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10 Things You Should Never Say To A Woman Who Is Struggling To Conceive

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Things Never To Say To A Woman Trying To Conceive Johannes Jander/Flickr

Sponsored By: The Stork® OTC

There are a lot of women who are having a hard time getting pregnant. And if you know that a friend or loved one in your circle is struggling to conceive, there are some things you should never, ever say to her.

If you haven’t been on the fertility-challenged side of life, then you just can’t comprehend the pain and suffering these women and their partners are experiencing. They are literally working day and night to make a baby in whatever way they can, and they are in a space of deep longing and sadness.

I wish more women who are in the midst of the fertility struggle would share their stories so that others could understand. There’s a lot of shame that comes with trying to conceive and not succeeding at it.

These women feel robbed of what should be a given for any woman — the ability to conceive and carry a healthy child to term.

Your role as a friend and supporter should be to listen, period. Provide a non-judgmental space for your friend to share his or her story.

Most importantly, offer advice only when asked. And, by no means should you say any of the following to them:

1) “It’s probably just stress,” or “It’s all in your head.”

These women know that they are stressed about trying to conceive, and they are worried that this stress is making their situation worse. Don’t make them more stressed and worried by pointing out the obvious.

2) “It was so easy for me to get pregnant.”

Rather, try to step back and witness what your friend is going through. Try to put yourself in her shoes. She wants this baby so badly, and is willing to do anything to make it happen.

She is struggling. And hearing stories about how easy it was for others to get pregnant will only make her feel worse about herself and her body.

3) “It’s probably because you waited too long and now you’re too old.”

Never, ever, say this to a woman who is struggling to conceive. She hears this one from every doctor she sees, and in nearly everything she reads on the internet. The truth is that while fertility does decline with age, many fertility problems have nothing to do with age.

However, if a woman is of advanced maternal age, there are things a couple can do to combat the natural fertility decline. In 2004, the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that with sex at least twice a week, 82 percent of 35-to-39-year-old women conceived within a year, compared with 86 percent of 27-to-34-year-olds.

The benefit of “timed intercourse” is supported by another 2013 study out of the journal Fertility and Sterility, which found that 78 percent of 35-to-40-year-old women who were having sex at their fertile times got pregnant within a year, compared with 84 percent of 20-to-34-year-olds. Basically, have more sex and at a woman's fertile time.

4) “So when are YOU going to have a baby?”

If you know this woman is struggling to conceive, don’t say this to her to fish for information on how her baby quest is going. If she doesn’t offer information about her fertility status, don’t ask. She doesn’t need any more pressure from anyone else about having a baby, as she is already putting enough pressure on herself.

5) DON’T complain about your pregnancy.

In my opinion, whether you’re speaking to a woman about her fertility struggles or not — you should never complain about your pregnancy. You should be grateful for the gift you received. Pregnancy is a miracle, and you were honored with that miracle.

6) “Have you thought about IUI…or IVF…or surrogacy…or donor eggs…or adoption...?”

Believe me, she has thought about everything. In fact, those thoughts have likely kept her up at night. Again, if she isn’t asking for your advice on such topics, don’t offer it. And, if she is talking to you about such topics — just listen with a compassionate ear.

7) “Kids are a pain, why would you want them?”

We all know children come with responsibility, but many of us still want them. Don’t put your opinions or assumptions onto other people, especially to a woman who is struggling to conceive.

8) “If it’s meant to be it’ll happen. Don’t give up.”

I couldn’t agree more with this statement, however saying it to someone who is in a world of pain over wanting a child (or anything they don’t have that they want) can feel like a kick in the stomach.

I believe somewhere deep down, these women do have faith that it’ll happen for them, but they need to recognize that on their own terms, not on yours.

9) “Well, you have been so career focused…”

This is a big no-no to say to any woman struggling to conceive. She’s already gone over that statement in her head probably hundreds of times. Don’t support her self-abuse.

There are many, many women who chose careers first and babies second, and it worked out just fine for them. And — refer to #3 above — age isn’t the biggest issue when it comes to fertility challenges.

10) “Have you tried acupuncture...or changing your diet…or sleeping more…or taking X supplements?”

Chances are they have explored every option that’s out there to help improve their odds of conception. Again, if they are not asking your advice, don’t offer it.

The best thing you can do for a friend or loved one struggling to conceive is to listen compassionately. Let them know you are on their side, and you hope for them that they will one day have all they desire.

From The Stork® OTC: If you have been trying to get pregnant, but are struggling, there are some options available to help with conception. The Stork OTC is an over-the-counter product that may optimize chances of conception and can be used in the privacy of your own home.

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Reviewed July 18, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment3 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

This is a great list. However, there is one tiny snag that really hits home for me.

You say women should never complain about their pregnancy to anyone, regardless if the listening ear is a woman trying to conceive or not. While I agree you shouldn't complain to someone who is trying to conceive... you should make such a grand "never ever" statement like that. Pregnancy can be hard, very hard, and a woman has a right to say so when it becomes overwhelming.
I had a rough pregnancy , but was told not to complain. I felt so isolated because my complaints were met with, "but you have a MIRACLE growing inside you!" and made to feel like I wasn't grateful enough. I was told that I was already starting off my journey as a mother in a bad mindset, and that I needed to "look on the bright side" more. While I was thankful for the miracle, I was struggling with very real complications that can come with pregnancy.
No one wanted I knew had ever experienced them, so I felt extremely isolated. This lead to a pretty bad depression during pregnancy that still brings me to tears over five years later. The depression got to the point that I could not get out of bed. I missed doctor appointments, work, and family events because I felt so deeply depressed. The guilt over my depression mixed with the lack of understanding while being told to just "cheer up" because I have such a precious gift to celebrate only made things worse. If it weren't for my husband begging me to talk to my doctor about it... I honestly don't know what would have happened.
So, I think the complaining should be done in caution, yes. It should be expressed with the knowledge that you do have a miracle... and should be screen to fall on ears that can listen without being hurt over the complaining. But to tell a woman she should never complain about anything pregnancy related can cause a whole different problem. One that can have serious consequences.

September 3, 2015 - 8:51am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

When you cannot have your own child, or are having trouble conceiving, sometimes just seeing someone who has a child on the way makes you feel depressed, and to hear someone complain about that miracle makes you feel even worse. If I had the opportunity to have a child, i would be willing to accept any complications if it meant i could be a mom. Just watching a show where someone gives birth to a child will bring me to tears because I just wish i could experience that feeling just once in my life. Mother's day is the worst day for me. It feels like a holiday to remind me of my failure. it's not that we don't care about other's complications, rather it just hurts to hear someone complain about something you would give anything to experience.

September 4, 2015 - 1:07am
EmpowHER Guest

Another one not to say, "Just have faith that God will take care of it". I believe in God and have faith, but I also believe in science. I don't tell you not to go to the doctor or follow a medical treatment plan and to just have faith. It belittles the struggles of infertility as well as implying that I don't have faith.

September 2, 2015 - 10:49pm
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