Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What is the “Right” Thing to Say?

I have recently gotten some requests from people wanting to know the “right” thing to say to couples going through infertility or suffering miscarriages.  So I have decided to address things from the other side of the fence today.  Let me start out by saying in all truthfulness there is NOTHING that you can ever say that will make things “all right” in these situations!  No two women, couples or journeys to parenthood are the same therefore there is NO one thing that is “right” to say or do in every situation.  However, there are things that you can do and say that might help.  When I say help I mean anything that can be a comfort and a reminder that you love and care for that person.

Things You Can Say:

1.  “There are no words!” – This is probably the best thing that someone said to us after our last miscarriage.  They didn’t try and make the situation better or offer advice they just stated a fact and let us know that they were there and they cared!

2.  “I’m Sorry you’re going through this.” – This statement seems so simple but it can convey so much.  It shows the person that you care without being intrusive.

3. "I'm here for you whenever you need to talk about it."  There will be days that he/she/they might want to talk about their struggles or loss, but allow them to come to you.  They want to know that you are there if and when they are ready.  Be available, but not pushy.  Remember to let them have control of the conversation.  Allow them to vent and just listen.

4. "What can I do for you?" or “What do you need?” – Letting someone know that you are there willing to help out if they need you is a huge help.  They may never ask, but the gesture is appreciated!  Remember that anyone going through these trials is on an emotional roller coaster and their needs shift daily or even hourly so what they need today may not be what they need tomorrow.  It’s important that you take their responses with a grain of salt and understand that those feelings are fleeting!

5.  “I’ll be praying for you.” or “I’m thinking of you.” – These two phrases are ones that G and I have really appreciated over the last several years.  They are simple statements showing that you care, but are not intrusive and don’t require any follow-up.  Whether you are religious or not they can be comforting to a couple experiencing infertility or a loss.

Things You Can Do:

1.  Send them cards – This is one of the best things people have done for me through all of this.  It has allowed us to know that people are thinking about us without making us have to interact face-to-face.  I would encourage sending cards to others, but refrain from being specific about why you are sending the card.  Sending “Thinking of you”, “Praying for you” and “Because” cards are all great ways to show you care.  There is no reason to specify and remind them as to why you are sending the card…especially in cases of a loss.

2.  Bring them dinner or order them a pizza – Offering to bring them dinner or order them a pizza is a great idea and one that we were very thankful for.  Anyone going through this journey knows what it is like to be so consumed with depression, grief and sadness and the struggles that come with just trying to make it through the day let alone “What’s for dinner?”.

3. Offer to run errands, clean the house or mow the yard – Again these are gestures that show that you care and are not intrusive to the couple.  I guarantee that these are things are not on the couple’s radar.  Those things tend to get pushed aside and become burdens when the time comes for them to address the task.

From our own experiences we know that people want to be helpful and just show that they care, but for couples experiencing the trials and losses it is difficult to always accept the offers and be around others during those times.  So I encourage you to take your cues from the couple as to what they need at that specific time!!!

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