Are You Hearing Whispers About Your Infertility Diagnosis?

For 12% of adults, dealing with infertility is already challenging enough. There are physical, psychological, and even financial burdens of infertility. In addition to these, society often adds another layer of pressure and expectations. Family, relatives, friends, and colleagues tend to ask intrusive questions. Some offer unsolicited advice. Others make insensitive comments about the couples’ family plans and reproductive abilities. While these may seem harmless, individuals or couples struggling with infertility may feel inadequate and embarrassed by these comments. Navigating these whispers while figuring out the next steps can help couples attack the issue.


Building personal resilience

Most people struggling with infertility tend to respond politely and just brush off any insensitive remarks. However, couples need to develop personal resilience to confidently navigate these societal situations without compromising emotional well-being. Couples must first understand infertility is a condition that does not make the couple less human or worthy of compassion and respect. Next, know that there are options available to improve the chances of pregnancy. The steps to do this are quite simple but require courage, self-awareness, and assertiveness.

It’s all in the communication

The first step in navigating infertility comments is to communicate effectively. This means setting clear boundaries with family and friends. Determine which topics and questions are off-limits and let people know that such topics are not open for discussion. Once the boundaries have been drawn, couples need to enforce the boundaries consistently. Take this opportunity to educate close family members and friends about infertility sensitivities, such as the emotional impact of infertility, intrusive questions, and unsolicited comments.

Cultivating a supportive environment

As couples educate family and friends about infertility sensitivities, the goal should be to help others understand and empathize with those struggling with infertility. By doing so, family and friends must learn how to best support and encourage the struggling couple. This helps cultivate a supportive and understanding environment where the couple feels acknowledged and validated in the fertility journey. Couples will soon notice people who are compassionate, yet practical. These are people to keep in touch with and form a tight knit circle while navigating infertility.

Choose your battles

Concerned family and friends can be educated to become allies and advocates in the couple’s infertility journey. However, there are also others who hastily make infertility remarks without any intention of understanding or providing support. In such cases, couples would just waste their time and energy trying to educate these individuals. The same goes for sharing this journey on social media. While there will be encouraging words, negative comments written online can be particularly stressful. So, instead of engaging, better preserve emotional energy by just letting the insensitive remarks pass without any personal reflection.

You’ve got the power

Couples can also feel empowered by seeking support from infertility support groups or professional counseling. Such support systems can provide a safe space for couples to share experiences, gain validation, and receive guidance on how to navigate infertility comments. Infertile individuals or couples will be able to learn from the actual experiences of others who have faced similar challenges. Most will find comfort in the knowledge that there are people who deeply understand and empathize with infertility.

Now take action with fertility treatment

While navigating comments, couples must also decide on the appropriate fertility treatment. The causes of infertility are varied, so a detailed assessment is key before taking action. A fertility specialist may recommend lifestyle changes combined with fertility medication or surgery to correct an underlying issue. However, most will benefit from assisted reproductive technology (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or similar procedures. IVF is a multi-step process that increases the chances of pregnancy and can add another layer of whispers. Despite the challenges, the success rate is excellent, and the procedure is becoming more acceptable.

Don’t suppress but express

For couples experiencing infertility who have been hearing insensitive infertility remarks, suppressing feelings may only lead to further emotional distress. As such, expressing and acknowledging these feelings is crucial. Communicate with friends and relatives to become allies and advocates of the infertility journey. These people are also the best support network that the couple may have during this challenging time. Lastly, support groups and professional counselors can give practical tips and advice on how to cope with and respond to infertility comments in a healthy and constructive manner. Take these steps while deciding on how to treat or circumvent infertility.

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