Updated: Jun 22
With infertility affecting around 1 in 7 couples worldwide, it’s likely that someone you know is struggling with this condition. But most people don’t talk about it; that’s a problem for us all.
Perhaps if you haven’t been personally impacted and your family is complete, you question the need to read this article. But here’s why I encourage you to stop what you’re doing and give me five minutes of your time.
That statistic, 1 in 7 couples, could be your friend, daughter, son, niece, nephew, granddaughter, grandson, neighbour or work colleague. Every day they could be suffering in silence dealing with the emotional rollercoaster that infertility takes them on. If that person was someone close to me, I would want them to feel they could reach out and open up to me on their toughest days. I’m sure you would too.
I’ve been on this journey and I’ll be honest, sometimes I didn’t know how I would find the strength to pick myself up again and keep going. Every time I received bad news, suffered loss or went through trauma, a piece of my heart broke. It’s hard to talk about, even now. But we must. I always clung to hope that one day I would hold another baby in my arms, but for some couples that waiting game can be years or even decades. That’s a big ask for even the strongest minded people to deal with.
Couples who are desperately wanting to have a child, feel disappointment and sadness on every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, Christmas, holidays, family gatherings and every child’s birthday party. You get the idea. Children are everywhere, and every corner they turn, every pregnant stomach they see, is a reminder what they are missing out on. The plays in the park, the kisses, the cuddles, the many first milestones, how special all these moments are. And the privilege to guide a small person through life and watch them achieve their potential, there’s nothing quite like it.
I question why there is so much silence surrounding infertility? We talk openly about other diseases, even ones affecting the same body parts, yet this one for some reason remains off-limits. In reality, it’s just another piece of our anatomy that isn’t working properly. But it’s also shrouded in shame. Shame is the lowest vibration of all and a heavy burden for people to carry around each day.
So what can you do to support someone on their infertility journey? I encourage you to reach out. If you don’t know what to say, start with, ‘I’m sorry you’re going through this.’ ‘I may not understand what you’re dealing with but I’m here if you ever want to talk’. ‘I’m sorry for your loss.’ Don’t let embarrassment about the subject be the reason you didn’t offer a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear or a hug (or virtual one) of support.
Support doesn’t need to be outlandish. When I had my first miscarriage and came home from the hospital, I was greeted by a card and a small bunch of flowers on my doorstep. Eleven years later I have never forgotten this moment and how it made me feel. This gesture meant the world to me, it showed me someone was thinking about me and had taken the time to show it.
That’s all any of us want when we are suffering or going through hard times, is to know someone cares about us. The world is in a time of great transition and change right now. Imagine dealing with this and also suffering in silence. Please reach out to those around you, you never know how much this could mean to them.
Sarah Willoughby is an Author, Speaker, Spiritual Mentor and Energy Healer who is passionate about breaking the silence surrounding infertility. Her forthcoming book on her incredible journey to motherhood shares the highs and lows of becoming a mum to her three beautiful children who are her biggest blessings and greatest teachers. If you need support on your infertility journey or would like guidance on how to support someone close to you, please reach out via email firstname.lastname@example.org or book an Infertility Mentorship session at www.sarahwilloughby.com.au