Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: She wants to be helpful but not overbearing

 

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I found out recently that a good friend is having trouble getting pregnant. She’s miscarried once and has had fertility problems since — this has been going on for two years but she just told me a couple of months ago. Since then, she hasn’t brought it up on her own and I’ve had a hard time knowing when and how to ask how it’s going. Any advice for being a supportive, but not overbearing, friend?

Friend

You’re soooo close here — you’re listening, you care, you’re attuned to her feelings. That’s going to carry you most of the way, so trust that.

The one thing I'll suggest is that you say, “I think a lot about you and wonder how your fertility efforts are going, but I’m not sure how or even whether to ask. Would you like me to check in, or let you bring it up when you’re ready?”

Re: Friend: I could be your friend, I am in almost the exact same spot. Like anything that is full of emotional land mines and grief, sometimes you want to talk, and sometimes you don’t. But I am never offended if someone asks how things are going. Carolyn’s advice is good; ask her how she wants you to handle this. The process of in vitro is a very hard road. It’s full of hope, and if it doesn’t work, the grief can be enormous. Just continue being a good friend, which it sounds like you are.

Anonymous

Thanks for weighing in, and good luck.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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