By Lisa Bondarenko – Mind Heart Body
I had a phone call last week from a very distressed mum. She was ringing on behalf of her daughter and son-in-law who had recently suffered a miscarriage at seventeen weeks.
She could hardly talk on the phone through her tears. The journey clearly impacting her personally but she rang, wanting to make a counselling appointment for them.
It was a difficult conversation because her purpose for calling me was to help someone else and yet her grief was palpable through the phone and I couldn’t ignore it. I made the appointment for her daughter and then asked her, “How can I help you?”
Pregnancy loss and infertility is excruciating for couples, but more often than not they have a “pit crew”, aka family and friends standing on the sidelines feeling very inadequate and at a loss themselves. I’d just like to say thank you to that pit crew, for all that you do, for the burden you carry, often in silence.
I am pleased to say this phone call turned into a counselling appointment being made for this precious mum, she acknowledged the anxiety, worry and sadness was getting too much for her to cope with. I was so humbled and thrilled that she recognized that she too matters.
Perhaps there are many of you reading this who also have sisters, brothers or besties going through fertility loss or difficulties and you’re not sure what to do and what to say.
Here is a little help: What to do and what not to do if your loved one is having fertility problems.
1. Acknowledge the situation
Don’t avoid or ignore and please don’t offer, “Everything will be fine” or “Just relax” advice.
2. Be sensitive to pain and stress
Provide extra “grace” for poor behavior or perceived over-reactions.
3. Don’t make decisions in “their best interest.”
They can choose not to attend family functions, baby showers, mothers day lunches etc. Let them make that decision.
4. Always keep the lines of communications open
It’s not a good idea to hide pregnancies within the family because you don’t wont to upset the struggling couple. Tact, kindness and honesty can go a long way to soften any difficult news.
5. Respect boundaries
Some couples are an open book, others, are nailed shut. Respect whichever one they are. Just let them know you are always there for them when and if they want to talk about it.
On a personal note, thank you for all that you do, for the unspoken words, the tears you have shed and even the awkward “I don’t know what to do” moments.
You matter, and they need you!