Friends are there for all the exciting milestones in someone’s life – a promotion at work, a first date, buying a home, a wedding – but it’s equally important that friends are for the challenging moments, as well. Sometimes, TTC can be one of those moments.
Take a moment to think of the friends in your life, and how their love and support benefit you during your TTC journey. It’s likely that your friendship has the same positive impact on their conception journey, as well. If you’re looking for ways to be there for a loved one who is TTC, it can be as simple as sending a thoughtful text or hand-written letter, giving them a call to say hi, or sharing a nice photo on social media. Not only will it make them smile, but it may lead to a conversation, in which the both of you can open up to one another. Below, we’re diving into the benefits of friendship during a conception journey, as well as sharing the ways that you can support others during theirs.
The Power of Friendship
Friendship is a symbiotic relationship – one where both parties rely on each other for emotional and physical support. In a close friendship, you should be able to provide and receive an improvement of self-worth, support during challenging events, a reduction in stress responses, and more. An empathetic friend can ultimately make a significant difference when going through a tough time.
In addition, when surrounded by loved ones, people are more apt to participate in physical activities. Whether it’s going for a walk by the water, enjoying a bike ride through the woods, or trying a new workout together (ever heard of trampoline barre classes?), you are working your body to lower inflammation levels, heighten levels of oxytocin, and more – which can be helpful in a fertility journey. TTC can be a stressful time, so allowing yourself to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of friendship can be a nice reprieve.
The Journey to Parenthood
Trying to start or grow a family can sometimes feel like an emotional roller coaster. Whether you’re the one who is TTC or it’s your best friend (or both of you!), know that it’s normal to experience a wide range of feelings during this time. In the United States, approximately 10% or 6.1 million women have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. Globally, one in six people are impacted by infertility. It can cause substantial distress, stigma, and financial hardship, all of which impact mental and psychosocial well-being. Although the statistics may seem scary, it’s important to stay positive and know that a whopping 130-140 million babies are born each year. Your time is coming sooner than you think.
How to Support a TTC Friend
If you are hoping to be a supportive and compassionate friend during a pal’s TTC journey but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. There are lots of ways, depending on your comfort level, to show that you care – check out a few below!
- Checking In On Them: Sending a card, checking in after appointments, and answering calls and texts are all simple ways of reminding a friend that you are there for them. By doing even just one of these things, you are showing that you care and reminding them of the support system that they have.
- Plan a Fun Outing: If your friend is up for it, planning something fun for the two of you to do together is a great way to alleviate some stress. Getting out of the house and trying something new may be a needed distraction from the challenging emotions that can be associated with TTC. You can invite your friend to go get mani/pedis, see the latest chick flick (Barbie, anyone?), have a picnic, or do a beach day.
- Show Sensitivity: We know that TTC can be a difficult process, so try to offer your friend a safe space and show empathy. Fertility can be both physically and mentally exhausting, so by validating the disappointment they may be feeling, you are showing them that they aren’t alone in what they are experiencing.
- Encourage Additional Support: If you know of any support groups or communities for your friend to join, don’t hesitate to suggest it! Being a part of an empowering group of women experiencing something similar will allow your friend an additional outlet for her feelings, people she can relate to, a space for advice, and an affirmation that she is not alone in her journey.
- Educate Yourself: If you aren’t going through a TTC journey yourself, you may not be familiar with the specifics. Before connecting with a friend, do some research on the subject – look up statistics and things to say to someone with infertility. If your friend doesn’t have to explain all of the nitty-gritty details to you, it may make things a bit easier for them.
Everybody’s journey to parenthood is different, and these are just several of the many reasons that being supportive and compassionate can make a difference in the lives of friends trying to start or grow their families.