My Daughter / Son is Struggling
By Rachel Inbar, with
special thanks to my mom, Dr. Rona
Michelson who both supported me through infertility
& helped me with this article.
If your child is going through infertility,
it's very hard to know what the right things to say
are. It naturally depends on what your relationship
with your child is, but there are some things you want
to keep in mind in any case:
Infertility is real.
Whether the doctors are able to find a reason for it
or not, it's real. Telling your child that s/he should
"relax" or that "it always takes time"
or that "Suzy's daughter got pregnant the minute
they decided to adopt." doesn't help. Denying your
child's infertility might make you feel better, but
it can make him/her feel like s/he's being ridiculed.
This is your child's experience,
not yours. Though you might be yearning to
have a grandchild, you did have your chance to raise
a child. Your child, while going through infertility,
is dealing with the fact that s/he may never
have a child of his or her own. Let the pain
belong to them and keep your pain to yourself.
Your child is an adult.
S/he deserves privacy. Infertility is a very intimate
topic, so never push your child to discuss any more
than s/he wants to. Keep in mind that infertility is
usually a serious issue in a marriage. They may have
decided together what they want to reveal and what not
to reveal. Pushing your child to say more than s/he
wants to may mean that s/he is violating a confidence
with her/his spouse. This is something you don't want
to be a part of.
Your child's decisions are his/her
own. Don't try to suggest what s/he should
do, what doctor they should see, what treatment they
should be going through or that they should be considering
adoption. S/he grew up and needs to make these decisions
with her/his spouse. If they ask your opinion, share
Do not blame. People
do not choose to be infertile. OK, some women have their
tubes tied & some men have vasectomies that they
later regret, but in general, when people want to have
a baby, the decision is genuine, as is the difficulty
when they're unsuccessful. If you find out that your
daughter-in-law has PCOS, you'd better not ever hold
it against her, just like you wouldn't want anyone to
say anything about your son if it turned out he had
a zero-sperm count.
Here is a letter (used with permission)
that a woman going through infertility imagined would
be the ideal letter to receive from her mother:
I can only imagine how difficult it is for you to want
so desperately to have a baby and for it not to be working
for you. I remember your dreams of becoming a mommy
from the time you were a child, how you yearned to have
another baby brother or sister and how you cared for
your younger siblings lovingly and tenderly.
I believe with all of my heart that some day you will
become a mother and that G-d is waiting to find just
the right child for you.
I want you to know that I am here for you anytime you
need to talk, ask questions or even just to cry.
Keep being optimistic and remember to take care of
yourself and do things that you enjoy.
Most of all, know that I love you.
Rona Michelson, DSW, adds, "Parents themselves
often do need support since watching one’s child
suffer is enormously painful, but that support should
not be based on sharing with one’s friends or
relatives details of the child’s problem."
Be gentle, be loving and most of all, be considerate
toward your child and his/her partner.
Want to share your story as
a parent? We're starting a new section of stories
from the parent's point of view.
Maya's IVF Story
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