it. He started asking questions about problems related to fertility and pregnancy casually. But I could sense that he sounded more than curious and unlike a guy who would talk politics, finance, and other general topics usually, he sounded more concerned to know about female health. From his questions, I sensed that there was a more personal reason to it and soon enough I was able to decipher that his wife is undergoing certain complicated medical treatments for trying to start a family.
Conversations Over Dinner
Contemplating on my thoughts about our conversation, I paid a visit to the lovely couple over a dinner. Over chatting about life and how fun at times it is to live carelessly, I could see something was different between the couple. They were more careful when talking, often checking up on each other and share a glance of “are you alright?” in middle of the conversations. And when the conversation took a turn to talking about family and future, that’s when I noticed a sudden change in their reactions. They would fumble and give vague talks that more so than not, didn’t make any proper sense.
I saw my friend’s wife go silent at times and zone out from the conversation and she looked like her mind wasn’t present with us during those times. As I had seen and dealt with people suffering from depression, I realized that his wife must be having the same issues.
All The Distress Within
Being known to this medical situation, I tried speaking to my friend later when he was alone. I wanted to first know if my friend knew about his wife’s depression. And so, I started with small talks asking if everything alright from the family’s health point of view and he being quite honest, starting sharing all the burdens that had been weighing in on him.
He said that they both are trying to have a child and because his wife is on the edge of age, nearing 40, it is becoming difficult. They had been trying the best treatment possible but they did not get any positive results till then. This had taken a toll on his wife and in addition to this, she is on hormones as well, due to which she gets mood swings, making the matters much worse. She also had a miscarriage earlier and that had added up to their misery.
He started pouring out all his bundled up problems and emotions for a continuous 40 minutes and I just stood there listening to him talk. During such times, finding a person to whom you can confide and say your feelings out loud is difficult and when one finds such a person, it will soothe the difficult journey.
He assured me that they both are upset and are fighting hard not to fall into depression. But sadly, his wife already is part of it, which isn’t her fault. I could see the pain and desire to have a child in the eyes of both.
Hysteria strikes when your body doesn’t support you to achieve your dreams even when you have taken all correct measures. This couple are health freaks yet they were hit by infertility. Though it is said to be the problem of the women, my friend manned up and supported her throughout.
I could feel the pain of my friend and the emotional trauma he is going through. It is always the woman who is undergoing the physical, emotional and mental strain while she is on a journey of motherhood. But not many can understand that men too go through such a hard time emotionally and mentally to support his own desires and his wife’s at the same time. During that dinner, I saw my friend putting up a brave face in front of his wife and make it look like everything was alright while inside he was crumbling from the hurt and pain which he shared behind to me.
How Can You Be A Dost?
To understand the situation better, I did a bit Google research and spoke to a couple of people who have been a part of the medical circuit related to pregnancy and infertility before meeting them over for the dinner. Here are my learnings from the process of being a dost/friend to my friend.
Don’t give any gyaan
One of the main points to remember before helping a friend who is undergoing the process of fertilization is to not give any gyaan. As the couple themselves would be drenched in numerous guidance by experts and doctors, and the extra advances from their family and friends. This makes them more confused and scared. Hence, giving them the space to think on their own is a great way to mentally giving them strength to fight the unwanted thoughts.
Don’t show your curiosity
Secondly, be very careful while raising the subject with the couple and do not discuss the situation without consent. The major aspect is to earn their trust is through the small gestures of paying visits and listening to them and taking care of them without forcing yourself on their life. As most couples want to keep the entire process of childbirth under the wrap, it is better to let them open up to you but it is your duty, as a friend, to create an atmosphere where they could open up. Being in touch with the couple and just being there, helps them to confide into us. It is essential practice to build the bond of trust as a friend and to not reveal or share their identities or personal details with anyone outside.
Let them take their own time
Thirdly, don’t force or rush the couple into taking an action. The process of infertility to fertility is very exhaustive and needs to be nurtured and nourished with time and love. Holding hand with one step at a time is sufficient to help them get started.
Meet them in person as much as you can
The fourth aspect is to meet them in person as much as one can instead of connecting over the phone or texts. A personal touch of holding hand heals the pain in a greater way. The gravity of the situation is very delicate and it can make things good or worse for many.
Your presence and encouragement are the best medicine to help a friend heal the pain and ease the process of infertility.
Have you ever helped a friend to cope through the infertility issues?
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