Infertility is a health matter that can affect anyone at any time – including families looking to grow and have additional children. For couples facing secondary infertility, perhaps the hardest part is deciding how to share your experience with the child you already have. If your child is asking for a little brother or sister, how do you explain that mommy and daddy are having trouble making that happen – or do you explain it to them at all?
Children And Their Questions
Let’s start with that initial question. If you already know that you are having fertility problems, you are probably dreading anyone asking you when you’re going to have another baby. But when it’s your child asking, it is even more difficult.
Kids pick up on cues from adults, especially their parents. If you are experiencing fertility problems, your child will be able to tell that you are upset or stressed out. If their friends all have little brothers and sisters, they’ll start to wonder why they don’t too. And they’ll ask questions.
Some experts recommend not discussing your attempts to have another baby with your child until you are actually pregnant. Young children may not be able to understand the stress of infertility and will become anxious or worried on your behalf. But if you do tell your child about your fertility problems, you should keep your answers simple and on a level they can process:
- “When am I getting a little brother or sister?” Be honest, but don’t make promises you can’t keep. “Someday,” or “Not right now,” are reasonable responses that let your child know that a sibling may come in the future but not to get too excited for them right now.
- “Why can’t you have one now?” Depending on your beliefs, you may tell your child that you’ll have a baby when God says it’s time, or you may tell them that you a doctor is helping you make it happen.
- “Where do babies come from?” When they start to put the pieces together, this classic question is sure to appear. It’s up to you how much of the process you want to explain, and will likely vary greatly with your child’s age. But this question may help transition into explaining your fertility journey.
Explaining Treatments to Children
If you are undergoing fertility treatments, your child will certainly be aware that you are going to see doctors more often. First, it’s important to reassure them that you aren’t sick. Even though it is frustrating or even emotionally painful for you, you want to make the process as easy on your child as possible.
Perhaps the best way to explain what you’re going through is simply to let your child know about any possible effects they could actually witness. Hormone treatments such as Clomid can cause physical and emotional side-effects. And many treatments require exact timing, making you pay much more attention to the calendar or even the clock.
Explain to your child that making them a brother or sister takes careful work. And also let them know that you love and appreciate them even while you’re trying hard for another baby. Your doctor may be able to help by recommending books or even talking to your child about the process.