3 Ways to Support Someone Longing to Be a Mom
By Evan Page
It’s a mind-boggling statistic, but it’s a real one. About one in every six couples are struggling with infertility, and with Mother’s Day just around the corner, here are three gestures you can make to be an encouragement to friends and family who are longing for motherhood:
1. Let them lead.
Nothing is worse than someone pressing an issue that you aren’t ready or willing to talk about. The struggle of infertility and loss through miscarriage is a challenging one, and it is extremely unique to each individual. Allow your friends or family members who are on this journey to lead the conversations when they are ready. If they share something difficult, grieve with them. If they share something exciting, rejoice with them. In general, it is a smart practice to refrain from bringing up “family planning” of any kind, especially in a group setting. Couples who do have children aren’t excluded from the possibility of infertility or miscarriage either; so, in short, let each couple share as they see fit and be willing to respect their journey.
2. Be encouraging.
It’s natural when someone is sharing something difficult to want to relate, but phrases such as “I know exactly what you’re going through,” or “When the time is right, it will happen,” are not comforting. In fact, they can be taken the exact opposite way and make someone feel insignificant. It is also important that you don’t try to “problem solve” for them. Any suggestions that you may have for them are best kept to yourself unless someone specifically asks you for your input or advice. Even then, being aware that each story is unique gives you a great opportunity to ask what you can do to show that you’re invested in her story and you care.
3. Be sensitive.
With the rate of infertility and miscarriage, it is extremely likely that you or someone you know is going through some form of struggle. Being sensitive doesn’t mean that you don’t talk about pregnancy or the realities of parenting, but it does mean that you should be aware of your audience and the way you talk about those subjects. It’s not necessarily beneficial to awkwardly avoid those topics altogether either. By all means be open and honest, but be prepared to add to the conversation with other topics and questions as well. Complaints about what you are currently going through with parenting or pregnancy are not sensitive ways in caring for someone who longs for that stage of life. Never underestimate the power of an apology if you think you may have said or done something that may have hurt a loved one.
Being aware of the uniqueness and challenges that come with infertility and miscarriage are great starting points to caring for those who are in a hard season of life. The emotional, mental, spiritual and physical toll it creates are very real and often overwhelming. You can make a difference by educating yourself and being supportive to those who need it. No story is ever the same, and every story is always significant.
Evan Page lives in Hilton Head Island with her husband, Stephen, and her two boys, Merrick (3) and Wake (2), and they are expecting their third baby in August. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and most of her days are filled trying to capture adventures with her children on camera.