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*thundering applause*

Because I am evil, here is my favorite part:

"Or “you can have mine”. Now that’s an incredibly stupid thing to say. What kind of mother are you to give her kids away? Oh, you were only joking? What was the funny part? That I don’t have my own kids? Sorry, but I am not getting the joke."

Yeah, that's a laff riot, that one.

Oooh, Tertia, that was completely and utterly perfect. Now I know what it's like to be friends with me!!! I need to print this one out and give it away as gifts, although I doubt any of my "friends" would read it right now. Thank you. You rock.

I wish I had had this for my 7 cycles to hand out to my friends as they didn't know how to act around me and mainly quite a few are now no longer friends.
Cheering you on for that take home baby this time.

Bravo, Tertia! So well put.

My personal experience, though, has been that those friends of mine who choose to be "Good Friends to the Infertile" already do many of these things on their own. And, the friends who could really use a little infertility etiquette would be outraged if it were offered to them.

So if someone asks how to be a good friend, give 'em a big slurpy appreciation kiss. In my opinion, they need no further coaching.

Excellent, excellent advice. Basically, ditto to Julie.

What a fabulous post.
Thank you! Thank you!

What great information. I'm firing up the printer and laminator as we speak.

Infertile advice for ALL my friends!!

Let me start by saying I am new to all of this. Please forgive my ignorance at times and what may seem like indifference to your situation. You don't know me and why I say I understand more than you think.
I have a friend who is infertile. If she sees this then fine. It is not being done to prove anything to her or the world. She's a good person with a good heart. A little high-strung, a little too emotional about all things in life and to me a bit angry. For all she has been through (and the "she" in that sentence could be any of you) it is fairly understandable. The rest of the world doesn't know 1/100 of your pain but from Jen I often feel her anger. It bothers me but I deal with it, listen when she calls crying having a bad baby night and do my best to make her laugh.
You are right in what you say about being a friend. It does change and I find myself figuring different ways to deal with which Jen is showing up today or calling on the phone.
I do however take offense to your fourth point. People don't neccesarily like to see friends in pain. However untimely or out of place the comment is, it is generally the only way we know how to deal. You need to understand that we don't always understand you. We don't always have an answer to a question or a response to a situation so please lose the anger. We are trying as hard as we can to figure this out. Understand we don't understand but that we are still here and sometimes, like you, we have our bad days and good days. I know that what you wrote is only a guideline but there was much anger in it so "just relax" (that is only a joke so don't fill my mailbox with hate mail PLEASE!)
What you don't know about me is that in a sense I am like you, trying to have a child after my exwife aborted mine and not being able to. I know it is easier for me but it isn't. There are no means for me to get a donor woman and I have to search for someone suitable. I have often thought of giving it the "Oops, the condom broke" or "sorry it slipped" but that isn't fair to her. So I am left with the same feelings as you on birthdays, holidays, family gatherings. I feel that pain. I go home to an empty house every night and find ways to stave off my own suffering. But one thing I would never do is take my anger or pain out on somebody else, friend or not, because it is mine to bear.
So please, I am asking as I do with Jen, give me time and understanding. I'll fight with you if you like, I'll curse at you and cry with you or go to every extreme to pick you up when you're down. But I cannot completely feel your pain and can never fully understand your views and for that I am sorry if I make an off-handed comment that strikes a sensitive nerve. Just know I care. And am still here when you finish screaming at me.

You are forever in my heart for this Rich. Thank you. You are a wonderful friend to an infertile. I may not tell often but you are.

You are taking the wounded woman inside of me, drawing her out, and pushing her to heal. There are few people who have the power to make me realize that I am not superwoman and I don't have to be strong all the time. When I get that thru my very thick skull and I let the weakness show, you are right there to catch me as I fall.

For you my friend....there is gratitude and emotion that I won't ever be able to fully express.

Very good blog. Thanks.

Great summary! This is just such exciting stuff. There are so many reasons for nonprofits to blog that it's hard to boil them down to a few, but you've done a great job. The key to all of them -- the nugget of information I think all nonprofits should take away from your post -- is that a blog is about connecting very intimately with the unique audience you're trying to reach. It's so much more than a traditional website, which functions largely as a "billboard" for information. A blog is a place where you can create a community that centers on exactly the issues you want to discuss, with the people you want to have a discussion with. It's like throwing a big dinner party where all the people are interested in exactly the same conversation as you!

My favourite is my mom's comment: you'll always have your neices. Um, except I won't. They're my sister's kids. Thanks, though.

Teria, I'm new to the blogging world and a friend introduced me to your blog..... and I love it! I love your writing style and how brutally honest you are - it really makes me feel as if I am experiencing things with you! I look forward to reading each new post.
I love this 'guide' - you should make a mini version on a laminated card to hand out to people when the opportunity presents itself!

I only wish that I had this guideline to hand to my "so-called" friends when I was in my dark time. Thanks for a lovely read. Keep it up.

Thanks for the advice, it is very well written.
I also think it can be related to other situations were a friend is dealing with any struggle. I personally hate platitudes with any situation where someone is sad/frustrated/angry/etc.
Also offering advice to someone who is going through something you have NEVER gone through or at the least haven't gone through in a while is just inconsiderate sometimes. I can't imagine how frustrating it is to tell someone you have had a procedure done and it didn't work. They may not realize they are the 20th person to tell you they read that article and won't understand why you might be short with them.
Knowing someone who went through it isn't the same. I could have a friend who went through infertility....but that doesn't mean I know what the next person is going through. Everyone is different....of course you pointed that all out. I honestly have been wondering this for a while, because I don't know what it feels like and I would like to be a good friend when the time comes. Thank You:-)
Very well done!

Thanks for this


Just came across this, from a search engine. It speaks to me as a close relative to an infertile person, to a degree, but does not cover my own major problem. Maybe you could give some advice.

This problem is essentially the opposite of the issues having to do with persons who have many children/are pregnant relating to the infertile.

In my situation, I am a person who has no children, and does not WANT to have any.

The relative in question has known this for a long time, but when the issues with infertility arose has become increasingly hostile to me, despite my best efforts towards non-invasive support and acceptance. I really don't know how to handle the situation, as it fels as though the nicer and ncer and more and more supportive I try to be, the more venom is directed at me. While, as someone who has gone through some very bad times myself, I understand and empathise with the pain, and really do care, I am beginning to have had it with being an emotional whipping boy. I have never been emtionally stable, and this is wearing me down. I could realyl use some advice....

One piece of advice I can give people who consider themselves good friends of infertiles is not to come back from your annual gynae check up and tell them how he says you are so fertile that if you meet a man you should immediately start contraception. No jokes my "best friend" did this to me during my dark days!

Thanks for the great blog, it's good to know we are not the only couple in this situation.

Your comments hit the nail right on the head, and I am also looking on it in a males point of veiw. Infertile guys also have the same feelings as you, though is so much harder to tell "friends" about my situation as men seem to think its the biggest joke on earth, or is that just from an infertile's point of veiw?

Thank you for this post. It says so much beautifully --- things that I have been struggling with. THANK YOU! I'll be reading, and I hope you don't mind.

Thank you. I'm sending this to my good friend tonight.
Lets not forget the friend who says, "my husband says he can donate sperm if you want." I have a husband. Unbelievable.

Thank you for writing this. Being an infertile for a few years, I have heard it all. Most recently, from my 42 year old sister-
"Really, I'd have another kid next month but we just don't have enough room!"
Soooooooo, all I need is a good carpenter?

This is an email I sent to my family and friends:--->

Tertia Loebenberg, with her blog, *"So Close"* has been like finding a therapist, masseuse, friend, mother, mentor and peer.

I have been, what she would call, "in my cave" for a few days now. I have finally started to grieve, and mourn the loss of the easy path that I have always taken for granted. As she would put it /"some people just have sex and have babies - who would ever have known"./

It's like being socked in the belly realising that the chance of a biological child is well nigh over. I have grieved deeply these last few days, and tried to explain what it's like to those few who have managed to get through my self-imposed isolation, my cave.

Perhaps what has struck my most, when I can think about anything other than my own feelings, is just how WELL everyone seems to know how to react to me.

I can't thank you enough for trying to reach me, for knowing what to say (as much as that is possible) and for not judging me nor telling me what to do. Just for letting me know that you are there. That reminder is imperative.

The most important thing is that my beloved can reach me, however far I try to slip away. He can even entice me to enjoy doing things with him. Normal things. Like a walk, time in a bookshop choosing gifts from a wedding gift voucher. Watching Dave Chapell's Block Party all over again. Talking about now, about the future.

Tertia says that being a friend to what she calls "an infertile" is tough (still don't like that term, preferring /IVF-toolong/ [*I* *V*aited *F*or Too Long]). It is.

Til now I have been an easy person to be a friendly with. I think. But I don't feel as easy right now (this too will pass).

She ends *How to be Good Friends with an Infertile* with what I want to say. Read her ending copied below, and if you have the time, read her article. It's excellent.

*TERTIA in *: /"To end off, if you decide to accept the job of Good Friend to an Infertile, I applaud you. Because it is not an easy job. It really isn’t. As I have said, it’s a pretty thankless job and one in which your job description is so fluid that what is required today is wrong tomorrow. I thank those of my Good Friends who have stuck around so long with me. I know it hasn’t been easy. I appreciate your friendship, I really do."/

There is one more piece of valuable advice that I would have added to this post. That is, do not believe that it is okay to tell the infertile person that you know so-and-so and she had 10 miscarriages but eventually had a baby. That is NOT going to make the infertile person better or more hopeful about her own situation.

I love this. My pg friend told me she was having trouble relating to me and I sent her to this post and it helped!

I'm a survivor of ovarian cancer and subsequently, cannot have children (and do not have any). I have a close colleague/friend who is struggling with and against infertility and has done so for the last one year. Often, she seeks me out for common ground on the matter but we are really different and she's angry at me for it although she won't admit directly. It's always in the snide comments, her sarcasm, or those statements of supposed guilt, "I feel so guilty talking to about this because I know you can't have children." I made peace with the issue of fertility years before cancer (had trouble getting pregnant) and because of my own philosophical/religious beliefs, believe that the value and worth of my life is much more than whether or not I have a child from my body. In fact, while I was trying to get pregnant with my ex-husband, I was part of many support groups for diabetic women trying to have children. There the issues are about vaginal versus cesarian section births. I was so consumed for about three weeks over the matter of having a vaginal birth and then quit the groups. I felt that I was losing myself and decided to end my ties to the support groups. They were helpful in terms of information but I felt that they hindered my ability to really deal with my pain and grow and move forward.

Given that the friend I am referring to was particularly self absorbed to begin with, the two years of highs and lows (to include my battle with cancer that began a year ago) has taken its toll on me. She was barely there during my battle with cancer and I am now beginning to resent her for the emotional demands she makes of me. And, I resent her for projecting all her baggage onto me and refusing to hear me when I say that I'm at peace with myself on the issue. Because she isn't she swears that I'm lying to myself. Despite my best efforts to understand, forgive, etc.. I'm battle weary. Most of the advice that I read seems to give permission to individuals to fail to consider the lives of everyone else and this disturbs me. It wasn't easy to continue being a friend to people when I was so incredibly sick and trying meet the demands of my professional life and so on.. but we have to make it through **together.** Sometimes, I had to say no to people or things. But many times, I reminded myself that I am someone's daughter, someone's best friend, someone's lover, and I'm a person to myself. Hell, turning 35 was a nightmare for me knowing that I was without parts--empty inside. And since we share the same birthday, without fail, she made the birthday all about her. There has to be room for all of us to experience our highs and lows. When is it time for someone to become accountable again for their own responsibilities towards the people they claim they love? Given that infertility treatments can go on for many years, the "it's all about me" approach seems incredibly depressing and it doesn't seem to be working very well for anyone. I'm sorry but there has to be a better way.

You should make a pamhlet to hand out for women at the reproductive endicrinologist. My step mom told me all the time to relax and have some wine. Thanks for this great piece and bringing some comic relief to my otherwise sad life.

OMG!!! I am so that "infertile friend".

Here's another one for ya. "I know what you're going through because I've went though the same thing. It took us 3 months to have our baby." OK, 3 months is NOT 10 years. No, you could not possibly know the emotional hell my husband and I are going through. Thank God every day when you kiss your child good morning that you never will.

Then there are the questions as to why you haven't thought of adoption. Oh geeze, why didn't we think of that?! Of course we have and have tried. We have and have gone through the foster care adoption screening process twice only to be reassigned to another country. Uncle Sam says go and we have to go. We tried a 3rd time 2 years ago to privately adopt. The lady that ran the agency was someone my mother had recently met and agreed that with many trips back to the U.S. from England and if we successfully went through the screening we would be put on the list. Adoption laws are very strict if you live in the UK and are not a UK citizen, unless your name is Madonna. US citizens can not adopt a UK citizen child. We went through the screening and were next on the list when she suffered a massive stroke and closed her doors. Thankfully she has recovered but has decided not to reopen her agency for health reason and understandably so. It was our only hope in adoption from England.

I pray for women such as myself who go through the pain of infertility. I pray for the husbands, wives, boyfriends and girlfriends of those who are infertile for sharing the pain with us. And I pray for those around the "infertile" that they would know when to say words of encouragement, know when to say words of hope and know when to say nothing.

This was fantastic... I especially love point number 4. I cannot tell you how many "Maybe its not the right time and it will happen later", and "it will happen when its meant to happen"- I agree, to an extent. But when follows: "Just relax. It will happen when its meant to happen", I feel like screaming: yes! of course it will! I'm just throwing away thousands of dollars for the sake of it!

But my ALL TIME favorite thing someone has said to me was: "Obviously, God is telling you that you're not fit to be a mother."

There are some really excellent people out there!

But a lot of the time, they dont even realize they're saying things that are upsetting you.

I have read this numerous times (I have 3 infertile friends) and it helps me do the best I can at being the friend they need on any given day. I just wish I didn't feel so guilty being a fertile murtle and feel that I can't talk as openly about my pregnancies and kids the way that I would like to share with some of my best friends. It truly breaks my heart to see my good friends go through this. I never forget my 2 blessings. I feel pretty good about knowing what NOT to say, but more advice on WHAT to say would be even more helpful.

My sister said about IVF "Those are options for people with money, us poor people will have to go the natural way" I felt that was so insensitive, am I doing IVF because i have money?

Hey Tertia

I sent this out to all my friends and guess what?

They said I am a really negative person and to get over myself and that I deserve everything I get when it comes to my infertility.

Apparantly coz' I sent this out to my friends, I only did it coz' I wanted to abuse them for being so insensitive towards me.........grrrrrrrr

At least you got it right with your blog and book etc.....tell me......what is positive about infertility??........arggggghhhhhhh lets see.......nothing.........dah!!!! Wish people could just realise that instead of constantly putting me further down than I allready am and telling me stupid things like cheer up coz' they are pregnant etc. Tell me how I should act positive about that?

Your book and your blog is awesome.....says exactly how I feel........yet people still dont understand.

Peace out hey and take care

came here through a link - love this!

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What about dealing with the (formerly) infertile friend that dumped you because dealing with infertility was "way too hard" only to get pregnant, tell you about it, expect praise and happiness (and get it, because I'm not heartless) only to be dropped again during her pregnancy because she'd rather spend her time with other pregnant women/mothers and I don't plan on having children? What then? Hi, remember me? Your friend? Y'know, the one that always listened with a non-judgmental ear during your three year struggle with infertility only be be dropped when she outlived her usefulness?

Great piece and excellent writing! (I've just discovered you today, Tertia: 5 years after you wrote it. Congratulations on motherhood! ). I'm a card-carrying fan now. I'd like to add, in response to #3, that "Don't worry; it'll happen" are four of the most infuriating words I get. The friends who haven't yet T'dTC must believe it really is that simple (as demonstrated by: "My mother and sister are so fertile, so I know it'll be no problem for me"), while the "normal" friends who've conceived either feel guilty that it was so easy for them and therefore throw out this platitude to placate both parties, or think that as it was indeed so simple for them, they're sure if I'd only just relax and stay optimistic, it'll happen.

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