I’ve seen quite a few articles floating around the internet lately about what not to say to someone going through infertility or someone who is adopting a child. On the flip side, I thought I would share a few ways that my friends and family said the right things and showed me their support through the infertility process. If handled correctly, parents and friends can offer a helping hand to support those suffering through infertility. While infertility brings huge challenges, positive words from family and friends lifted my spirits. Here are six ways to help an individual suffering through infertility.
Six Ways to Support Loved Ones Through Infertility or Adoption
A few ways that I felt support and love from family and friends while going through my journey with infertility and adoption.
Finding out that our chances of having a baby were very small was devastating to me. I can't remember a lower time of my life. My friends and family were always willing to let me talk to them about how I was feeling. My husband was, by far, the best person to talk with. He was feeling many of the same feelings I was and just stayed positive through it all and would build me up. I had so many feelings of guilt, because it was "my fault." He never made me feel that way. It was our infertility, not mine.
Whenever you get a group of women together, childbirth seems to always come up. Why is this? I dreaded these conversations while going through infertility. We ended up adopting two beautiful children and were able to be at the hospitals when they were born. When labor and delivery discussions would come up with my friends, I would share stories of how labor was for my children's birth mothers. I would say, "Yeah, I think the epidural can help women relax too. When Grant was born, his birth mom was at a 4 forever and was finally able to progress after getting the epidural." I think some people would look at me like I didn't know what I was talking about, as I was not the one in labor. But my friends never felt that way. They would ask me questions about my children's births. They would say kind things about my kids' birth mothers. They sincerely wanted to know more about how my family came to be.
I had a secret small fear in the back of my mind while going through the adoption process. There was a small part of me that was worried that my family would think of my children differently than their biological grandchildren.
I know now that this worry was silly; my family is the best! From day one, they have treated my kids the exact same and have shown so much love to them. There is no difference.
We had six months to prepare for our first child to be born. We were so lucky that his birth mother invited us to ultrasounds and made us feel so involved. We felt really comfortable about getting his room ready and preparing to bring him home. As such, our friends and families threw me baby showers. I ended up having five baby showers! I think this was because everyone was just so excited for us. I loved every one of these showers and felt so loved and spoiled. At one of the showers, my good friend read a sweet poem about adoption that brought me to tears. It was so sweet that they were throwing me a shower just like we had for our other friends and that they included how wonderful it was that my baby was coming through adoption.
You can hear some pretty crazy and gutsy comments from people when you are going through infertility and the adoption process. I know that people don't mean to be rude, and try to keep this in mind when my feelings get hurt. I'm sure I have said some inappropriate things to others in situations that I have not been in. But really, telling me that my kids could some day get married because they're not REAL siblings... not okay.
Thankfully, I have never had a family member or close friend say anything awkward or inappropriate to me about how we have built our family. They have really made a conscious effort to think before they speak. They have even researched positive adoption language such as "place for adoption" rather than "give up for adoption" and "birth parents" rather than "real parents." This means so much to me.
I have been to the hospital so many times to visit friends who have just had a baby. I love going to see these sweet new babies and to show love and support to my friends who have just given birth. It made me sad that I would not be able to have that time in the hospital where family and friends can come visit and meet our babies for the first time.
Something that meant a lot to me was all the people who visited us at our home after our kids were born. Even though I didn't need to heal physically from having a baby, I was still exhausted from being up all night with a newborn and figuring out how to be a mom. Without even having to ask, my friends, family, and neighbors kept showing up at our door with meals for us. It felt so good to have such an act of service done for us after adopting our kids.
Kira became a mother through adoption twice and once through a high-risk pregnancy. She and her husband opened their hearts to open adoption five years ago and now enjoy a beautiful relationship with their children's birth mothers, who are best friends, and their son's birth father. She has served as a co-chair for a chapter of Families Supporting Adoption, and enjoys doing adoption presentations for schools in her community. When she isn't changing poopy diapers and making mac n cheese, she spends her time teaching dance, attempting to exercise, and spending time with her husband, Mike. Instagram ID: Kiralm
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