There are oodles of articles out in the cyber world telling us what we should NOT say to women who are experiencing infertility. But then, what do we say? I mean, beyond talking about the weather, work, and shopping. What conversations of substance can we have, and how do we address them?

Follow up “How are you doing?” with a true listening ear. She may or may not want to talk about her heartache, frustration, and even progress. You can’t know without asking. Ignoring the situation when it’s clearly forefront in her mind tells her that you don’t care (even if you do). So ask her how she’s doing, and really listen to her answer. Chances are she’ll respond well to a good follow-up question.

Invite her for some real fun. Distraction can be a really good thing. This is especially true when one is burdened down with chronic situations of any kind. When a woman is stuck on the infertility train for long enough to cause stress, chances are she could use a great break. Invite her for lunch, a day at a theme park, or a night at the movies. The distraction could be just the thing to revitalize her!

See if she’s in an emotional state to help lift another person. There’s nothing quite like serving others to help heal your own soul. For one thing, it helps with perspective. After all, most of us, when hypothetically presented the possibility of trading our problems for those that another is experiencing, would gladly continue to carry our own. Additionally, there’s something magical about lifting another’s burdens. It brings peace and even some lasting joy.

A good rule of thumb is to consider your own heartaches. What would you like people to say to you? Infertility is hard, yes. So are many other things. Chances are you’ve experienced great pain yourself. So try to remember what people have said or done that has been helpful for you and apply those principles to how you interact with your infertile friends.