Ways to support a friend dealing with infertility

how to support a friend through infertility or IVF
Mother’s Day this year has taken on a special meaning for me. I’m so, so excited to continue sharing our journey toward parenthood, but I’m also keenly aware of how painful the topic might be to someone struggling with infertility.

I’ve gotten several messages from those of you who have a friend, colleague, or sister – someone close to you going through infertility, and you wanted to know how to support them. I was so inspired by these thoughtful requests, since one of my biggest regrets is not opening up sooner. When I was first going through fertility treatments, I didn’t want to burden others with an uncomfortable topic. I eventually realized that talking about it can help lessen the stigma, and that it actually impacted so many others around me.

I reached out to a few incredible women I know to add their insight to my post – these are women who are currently persisting through different challenges, including multiple IVF or IUI cycles, surrogacy, and unique infertility complications. So today’s post is dedicated not only to moms and expecting moms, but to women who are on the sometimes long and trying road of becoming a mother. I hope these women are constantly reminded that they are strong, patient, resilient – and definitely not alone.

What you can say or do

Closed mouth, open ears
It’s completely okay if you don’t know what to say, as infertility can be a whole different world to those who aren’t living in it. Just being a good listener and a simple, “I’m here for you” goes a long way. Don’t feel the need to rationalize the situation or dive into suggestions (see the bottom of this post), as more often than not, your friend just wants to talk in a judgement and advice-free zone!

“The best thing a friend can do is just listen, offer hugs and coffee dates. And agree that what you are going through sucks.” – Mary

“It helps when people admit they don’t know what to say, but they’re here to help.” – Anna

There are so many highs and lows that can alter your mood, and sometimes you just want your friend to be in that mood with you. Whether it’s you want to be distracted by doing something fun, or just vent about how unfair the world is for an afternoon.” – Rebecca

Offer to drive or go to appointments as support
There’s a laundry list of infertility appointment types that could cause your friend to feel anxious, scared, or down. And for certain procedures like egg retrieval, they actually require that someone you know (no taxis / ubers) drive you home.

Injection help
For someone you are very close to: offer to learn and assist with daily injections, in the event that they might need help. I met several women who self-inject (major hats off to them!), but I personally couldn’t handle it. I was in a ball of panic when Nick had to leave town for work, but my cousin stepped up and filled in, despite her own fear of needles.

Babysitting help
For someone dealing with secondary infertility, offering to help watch her kid(s) could be a huge help with those frequent bloodwork and monitoring appointments, especially since most fertility centers ask you not to bring children.

Understand when a friend chooses to pass on certain events
Depending on where someone is in their process, events such as baby showers or kids birthdays can be emotionally taxing.

Acknowledging losses and setbacks
Infertility losses and setbacks can take on so many different forms. It can be infections or false positives, insufficient quality eggs or embryos, the heartbreaking unsuccessful implantation, or the absolutely crushing miscarriage (no matter how early) – just to name a few.

“It helps to acknowledge that something is a devastating loss to your friend and treat it how you would with any serious loss, like sending a thoughtful note or flowers.”- Rebecca

provence south of france lavender fields

Heartfelt or practical gifts

I don’t think gifts are necessary, but if you feel compelled or if you have a friend who lives far away and want to do something for them, these are some things that would likely be appreciated!

A handwritten card
Don’t underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned handwritten card. Something simple and unprompted, letting your friend know you are thinking of them and there for them!

Pampering or date night
A gift certificate to a nearby nail salon or spa, or a little at-home pamper package can go a long way. Fertility treatments can take an emotional and physical toll, so it’s important to remind your friend to treat herself well.

“It helps to be reminded of the other things in life that I love. For example, an overnight stay at a hotel for a quick staycation, even to get away for just 1 night. Or a date night gift card to a restaurant we love (reminds me of my blessings: my hubby and good food).” – Anna

Home-made treats or cooking
This could be especially helpful after a specific treatment or procedure where your friend may be feeling lethargic or anxious, and cooking is the last thing on her mind. Also for post-embryo implantation during IVF, some wives tales recommend drinking warm fluids to keep the abdomen area circulating – I don’t really believe in these, but a delicious homemade soup delivered to a friend never hurts!

Reminders of hope
We received a small, baby-themed prayer quilt from Nick’s mom, where each square had a knot that was tied by someone with a prayer said for us. I would literally sit at my computer with this wrapped around my shoulders when I needed comfort.

“Something small but meaningful, such as jewelry with inspirational words like “keep going” or “you’ve got this.” – Anna

A cozy care package (in maybe a size up!)
Everyone’s body is different, but it’s very common to gain weight (~10 lbs or more) from infertility hormones and be extremely bloated after certain procedures. The weight gain can be a sucker punch for some ladies who are already feeling down about their bodies. A package with a cozy cardigan, stretchy leggings, plus maybe a book or movie (sent via an itunes/Amazon/Google play credit) will likely get a lot of use!

provence france sunflower fields

What not to say

I know mostly everyone means well, but there are some common things people say that have a tendency to send women going through infertility into a hormone-laden rage. I think the recurring theme with all these is simply remembering that everyone’s experience is different and unique to them, and you don’t know everything they may have tried or gone through already. 

Just relax and don’t think about it. It happened to so and so!”

“Have you tried acupuncture, no more working out, gaining / losing weight, putting your legs up after sex, bla bla bla? So and so tried it and got pregnant right away!”

“It just wasn’t meant to be.”  “Each failed attempt is a reset on your emotions and how much you can handle. While I do strongly believe that there is a reason for everything, comments like this can make me feel as if motherhood was not meant for me.” – Mary

“You’re still young! You have a lot of time left to get pregnant.”

“Have you thought about adoption?” This is a deep and personal decision. I know the intentions behind this are good, but a woman should not be made to feel selfish for wanting to have biological children.

“You work too much / your career is too demanding! Of course it won’t work.”

“Have you tried these Asian fertility supplements?” (that happen to look like chopped, dried up genitalia)

“You’re lucky you don’t have kids. You can have one of ours!”

I’d love to hear what other women -who’ve been through their own unique experiences- have found to be helpful. Please share with us in the comments! 

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  1. GinaC. wrote:

    Thoughts and prayers for you and Nick. A quiet, humble heart is what’s best in these situations when being there for a friend/loved one. My husband and I had a couple miscarriages when we were first married 15 years ago. Our OB doctor sent us a card with a tiny gold ring attached expressing her sympathies. It meant a lot. 💕

    Posted 5.14.18 Reply
  2. Kate wrote:

    “Have you thought about adoption?” This is a deep and personal decision. I know the intentions behind this are good, but a woman should not be made to feel selfish for wanting to have biological children.”

    I don’t think it is fair to construe this comment as “making” a woman feel selfish for wanting biological children, any more than it would be fair to consteue your extended posts seeking support on your IVF journey as “making” adopted readers feel bad/like a last resort.

    I used to voice my desire to adopt a child openly, but have learned not to do so. Many people are extremely discouraging of adoption, some even stating that an adopted child would be “less than” my biological son. I’m sure there are many other women who pursue both avenues, but feel uncomfortable raising the issue of adoption for precisely this reason.

    As long as the questioner intends to be supportive of any answer, I see no problem with the question. It might open the door to a meaningful discussion that wouldn’t occur otherwise.

    Posted 5.14.18 Reply
    • K wrote:

      I think adoption is a personal choice. But I will just comment that when people ask me about adoption when I am going through an IVF cycle, I’ve found it very hurtful as it comes across to me that my friend or family member doubts that my effort to get pregnant will be successful. I’d also add that most women know about adoption, but some are not ready to pursue that option just yet if they are doing IVF. My two cents is that, if you have a friend experiencing infertility, wait for her to bring up adoption instead of you bringing that up. Even with the best friend intentions, it should be a topic that comes from the person experiencing infertility (not the other way around) unless your friend asks for what your thoughts on adoption are.

      Posted 5.16.18 Reply
    • SW wrote:

      My “issue” with the question of adoption at times (if I can even call it that) is that I think it’s used too much as a secondary option, like a second best. Kids need to be wanted whether their are biological or adopted. I didn’t have problems conceiving my first and I would love to adopt a child if we ever have the financial means to do so.
      You are right though, people are often negative about other people’s choices which amazes me not in a positive way.

      Posted 6.5.18 Reply
  3. Laura wrote:

    I just love this post! Every families journey is so different, and it’s awesome to see so many women sharing different perspectives. I am a Mommy to a baby in heaven, and honestly one of the most touching things that have happened the past two years is that a friend of mine always remembers. She is the only person who sends me a “Happy Mothers Day” text, and she always writes beautiful things about her hope and prayer for me. Just knowing that my baby wasn’t forgotten means so much because it’s something I deal with everyday. The “invisible pain”.
    Thanks for sharing this lovely post with great insight and ideas to help foster good communication about all types of families journeys!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  4. JustPetite wrote:

    Hello Jean,

    Thank you so much for your touching and timely post; so many couples struggle with this issue. You are so gracious, poised and inspirational: Nick is a lucky man and your wee one is so blessed to soon look up to you and call you Mom.

    As a woman who’s been through some turbulent times and now happily married to Mr. Wonderful, I looked into fertility treatments a year ago and we ultimately decided that the risks (we’re in our 40s) just weren’t worth the low chance of “success”. We’d recently come to the resignation that having children of our own wasn’t going to be in our future…and that we’d just focus on our niece/nephew and other kids in our lives. As life would have it, I’d just communicated this to my MD at my last physical when we decided to do a test to rule out pregnancy for a late cycle (she agreed that it was likely changing hormones at my age). Turns out, we’re a little over 7 weeks along!

    As we progress through our own high-risk journey, I will be especially mindful of others who quietly struggle with infertility, miscarriage, and other challenges that all too often accompany the deep desire to have a child of one’s own. Thank you again for your inspiration, Jean! XOXOXO

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  5. Briana wrote:

    What a sweet, helpful post for the holiday!


    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  6. Jooyoung wrote:


    Thank you for this post. You should be celebrating it as an expected momma but here you are again being so thoughtful for others who are not yet there yet.

    For those like me that’s still struggling, the thought that at least someone is looking out for us is pretty awesome.

    Thank you again! And Happy Mothers Day!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  7. Lisa wrote:

    Hi Jean, you are so lovely. I thought this post was just perfect and will probably share on FB, as i have a few friends who are experiencing infertility issues or secondary infertility. Wishing you all the best on your pregnancy.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  8. Jennifer ly wrote:

    This is the most considerate and helpful post about fertility I’ve ever read, thank you.
    My husband and I have been trying for over 10 years, married 12. Trust me, I’ve heard it all. Now, all I can say to family n friends is “we r trying”.

    I have unexplained fertility. I started my first round of treatment at 34, thinking I still had time but at the time, 2012, nope, only 2% of conciving on our own, since we had been trying for 5 years without assistance. Crazy right? I don’t drink or smoke, I keep myself healthy…. Plus, it didnt help that there were not as many resources online compared to now. Most of the fertility clinics just want to sell you on the ivf packages and their success rates. I finally found a doc that was willing to run tests and find a cause before condenming me to IVF. After 3 rounds of meds and IUI, i needed a break. It was just too much emotionally.

    Last year, we tried again and found out the cost of ivf had just gone up by 10K. Crazy right? It’s only been 5 years. Another 2 rounds of IUI plus injections, and one full round of ivf. We had great results until we got the part where we did generic testing. I was 39, so we opted for that and all 7 of my embryos were not viable. Extremely devastated, I even told my husband I wanted to give up. I even saught a second opinion overseas. Nothing helpful.

    I hope that more women are willing to sgare their stories. I’m fortunate to have a best friend that was there for me, including my anazing husband. 😁 I’m starting another round of ivf this month. I’m 40 now but i am not giving up. We found a new doc and a new plan. I’m hopeful! I’m happy I shared my ivf journey and I’m so glad u posted this. It will help many people. Turns out, many many of our friends and friends of friends are going thru the same thing.

    I hope that as women, we can come together and support eachother, without judgement and shame.
    Jean, thanks to brave women like you, giving hope to the rest of us, I don’t feel alone. 😁❤ Thank you for ur post. You are such an amazing woman. I’m am soooooo happy for you. Truly. Plus, u look great even preggers.

    I am so glad u are using ur platform to help others. Your baby is lucky to have you.
    Thanks again for sharing. Ps, you and ur hubby are so cute! 😁❤

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  9. Wenny wrote:

    Thank you for this post. As a woman who was struggling with infertility (IUI and IVF), I was heartbroken when I decided to share my struggle with a good friend. My husband’s sperm quality was poor so doctor told us that IVF is the only route. My good friend’s comment at the time was: “well it only takes 1 sperm to get pregnant”. I was appalled that she would make such comment.
    I did not let that negative comment affect me. I am happy to say that I am 7 weeks pregnant now thru IVF FET. ❤️❤️❤️

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  10. eun wrote:

    Wonderful post. Thank you for this. Listening is the best thing in my opinion that we can all do. Sometimes the need to fix and desire to help someone feel better makes us feel like we must say something but I tell you listening is the best gift one can give to someone going through infertility. Today, I celebrate my little miracle and I’m grateful however, I’m thinking also of those who are still struggling and those who were never able to realize their dream.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  11. Mollie wrote:

    Thank you for giving advice for how to support a friend…I am starting IVF in June and the last few months have been emotionally taxing with the hormones, blood work, tests and ultrasounds. My closest friends have made comments genuinely trying to help but we’re pretty offensive. I know this will help so many others!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  12. KR wrote:

    Thank you Jean. I read your blog often (I actually found out about your blog from a supportive friend who knew I was going through infertility and sent me one of your prior posts for comfort) and I appreciate you opening up about this issue. I’m going through my third IVF cycle. One was not successful and the other resulted in miscarriage. Reading this post gave me a lot of comfort and hope. Thank you for being a source of hope for women going through this and for opening up about your journey. You provide a level of authenticity and openness that is so helpful for women from all walks of life.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  13. Ruth wrote:

    Hi Jean, thank you for such a wonderful post. I myself am going through an infertility journey. After several months of trying, 3 rounds of failed IUI, my husband and I are preparing for IVF. I didn’t think I was emotionally struggling with infertility but during unexpected moments, I am overcome with sadness, anticipation, fear, and excitement all at the same time. I hope I can be a sensitive and supportive friend to others going through the same struggle.

    Hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well!!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  14. Thank you so much for sharing this beautifully written post, Jean. I know some friends who are going through infertility, and I know this post means so much to them, just knowing that others can understand and empathize with them. Thank you again, Jean, and Happy Mother’s Day to you <3

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    Most of you what you say is Common Sense I dont think readers need a reminder.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  16. Courtney wrote:

    Hi Jean, thank you so much for the timely and thoughtful post! Infertility struggles are far too rarely addressed in the blog/Instagram/influencer universe, and I really appreciate your honesty in tackling the subject. Thank you for speaking out about both the helpful and not-so-helpful ways to relate to those struggling with infertility. My husband and I have been struggling with unexplained infertility for the past two years, and I’m very blessed to have a supportive mom and mother-in-law through the process. I completely agree with all of your suggestions, particularly about listening w/o suggestions and acknowledging how difficult (i.e. deeply emotionally painful) the process is. Congrats on your little one and thank you for reaching out to help women/families struggling with infertility!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  17. Ae wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your motherhood journey publicly. I’m reading while enjoying breakfast in bed that my husband and 2 kids brought up and am tearing up with thankfulness and empathy for you and all women who struggled with infertility. I had no trouble conceiving but I miscarried 3 times: once before my oldest child and twice before my second. The most soothing words of comfort came from my sister who acknowledged that I was a Mother despite losing it so early in pregnancy. The worse came from my my best friend who was going through her own personal issues. She wasn’t in the state of mind to be there for me and I realized it by her very odd comments like: “it’s better that it died early because it was genetically unviable anyway.” Also, don’t be surprised if your partner isn’t reacting/supporting you the way you need them too. I have a loving husband and he’s an amazing Dad who co-parents amazingly but during that time of miscarriages, he was like another person. Aloof, indifferent, a complete ahole. During my 3rd miscarriage, I was physically cramping and miscarrying our child in the bathroom next door while he played on the computer. Despite me telling him that I was miscarrying. If we didn’t already have a child together, I would have left him. Our marriage was really rocky for a while. Later on, we realized that retreating like this was his method of dealing with the losses. He just didn’t want to get attached only to lose it again. He’s redeemed himself since. I’m glad I didn’t make any rash decisions in the heat of emotional and hormonal turmoil. Best of luck to you and to all the woman out there!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  18. Jo wrote:

    Thanks for this. Hope you don’t mind that I shared it on social media.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  19. Lauren wrote:

    What a thoughtful post. I also found it very freeing and helpful to open up to friends and family that my husband and I did IVF. I think it helped to “normalize” the process. I also think it was good for him too – he heard from many of our male friends that they had infertility also and didn’t mzkd him feel alone. I really thought your post was lovely. Thanks

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  20. Sandy wrote:

    Thank you Jean! I’m not yet ready to share my struggles with friends and family yet but it’s comforting to read this post nonetheless.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  21. ls wrote:

    thanks for sharing & for helping us be better friends to each other. 🙂

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  22. Luz wrote:

    Thank you for think of us, trying-to-be Mothers, on this special day and Happy Mother’s day to you Jean!

    There are so many events such as baby announcements, baby showers, gender reveal parties, baptisms, and kids birthdays that I’ve stopped going to, during our continued infertility journey, exclusively for self-care.

    Self-care is extremely important and more so during difficult trials. We must do as it’s best for our heart. I truly hope my friends and family understand that I am happy for them but incredibly sad for me.

    Through our jouney, I’ve always struggled with the “Just relax!” advise or a dear friend trying to get me to therapy. I know she means well, but sometimes all the therapy we need is a warm cup of tea and to curl up in a prayer blanket – What a wonderful gift!

    Today, I celebrate all my fellow, hard-trying-to-be-Mammas on this day and every day – May we never give up!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  23. Smyle wrote:

    Dear Jean

    We have been on your journey (3 years) and had made the commitment that if we were not to have children we would clebrate life in other ways. We celebrate with you and your family as we were eventually equally blessed but I do think that sometimes we place ourselves under too much pressure to meet societal norms. So my message is always to be kind to yourselves and each other; being childless is not the worst thing that can happen to a couple especially given the cruelty that exists in the world so it is important to celebrate the blessings that we do have and to give back to those that are less fortunate.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  24. Grace wrote:

    I think it’s also important to acknowledge that there are many paths to motherhood, including egg donation, which unfortunately still has so much negative stigma. Especially when infertility may be related to age, the constant encouragement and optimism to explore every option is a boost on what is often a long journey. A close friend of mine underwent many IUIs, IVF treatments over the course of 7 years. We kept telling her, “you can do this”, “that didn’t work so at least your team now knows to try a different protocol”, “IVF sucks”, “we’re here for you for however many times you want to try”, “don’t give up”, “everything will be okay, you are strong”. Her final attempt at IVF via egg donation was a success at 44yrs old. We are all over the moon happy for her. It is 100% her baby, blood, sweat, love and tears.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  25. Stephanie wrote:

    Jean, I’m overjoyed that you (and Nick) will be celebrating your first Mother’s Day in 2019! And, thank you for opening up the dialogue regarding infertiity and starting a family. We went down the same path but decided to travel to China to bring home our daughter. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “an invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of the time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.” Your child was destined for you just as our daughter was meant for us to be together. This is the thought that kept running through our minds as we first held our daughter (on Father’s Day!), laughed as she took her first steps (on my birthday!), and watched her mature into a young woman ready to graduate high school and leave for college in the Fall. If we became pregnant before going to China or our adoption dossier was submitted earlier or delayed in Beijing, we never would have met our daughter or had the adventure of being her parents. Families are miracles however they occur. Stephanie

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  26. Michael wrote:

    Thank-you for such a powerful post, Jean. This is so important!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  27. Stacey T. wrote:

    Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mommas and mommas-to-be! During my struggle with infertility, I found out that the best gift that i could give myself is to open up and talk about it. There’s such a stigma attached and I was scared to tell anyone. But I discovered that there are a lot of other women within my circle of friends who are or went through the same thing. To share my struggle to get pregnant, my many doctor visits and all of the shots I had to take was a relief. And I found out that I could pass along the favor when other friends started on the same path. I told them about not knowing which medications I had to pick up when, talking about being more of an advocate for myself at the infertility office and how I eventually got over giving myself shots (because I had to focus on the hopeful end result and listening to Hawaiian reggae music helped). Good thoughts and hugs to all of you on your path to motherhood! ❤️

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  28. Archana wrote:

    Beautiful post Jean! And so apt for Mothers day. I’m sure you guys will be such loving parents.

    I’ve come across many people who just don’t get how emotionally draining the infertility journey is. I’ve heard free advice like ‘try avoiding soy products/foods’ – Do you think I haven’t tried every diet possible that could help? And then ‘lose weight’ when I’m actually at my healthy weight already. Ugh. People just cannot mind their own business.
    I have been on this journey for several years now. After 3 IUIs and 3 IVFs that were unsuccessful, we have made peace with the fact that we may never become parents. We may go with adoption in future. For now, it is what it is and we are fine with it. My heart goes out to all the women and couples going through infertility.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  29. Jen in NM wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this, Jean. I myself haven’t dealt with infertility, but I do know from experience that everyone should have a list of things to say and things to refrain from saying in their back pocket when talking to someone who, as you wrote, is in a whole different world than them at the moment. This reminds me of a similar page I came across while waiting to adopt – things not to say to someone adopting, but which I’d already heard at that point! Give your growing midsection a pat and a hello from all of us who don’t know you personally, but who are absolutely thrilled for you and Nick anyway.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  30. Kelly Hice wrote:

    Happy Mother’s Day!
    This is an excellent reminder and one everyone should be considerate about. I’m super happy for you and your journey! Enjoy your day & pregnancy!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  31. Lynn Gilbert wrote:

    Jean, thank you. I so needed the practical tips. I have 7 adult children. My 3rd and his wife have faced 2.5 years of infertility, resulting in 2 miscarriages, nothing else. Of course, it’s very difficult for them to talk to me, considering the contrast.
    Thank you for the What Not to Say. In trying to be encouraging, we can be so shallow. Only people like you and your friends, who are on the inside, can help the rest of us avoid hurtful words.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Juliet wrote:

      The most hurtful part of this process for me and my spouse is that our mother’s do not check in on us. In my experience you should not be afraid to ask a family member or friend how they are doing. They will let you know if they would prefer not to talk but most likely they are waiting for listening ears. I rally appreciation when people keep checking in on me. I do no like to be the “Debbie Downer” so never initiate fertility conversations.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • A.M. wrote:

      Lynn, I just want to share that it was much easier for me to talk about my infertility with my friends than anyone in my family. I just feel like I’ve failed them and I’m ashamed that I could not give them grandchildren. My parents and in-laws do not know our struggles, and we’re lucky to have had success with fertility treatments. So just be there if they need you, but don’t push the subject because they may just prefer leaning on other people for support.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  32. Daisy Luong wrote:

    Thank you for this valuable post. One of the first things a good friend/family member should do is acknowledge and respect the privacy of the couple going through infertility. Asking questions puts the person in a position where they have to shut down the topic. If they want to share, they will share when and how they are ready.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  33. This is really, really helpful, Jean. It’s so important to be sensitive on Mother’s Day for many reasons, and infertility is one of the big ones, being such a common issue nowadays. I really hope this post helps someone in need. And happy Mother’s Day! 🙂

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  34. Anonymous wrote:

    Thank you for this! While I was sitting nervously waiting for my egg retrieval months ago I read your post with your pregnancy announcement and it gave me so much hope!!! I am now 10 weeks and reading your posts have continued to give me hope and strength. Thank you

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  35. Terry T. wrote:

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us. When I was diagnosed with infertility, I couldn’t grasp the idea thinking, “this can’t be right…why me…”and such. All my friends (and I mean 5 girls out of our 9 girls clique) all got pregnant at the same time while I’m off to the side sobbing that I’m not one of them. Nevertheless, I underwent 2 surguries (1st one to remove fibrioids and polyups then to discovered my Fallopian tubes were diseased, and the 2nd to remove my tubes because the backflow fluid is toxic to any potential pregnancies. My first round of IVF didn’t take and I felt so naive to think it would’ve worked just like that. My 2nd round took but at the 8 weeeks appointment it was discovered that it was a blighted ovum, then 3rd Ivf was a chemical pregnancy. I felt so cheated. Then finally the 4th IVF gave us our beautiful daughter. This might have been TMI for a response to your post, but I wanted to share that yes, we are resilient. My best friend gave me words of encouragement throughout my journey, reminding me to never give up. And I didn’t. This year is my first Mother’s Day and I’m so grateful that I can share my story with you.

    On a side note, I made a silly unicorn card for a friend that had her first failed IUI to remind her to not be discouraged. Sometimes we have to go through the extra steps to get to the same place others get so easily, but that’s what makes our journey so much more unique and precious. She later went on to IVF and successfully conceived a baby girl.

    Happy first of many Mother’s Day to you, Jean. And thank you for reminding me of how special my journey was.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • TM wrote:

      Your response to Jean’s post really resonated with me. I have a friend who is going through a very tough time trying to conceive and I don’t know what to say to comfort her anymore, except just listen. I’ll continue to support her and hope that she will be blessed with a child as you were!

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  36. Jessica wrote:

    Please never say to someone who has misscarried, “God works in mysterious ways”or “God knows when you’re ready” or “God will give you a baby when the time is right”. We’ve had three miscarriages and though I know people were well intentioned when they said these things- these comments were so incredibly hurtful to us. Thanks for this posting.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Nancy wrote:

      I completely agree with this comment. I have a friend struggling with infertility and a mutual friend is always saying things of this nature. And the worst part is, the gal she is saying it too is not religious at all and I can see her discomfort when this friend says these types of things to her! This same friend says similar things when anyone from our group is having health problems, relationship problems, etc. and those of us who are not very religious, don’t know how to respond. At least now, thanks to this post, my girlfriends and I will be able to be more supportive to our friend during this difficult time. Thanks so much!

      Posted 5.27.18 Reply
  37. What a thoughtful blogpost Jean. I do have a dear friend who has struggled for a long time with infertility and it has impacted our friendship. She has missed quite some of the highlights in my life with my children, because it was too much for her. I always understood and supported her decisions and she knows this. Yet, I must admit that I also missed her dearly on these occasions, since she is such a special and dear person in my life. I think mutual respect for each other’s feelings and actions is what good friendships mean. Add some thoughtful small gestures and you have a exceptionally good friendship, that you should cherish and nourish, since they are seldom and something to be grateful for.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • ES wrote:

      I too have a very dear friend going through infertility and has missed some important things in my life because I have kids. I know exactly what you mean. I’m there to support but at the same time she isn’t very open with me. Took her 4 years to tell me she was trying for a baby. She’s a different person now and maybe I am too. I just miss my friend. I almost feel like someone died or something cause it’s just not the same to be around her. I hope one day we can find our friendship again. Until then I offer support when she needs it.

      Jean, thank you for share all that you have been going through. I have been searching for a post like this for a long time. I just never know what to say to my friend and I just always feel i say the wrong thing all the time. But I know now that I have been doing to best I can for her and that is just to support her. I never tell her but I’m always saving my bday wishes or any kind of hope that I have just for her to one day have a baby. I wish I could do more.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  38. Shenu wrote:

    Amazing post Jean! ❤️ My sister is going through this and will soon start IVF and your post helps a lot.. and gives me hope! Thank you.. Happy Mother’s Day!! ☺️

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  39. Lili wrote:

    On a different note please consider your friends who chose not to have kids for some reason as well. I was never in a condition to have kids. My husband and I dont have any family that can give us support. We both have to work and we simply were never in a situation to add kids to the equation.

    All my life I heard from friends and extended family the same things: when will you have a kid? At least have one. You will want when you turn 30…40…You will regret it all your life. You will die alone. What will you do when you are old?…List goes on and on and on and on.

    This is equally frustrating for women who dont have kids for whatever reason. People should mind their own business and not give unsolicited advice.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  40. Christine wrote:

    Wow I hope “no” never leaves another comment or comes back to read your posts. Some people feel the need to criticize and bring down. She belongs with the Facebook comment crazies. These are excellent suggestions from someone who personally knows what they are talking about so thank you for sharing.

    For some of us who, when depressed or have been given large lemons on a situational plate of time, we sometimes practice certain things that perpetuate our stress and unhappiness. Like forgoing loving yourself. “What’s the point?” “Why spend money?” “All I can think about it my unhappiness” “I don’t have time for that” but then a patient of mine gave me a sweet gift certificate to a mani pedi. And I actually made the time to schedule it. I enjoyed it. And then my nails were gorgeous. I drive my car and my nails are pretty in front of my face. My ring seems a little nicer. Things seem a little rosier. And then I sat down and made a list of all the things I could do to help my situation. And I didn’t think so hard about the things I couldn’t change. And I’m now crossing my to do list off one by one. If I think hard could I still be depressed? Yeah probably. But I’m a little busier not thinking about that right now. And I feel a little joy crossing off one thing on that list every time I can.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  41. A.M. wrote:

    Jean, I want to thank you again for writing this and sharing your struggles with all of us. You are so brave. I’ve been on this journey for 5-6 years but still mostly keep it to myself, only a few of my close girl friends know how we conceived.

    Another thing I found helpful was connecting with women going through infertility online. When we tried to conceive our first child I didn’t know anyone with fertility issues and I found the online community on the Bump very helpful and supportive. 2 years ago I finally met someone who was new to our neighborhood with fertility issues and we instantly became close friends!

    Happy mother’s day to you Jean. I can’t wait for you to experience motherhood because it is one of the gifts ever. Enjoy your day!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  42. K wrote:

    Applauding you for this – I too wish I had shared more but I’m really private and had trouble getting past the feeling of burdening others. This is something I’m working on now. I’m 12 weeks pregnant through IVF/donor egg and am enjoying your maternity posts. But also love that you are still acknowledging your path and being sensitive to others, I know how important it is to not feel alone.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  43. La Bijoux Bella | by mia wrote:

    This year will be the happiest year … welcoming your first child, through all the obstacles and ups and downs your determination and hope shines through.
    May God continue to bless all the happiness and sprinkles lots of joys on this special Mother’s Day for you! 🌷👍🏼🌷
    Happy Nother’s Day!


    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  44. K wrote:

    Thanks Jean for this post! I am going through this more often now. I am single, but two of my friends came to see me to talk about it. As you said already, I didn’t know what to say. However, I was amazed by their courage to speak up, so I listened.
    I find it especially hard when it is a male friend. We have the tendency to believe that the burden is on the woman’s side, but to hear about the man’s feelings about it makes me realize men don’t have much support. Anyway, I am glad that my male friend has the courage to open up early on his infertility treatments. Asians tend to not discuss about our feelings or medical issues, so it is refreshing to see someone changing things up.
    Thanks for your courage!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Loved reading your perspective, K! I can’t imagine how little support men have throughout this process. Your friends are very lucky to have you as someone they trust and feel comfortable talking about this with.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  45. Erica wrote:

    Me and my husband started trying for a baby last year and to our surprise I feel pregnant within 2 months. Around 8 weeks, 2 days after xmas last yesr, we had our first appointment with the Obstetrician and it was my husbands first time that he would see the baby or the heartbeat. when she did a scan their was no heartbeat and she confirmed that it was a missed miscarriage.
    I remember sitting in her room and trying to make sense of what had happened and blaming myself that maybe I did something wrong that it happened. Their are times I still think about it during the day.
    I myself being a doctor have seen so many women suffering from infertility or having had miscarriages and know that the these things happen sometimes for no reason at all and no one is to be blamed.
    Lately, I had a young mum who had fallen pregnant and last week she was telling me that she will break the good news to her mum and mum in-law at mothers day. Listening to her, I was so happy for her. But after she left, I was sad as neither was I pregnant nor Is my mom alive.
    But, life goes on!!!

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’m so sorry for your loss, Erica. I’m sure as a doctor you must see all sorts of situations but it doesn’t take away from the pain or senseless feeling of what happened to you.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  46. Sue wrote:

    Great ideas, I thank you for them. I received a card from a friend after a loss and it was so unexpected but meant the world. No one sends cards anymore… and they should.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      A handwritten card in the mail is amazing in this day and age. I am sorry to hear about your loss, Sue. xx

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  47. Beth wrote:

    Wow, the blanket you and Nick got- that brought me to tears. What an amazing wonderful gift. And I’m sitting here thinking about how it could be a gift for a friend going through other hardships as well.

    Love your blog! Happy ‘First’ Mother’s Day to you! I’ve loved following your journey. <3

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Beth – it truly was. Sometimes just a small reminder that someone else has been thinking of you and shares hope for you goes a long way. I had first received one many years ago for my sick grandmother, and our family appreciated it so much!

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  48. Kelsey wrote:

    I miscarried my first and one of the most hurtful comments was from a from that said, “wow, you were almost a mother!” She meant it to be a compliment, since she was a bit older with three kids but I feel that motherhood starts at conception so I felt that she was denying the fact that I already was a mother, who had lost a child I never got to meet. It took a while to forgive her in my heart and move past that since she was the only one I ever told for years.

    Another friend suffered a miscarriage so I bought her a little ornament for her Christmas tree with the baby’s birthstone that said “our little angel.” She had only known a week before she miscarried so I wanted her to have something tangible to remember the baby that lived for such a short time.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Kelsey – that must have been incredibly tough. And esp. when it’s one of the first/few people who you open up to and they do mean well. That’s very sweet what you did for your friend.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  49. Eleanor wrote:

    So perfect. We had secondary infertility and the best friends just had a listening ear. Many offered to watch my daughter when we had treatments, and when I was in the two week wait, a friend (also had done IVF) dragged me on a hike to get my mind off of things. She said “nothing you do now, next to college levels of binge drinking, can affect the outcome. Come walk with me.” That hike will always be a cherished memory.

    My husband turned out to have major needle fobia so I was on my own for injections. Totally fine but I had two friends offer to come over if needed to give shots. Who does that?? They’re amazing.

    Last, both my siblings were adopted and were surprised I chose the medical route. They never talked to me aboit it, never even acknowledged it… that stung. Even if you don’t “get it” just offer support. I never felt so alone when I thought they didn’t care. They love my son now but I wish we’d talked more.

    Happy mother’s day to all… you are all thought of today.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      Hi Eleanor – thank you so much for sharing. Happy Mother’s Day to you! xx

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
  50. no wrote:

    “A gift certificate to a nearby nail salon”

    Do they not use some very toxic chemicals with nail treatments? Going to one is not a good idea for anyone, let alone someone trying to get pregnant.

    Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

      I’m disappointed that out of this entire post, that’s the thing you wanted to focus on.

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
      • As usual Jean, you are the epitomy of grace and class…!

        Posted 5.13.18 Reply
      • Carol wrote:

        Perfect response!

        Posted 5.13.18 Reply
      • no wrote:

        Wow. Shoot the messenger, why don’t you? I meant the comment in a positive, caring way – those chemicals factually are not healthy.

        I must say now I’m disappointed with you, Jean, and that’s something I would not have seen coming. I am inclined to think though that there might be some cultural differences here in a way of expressing oneself. I understand in the US people tend to prefer overly positive talk so I should have wrapped the warning in a whirl of encouraging words to suit that sort of taste.

        Posted 5.13.18 Reply
        • Jean | Extra Petite wrote:

          Going to close out this side thread, as there’s been several more comments on this I’d rather not publish so we can redirect to some of the other themes! To “no” – I’m a little flabbergasted at your last one to me. I don’t edit your comments. I did delete the last one so we can hopefully agree to disagree and move on!

          Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Lauren wrote:

      So sad to see the very first comment to such a positive, heartfelt post is filled with negativity. As someone who has experienced infertility and secondary infertility and had regular manicures and pedicures throughout my treatments and both subsequent pregnancies, I find your comment ridiculous. This suggestion of a gift card to a struggling friend is a great one, and so are all the others! 😊

      Love this post. I know this struggle all too well, and I want to offer hope to all the ladies out there hoping and praying. I had my first through iui, second through ivf, and now am expecting a third little miracle via a spontaneous pregnancy. So as hard as it is, and as cliche as it sounds you can’t give up!!

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Ani wrote:

      Many pedicures, manicured, facials are safe. There’s little evidence to support this claim you have made.

      Thank you Jean for a helpful post!

      Posted 5.13.18 Reply
    • Ina wrote:

      I agree —such a great and thoughtful post, and the only comment this person focused on was this. Disappointing and unnecessarily critical. Thanks, Jean, for this post. I’ve often felt unsure how to beat comfort someone battling infertility (men as well) and this was very helpful.

      Posted 5.14.18 Reply
    • Debra Allen Hasslochr wrote:

      To “NO” – Just to let you know, I understand what you are saying and you are so right… unfortunately these people too closed minded too sensitive & narcissistic to think of the unborn child as long as they look good.

      Posted 5.14.18 Reply
      • Laura wrote:

        Debra, there’s nothing wrong with some self love to pamper yourself especially when going through such an emotionally draining process. There’s plenty of nail salons that use safer chemicals and have great ventilation so that this is a nonissue anyway. Stop being a such a jerk.

        Anyway, Jean, I’ll be honest, it’s been hard to follow your instagram and blog and seeing your pregnancy grow. I’m so happy for you, especially since you were so open about your struggles. I haven’t been as lucky and while I find
        comfort in more and more people talking about their struggles, I still feel so alone because everyone I know who struggled has now become pregnant. Thank you for still discussing this topic and suggesting how people can be more supportive. You’ve got such a wonderful heart.

        Posted 5.17.18 Reply
      • Jenny wrote:

        This is such an ugly thing to say, not to mention scientifically wrong. Every doctor will tell you it’s fine to have a manicure while pregnant or trying to get pregnant. I’m not sure why I’m spending time replying to this comment, but it seems very wrong to spread incorrect information in the comments of a post read by many women who are trying to get pregnant. (Great post, Jean.)

        Posted 5.20.18 Reply
    • Nancy wrote:

      I didn’t find this comment offensive at all. But, perhaps NO could have prefaced it with: “Love this post, but….” so as not to step on anyone’s toes. I myself won’t paint my nails with anything other than the “natural” nail polishes made for kids after a friend (who regularly painted her nails with traditional polish) developed cancer under one nail and had to have part of that portion of her finger removed. Her doctor told her that, indeed, the cancer could have been caused by her polish, as chemicals from these can leach through the nail.

      Posted 5.27.18 Reply

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