Maybe you're a mom, maybe you're not. But your friend is trying to become one, and she needs you right now. The things you can do to help someone who is trying to conceive (also known as TTC) won't be forgotten in the course of your friendship. But you don't do nice things for the glory, right?
The most important thing you can do as a friend is be present. When a woman is TTC, she's dealing with a lot of stuff and needs her friends' support more than ever. Barbara Collura, President and CEO of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, told Parents that a lot of women don't talk openly about trying to get pregnant because even the suggestion of infertility feels uncomfortable. That's a stigma that needs to be dismantled immediately, because it's outdated, sexist, and really doesn't do anything positive. Plus, the correlation between silence and shame is well documented, according to The Huffington Post. If someone you know is trying to bring another human into this world the last thing you want her to feel is shame, right?
So, what can you do? Aside from letting her know that you're there for her, you can also try the following, because you're a good friend.
William Ury, co-founder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, gave a TEDx talk about the power of listening as a tool of communication. As a confidante of a woman TTC, your ability to listen to her experiences and hear her will help her navigate any of the anxiety and frustration she might be having.
2. Skip The Unsolicited Advice
This is a good rule of thumb in life, but it's especially applicable to being a good friend to a woman who is TTC. In her book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, Toni Weschler wrote that describing fertility issues as "defect," "hostile," or "weak" can really take a toll on a woman's self-esteem. So, as her friend, you want to listen to her journey without inadvertently saying something insensitive. And, as The Huffington Post noted, unsolicited advice sucks. So wait for her to ask your advice, and then offer your two cents.
3. Get Her A Massage
Although massage has not been proven to increase fertility, Baby Center noted that bodywork decreases stress. Your friend who is TTC would welcome a professional rubdown that melts her tension away, if only temporarily, and massage feels so much better when you're not footing the bill. The American Massage Therapy Association has a database of licensed massage therapists across the country.
4. Give Her A Pedicure
Fertility treatments can get expensive, draining your TTC friend's bank account. As such, she might not be indulging in the little pick-me-ups that help you unwind and feel good about yourself. Additionally, massage therapist Kristy Hawthorn claimed that reflexology might help women conceive, in conjunction with other lifestyle factors. Whether or not reflexology can help a woman get pregnant, a foot massage is the best part of any pedicure. You're not a professional, but you can rub your friends' feet. Trust me, she'll be grateful.
5. Take Her Dancing
Your TTC friend might want a girls night out to leave behind the frustrations of baby-making for a couple hours. And what better way than to take her dancing? Everyday Health reported that dance can reduce stress big time. So, get your squad and get into formation.
6. Ask Her If She Needs Help Making Sense Of Her Health Insurance Plan
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, maternity coverage is mandatory in plans offered to individuals and families. But making sense of co-payments, add ons, and out-of-pocket expenses is so involved that most fertility specialists have a person on staff trained to help you figure out your insurance. As a good friend to a woman TTC, you can help her read the fine print in her plan so she's got all her ducks in a row.
7. Discourage The Use Of Unprescribed Fertility Drugs
It's totally risky (and illegal) to take any medicine that's not prescribed to you, and this includes black market fertility drugs, which CBS News reported was a trend on the rise in New York City. If you know someone who is TTC and considering buying unprescribed Clomid or any other type of fertility drug, inform her that doctors don't recommend anything that's not FDA approved and/or physician-prescribed.
8. Buy Her A Green Juice
Folic acid is essential for women TTC because it can prevent neural tube defects that might occur in the first month of pregnancy, according to March of Dimes. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are full of folic acid, so, if your friend is TTC, treat her to a green juice so her body is full of folic acid by the time she does conceive.
9. Take Her For Ice Cream
Dr. Jorge E. Chavarro told Parents that one to two servings of whole milk products like ice cream can help protect against ovulatory infertility and encourage those sex hormones to function properly. Why? No one knows, but I'm not one to question adding a scoop or two of Breyer's to my diet. And chances are, your TTC friend won't either, so take her for a cone of her favorite flavor.
10. Cook For Her
Who doesn't love the comfort of a home cooked meal? As a friend to a woman TTC, put on your apron and pamper your friend by stepping up your game in the kitchen. When you're TTC, diet is especially important. According to another article in Parents, eating foods to help your fertility that are high in protein, iron, zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D is key. If you're lacking these nutrients, you might not ovulate. Foods that contain these nutrients include eggs, dairy, fish, meat, and eggs. So, get your recipes ready.
11. Take Her To The Movies
This one is a no-brainer. Everyone needs a cool, dark place to escape real life and watch Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan .
12. Be Her Workout Buddy
Low-impact exercise is ideal for women TTC. Getting motivated for a brisk walk is a lot easier with a workout buddy, so lace up your sneakers and get in the routine of strolling with your TTC pal. Fresh air + friendship = #SquadGoals.
13. Clean Her Bathroom
Aside from being a terrible chore, cleaning your bathroom requires using chemicals like bleach to get rid of nasty stuff. The American Pregnancy Association recommended avoiding chemicals when pregnant, because of the harmful fumes. But who am I kidding? No one likes cleaning toilets. Be a nice friend and show your support by getting on your hands and knees.
14. Skip Happy Hour With Her
It's no fun being the only teetotaler in the group, and according to Parents, consuming alcohol when you're TTC is not recommended. So, if you're friend is trying to become pregnant, skip the bar, and hang out with her doing some sober activities. Or, if there's an occasion that is filled with booze, be her sober buddy so she doesn't feel awkward being the only one drinking club soda and limes.
15. Stay Positive
Babble reported that staying positive when TTC is a challenge. Lead by example and be that ray of sunshine in your friend's life. Just don't come off as insincerely bubbly; that's just annoying.
16. Get Her Some TTC Approved Lube
According to Fit Pregnancy, certain types of lube can hamper conception by killing sperm. Be a good friend and offer a goodie bag filled with TTC approved lube. And throw in some fun sex toys, because a good orgasm never hurt anyone.
17. Ask To Accompany Her To Doctor Appointments
The road to baby can be lonely, even if you have the most supportive partner. A friend's company is often welcome to stressful doctors appointments. Speaking on behalf of friends everywhere, one of the most important things you can do as a good friend is to be aware of what's happening in your friend's life. According to Psychology Today, friendship can bring joy to your life, especially when you're feeling frustrated about TTC. You want to spread the joy, don't you?