Infertility Etiquette

What can make one fall easily into the cracks of the barren land?

Someone’s comments or someone’s silence.

Most family, friends and ministry leaders have good intentions, but sometimes they fall short of expressing their love and concern to one who is struggling with infertility or infant loss.

Etiquette prescribes a code of social behavior for a particular group.  Gaining knowledge on how to respond gives support to your loved one or congregant. It is as if you are taking their hand and walking with them on the barren road.

A Glimpse into an Infertile Soul

“Suffering silently, screaming loudly” – this one phrase could best describe an infertile woman.  She walks around appearing outwardly to be “just fine”, yet inwardly, emotions are screaming. Below are candid answers from a focus group of women who are fighting, or have fought and won, the battle against infertility.  The willingness to share their experience openly and candidly provides invaluable information.

“Disappointed. Confused. Why me? Shame. Something is wrong with me as a woman. Denial. Shock. A feeling of numbness. Disbelief.”


“Crushed. Grieving – as grieving a loved one. Weak. Devastated. Saddened. Depressed. Withdrawn. Emotionally spent.”

What do you compare infertility to?

“Someone’s worse heartbreak or the break up of ones’ life.”

It’s like losing a loved one—however, there is no funeral. No one brings the bereaved flowers. The grieving person must suck it up and move on because there are greater problems in the world…”

“Cancer.  You fight cancer with chemo and treatments but you never know if you will beat cancer.  I never knew I would beat infertility and I felt like I would die trying.”

“For me, it felt like the death of who I thought I was going to be:  a mother.”

“Like going through the wilderness on the way to the promised land.”

“I feel like I am stuck in an unconscious state.  I want to experience life but it seems to be just passing me by.”

“My life’s worst nightmare.”

“Being diagnosed with a terminal disease, yet no one tends to your dying wishes.”

For the One Going Through Infertility

  • Forgive often.
  • Educate others about infertility.
  • Teach family and friends what to say and how to say it to you.
  • When on medication or going through procedure, be gentle with yourself.
  • It is okay to say ‘no’ to baby showers and children’s birthday parties.
  • Write thank you notes to those who have encouraged you.
  • Try not to be angry with your spouse, yourself or any one else!
  • Confront and let go of your hurts, never hold onto them.
  • Show affection to your spouse; tell them “I love you” daily.
  • Look past the mouths’ of others and into their hearts, most have good intentions at hand.
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