My son and his wife have had issues with conceiving a baby and I have watched as a parent from the sidelines as they have gone through the spectrum of emotions in trying to achieve their goal of having a family.
As a parent, I felt absolutely helpless as I could not do anything to assist them or even provide ideas to help them.
Despite researching the topic, it was clear that they could only seek guidance from the specialists.
However, what I could do was be a listener especially in the tough times – and there were many. I always felt that was not enough but in fact, I discovered that my son and daughter-in-law needed a person they could talk to individually who just listened and understood what they were going through emotionally.
They found friends their own age did not fully understand what they were going through and how they felt and therefore they could not confide in their friends. I came to realise that my being their support person was extremely important and critical to them getting through the highs and lows of infertility.
That support helped enormously by allowing them simply to verbally express their feelings, frustrations, anger and sadness with no sense of judgement from anyone.
For the first time as a parent, I realised that I could not fix the problem – which is what a parent always tries to do. It was well out of my control and all I could do was to be the listener and the support person, remaining strong and positive throughout and not judging their thoughts which were charged with so much emotion.
When my daughter-in-law did fall pregnant I was so happy for them. However, I was still needed as the listener as they were both worried that something would go wrong and that they would lose the baby so support was required throughout the pregnancy. I now have a beautiful little granddaughter who has entered this world totally oblivious to the stress and emotional rollercoaster her parents went on in order to have her.
Being a parent /grandparent and watching your children face difficulties such as these can be very hard to cope with. But just being there, listening and understanding is the best way to help them.