How to Support Friends Experiencing Infertility

Today, in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re sharing some dos and don’ts regarding how to support friends experiencing infertility. Hopefully these will help empower you to reach out and comfort your friends and loved ones who are battling it.

Dos:

1. Be understanding.
Try to see things from your friend’s perspective. Offer to listen (really listen) to her about what she is experiencing, and be understanding if she chooses to forgo baby showers or other baby-centric events. Being a sounding board and source of emotional support can go a long way to help your friend feel loved, and to help you gain a better understanding of her experience.

2. Do your research.
Access and study reputable sources about the nuances of infertility. That way, if your friend chooses to speak with you about it, you’ll have background knowledge to work from. (However, it’s important that you don’t use this new knowledge to try to “fix” the problem. See don’t #2 below.)

3. Provide encouragement and service. 
Said encouragement and service can range from watching older kids while your friends attend doctor’s appointments, to honoring their decision to stop fertility treatments. Offer to be an exercise or activity buddy, or make them dinner. Since infertility is not solely a female-centric issue, make sure to not forget about your male friends who are experiencing it. Where appropriate, let them know that you are or your partner is supportive and available, if needed.

4. Remember them on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
These two days can be especially tender and difficult, so letting your friends know you’re thinking of them can be an effective way to provide support and love. If you’ve truly listened to your friends and are aware of their needs, you’ll have a good idea of how to do so.

 

Don’ts:

1. Don’t minimize the problem. 
Infertility is painful and all-consuming. Comments that minimize this journey like, “at least you can travel,” “at least you can sleep in,” etc. are damaging and dismissive. And don’t tell them that most people will experience at least one miscarriage, or that they’re “still young” or it’s “not meant to be.” I mean, this should be obvious, right?!

2. Don’t try to “fix” things or suggest ideas. 
While doing your own research can equip you with knowledge to better understand your friend’s experience, it does not make you an expert of infertility. Suggesting procedures or methods isn’t helpful, as your friend is undoubtedly aware of all of the things you’re suggesting.

3. Don’t complain about your pregnancy.
Oft times, the sight of a burgeoning, pregnant belly can be quite painful for those struggling to conceive. Even though your friend may love you and be happy for you, just being around you is probably painful. So don’t complain about how much your back hurts or how you’re feeling like a beached whale. She’s not the right person to be your sounding board about the difficulties of pregnancy. Remember, she would gladly experience those discomforts in order to be pregnant. Find someone else to validate and support you during this time.

4. Don’t gossip about your friend’s condition and situation.
Again, this should go without saying, but do not share what your friend tells you about her treatments or other difficulties. This can be an intensely private matter, and it’s not up to you to share what’s going on; it’s up to your friend.

5. Don’t be insensitive.
Being dismissive of the pain that comes with secondary infertility, or suggesting that your friends “just adopt” is insensitive. Don’t make light of or joke about your friends’ situation and experience.

 

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National Infertility Awareness Week — Inspirational Print-outs

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, we have created free printables of some of our favorite inspirational quotes in an effort to provide hope and support to parents and families who are struggling with infertility. Click on the link to download the printable PDF file for each quote.

 

  • Click here to download the printable PDF file.
  • Once it downloads, you can either print it on your own home printer or have it professionally printed (see printing tips at the end of the post)

  • Click here to download the printable PDF file.
  • Once it downloads, you can either print it on your own home printer or have it professionally printed (see printing tips at the end of the post)

 

  • Click here to download the printable PDF file.
  • Once it downloads, you can either print it on your own home printer or have it professionally printed (see printing tips at the end of the post)

  • Click here to download the printable PDF file.
  • Once it downloads, you can either print it on your own home printer or have it professionally printed (see printing tips at the end of the post)

Tips for printing…
Printing at home: You can just print on standard 8.5″ x 11″ sized-paper and then trim to size (8″x10″). Standard printer paper will work, but you may get better results with heavier cardstock paper (like a 60-lb).
Printing at places like FedEx Office: Send the file to be professionally printed on 60-lb paper in full color at your local FedEx Office or other printing store for around $1 or so. You will need to upload it to their website, and then choose to have it printed on heavier paper. You will also need to trim this paper down to the proper size, but the printing store will have a paper cutter you can use. You can also just keep it at the full size if you like the look of a large border.

 

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To The Woman Who Wants A Baby

This week on the Owlet blog we’re recognizing National Infertility Awareness Week. We hope that we can raise awareness of infertility and provide hope and support to families struggling with infertility. 

This is a guest post from Danielle of Today’s The Best Day

Photos by Christine Olson Photography

About 6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex (infertility). Also, about 12% of women 15–44 years of age in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity). {Stats found here}

It isn’t easy.

It isn’t easy putting on a smile at baby showers, when deep inside you are really hurting.

It isn’t easy going on Facebook and seeing {what seems like ALL of} your friends announcing they are pregnant with cute baby bump pictures.

It isn’t easy seeing other women taking their role as a mother for granted.

In fact, it isn’t easy, so you fall on your knees every night, praying…pleading…BEGGING that you will be able to have a baby of your own soon.

If you know what I am talking about…THIS is for you…

To The Woman Who Wants To Have A Baby:

I want you to know that I see you. And that I am going through exactly what you are going through too.

You know – smiling on the outside, but hurting on the inside?

I have been thinking a lot about you recently, as I have been asked the questions, “When are you going to have another one?” and “You know she is almost three – it is overdue for your second.”

And suddenly all of my emotions from fertility treatments come racing back and I get nervous. I get anxious. My heart longs to hold a newborn baby. My body aches to feel a kick inside of me. And tears fill my eyes as I realize what a struggle it is for me…and for you… for these things to happen.

To the woman who wants a baby, I have ten things I want you to remember:

1. Your journey of becoming a mom is different than the norm, but that doesn’t make it any less special: In FACT, I think it makes it even MORE special. Through each negative pregnancy test and each tear in your eye. Through each shot in your belly and blood drawn from your arm. Through the days at doctors appointments and nights on your knees. Through your dreams and wishes and doubts and fears, YOU are something special.

2. It is worth it…I promise: For those of you, like me, who are moms, but are struggling to have another – you know what I mean when I say it is worth it. After several surgeries, four years of treatments, failed procedures and nearly six months of bed rest – I can tell you with all of my heart, it was worth it. It was worth it ALL. In fact, it was so worth it, that is why I am willing to try it all over again and hope that YOU will too.

3. Take care of yourself: It is easy to get wrapped up in things to do and people to please – but the most important thing you can do right now is to take care of YOU. When you set yourself as a priority, you have more energy, you feel better mentally, physically and emotionally AND you will be able to find joy. This struggle is extremely hard on your body and mind, so taking care of YOU is the best thing you can do.

4. You can do hard things: Sometimes we are asked to do a lot more in this life than we think we can handle. You may have to try and fail and try again. You may have to fall and pick yourself up again. You may have to run faster, even though you are out of breath. You may have to keep going, even though you don’t think you can go any further. You may have to do what seems to be impossible, because it actually might end up being possible. And most importantly you should always remember to keep moving towards where you want to be, no matter what is in front of you.

5. It is normal to feel exhausted: “Trying” is exhausting. There are articles to read, apps that will tell you when it is “time”, lists of foods people will tell you to eat, medications you can take, oils that you can rub, doctors that you can see and a million things you can do that have worked for other people so you will want to try them too. And with every passing day, you will be tired. You will be ready to give up on it all. You will ask yourself, “Is it even worth all of this?!”

6. It is okay to be sad: In fact, sometimes a good cry is healthy. Your life is really, really hard. And every day, you are going through one of the hardest trials. I suggest to allow yourself to be sad for 10 minutes every morning. You can cry and have your own pity party for yourself. But after those 10 minutes are up, I encourage you to pick yourself up and focus on something else.

7. Everyone is different: Be careful not to compare yourself or your story with ANYONE else’s. Every situation is different. Every story is unique. You write yours – and they will write theirs. What works for them, may not work for you. Do what is best for YOU and what you are comfortable with. We each have our own struggles and trials and we all will handle things that come our way differently.

8. Things don’t always work out…and that is okay: That is a tough one to say. I hope you will remember that everything happens for a reason…even if we do not understand the reasoning at this moment. Jeffrey R. Holland said, “Don’t you quit. You keep walking, you keep trying, there is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon. Some come late. Some don’t come until heaven…but they come.”

9. You aren’t alone: And you NEVER ever will be. It is important to talk about your struggle and to find other women or couples that are going through this too. I promise you are not the only one.

10. It isn’t easy: Lastly, I hope you will remember that it isn’t easy. It is NOT. And with every passing day, it might even get harder. But I know for a fact, that the greatest things in life, are truly worth waiting for. And a baby is THE greatest thing… so even if it isn’t easy… it will be worth it.

This post is dedicated to all women who struggle with infertility on a daily basis. I want each of you to know that you are not alone and miracles do happen. 

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Owlet Smart Sock: Pulse Oximetry in the home

This blog post is part of a series from Dr. Ken Ward. You can learn more about Dr. Ward here

In the decades I’ve worked in maternal and fetal medicine, I have sent at-risk babies home with hospital-grade monitors. Not only were the parents anxious and concerned for the well-being of their newborns but also worried about using the monitor correctly. Unfortunately, the hospital-grade monitors were somewhat cumbersome; large in size with multiple cords attached, and required sensor pads to be attached via adhesive backs to small little feet. Too often, false alarms occurred due to the movements of the infant, which added to the parents’ already anxious state.

The Owlet Smart Sock is a more reasonable monitor for the home setting. It has been extensively tested to validate the accuracy of the device against other oxygen and pulse monitors. The design is more appropriate for home use.

It is impossible for the baby to become entangled in monitor cables since the sock uses a wireless sensor to communicate health information to the home base.

Risks for adhesive-related skin irritations and burns from pulse oximeters monitors are minimized. The sock uses sensors (similar to those used in Fitbit® or the Apple® Watch) that use considerably less power than hospital pulse oximeters which would virtually eliminate any risk of burning the baby. The sock is held securely on the foot by straps, reducing the risk of skin irritations that can be caused by adhesives uses with pulse oximeters.

False readings or false notifications are reduced because the Owlet Smart Sock can detect when the infant is moving. Owlet designed a system of notifications that differentiates between a displaced sensor and a significant decrease in a baby’s heart rate. As a result, a very high rate, 99% of Owlet Smart Sock users, have used the device without ever receiving a false notification. This is great news since it reduces the risk of overdiagnosis due to misinformation.

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