Infertility and the Great (or Not So Great) Advice Givers
Now that I am 18 weeks pregnant and I’ve revealed my pregnancy to you I can share something that has been on my heart for a few years now and that is the topic of ‘advice giving.’ When thinking about what to write this week this topic just kept on popping up. My coaching clients had been on the brunt of it and then I read Claire Obeid’s newsletter this week and what she said resonated with how we all had been feeling.
When I started on this journey of infertility you have a lot of well meaning friends and family (and even strangers mind you), give you advice that is often beautiful but sometimes unwarranted. Claire Obeid wrote in her newsletter this week that it can come from a ‘polluted space that never quite fits.’
It’s hard isn’t it because you want to help people and people want to help you but often we and they just don’t know what to say.
Here are a few bits of advice and funny statements I received:
“If you just relax it will happen.”
“My friend went on a holiday and forgot about it all and when they came back they were pregnant.”
“God will give a baby to you in His right timing.”
“Have you tried x, y, z?”
“Oh I just only have to look at him and I fall pregnant.”
“That’s what happens when you focus on your career.”
And it’s not that I don’t love advice when it’s birthed out of space of love and compassion. I’m so open to hearing what worked for people and love hearing their stories (just not the scaremongering ones). But I guess what happens is some people share their advice in order to ‘normalise their experience and even to get a one up on the whole ugly thing.’ (Claire Obeid).
So what do you do when giving advice or receiving advice:
3 ways to deal with the Naysayers and Advice Wizards
Be Clear in Your Communications
Claire Obeid in her newsletter this week said that when giving advice ask yourself these questions:
‘How does this benefit this person’?
‘How can I best support this person in the way that they need? How I can best be of service?’
‘Why do I feel the need to share this with them – is this about me and my stuff?
I would add to this that you need to come from a space of really listening to what the person is saying because more often than not you just want someone to be a listening ear not an advice giver in the first place. Also even if you think your situation is the same don’t say ‘I know how you feel.’ You may very well know some of the feelings that go with it but at the end of the day everyone’s situation is different and it can take away from their whole experience.
Secondly I love this nugget of gold from Claire when she said:
If you are on the receiving end of unsolicited advice that comes at you from a heavy space that is more a reflection of the other person’s baggage than your area of concern, well my advice to you… Just DROP IT. Don’t absorb what they say. Don’t take it into your heart. Don’t be ruffled by it. Simply, care a whole lot less about it… it’s not for you. It’s about them. It’s their crap. You don’t want to take that on. Your experience is YOURS and unique to you.
Isn’t that beautiful? Listen but don’t absorb.
Whatever you are going through right now gorgeous girl, you know intuitively what is right and wrong for your situation. Sure ask for help. If you need advice I am all for it. I have a network of mentors, colleagues, coaches, family and friends I can call upon to talk to about things when they arise in my life. Sit with your situation for a bit. Journal. Pray.
Whatever you do when the naysayers and advice wizards come along you’ll stand firm because you know what your heart (or Holy Spirit) is imparting to you. And it’s ok if you don’t have all the answers right now. Just keep resting, asking and seeking.
Create a space where the advice that comes from a heart of love and compassion can penetrate and the other polluted advice can bounce off.
You can do it.
I believe in you.
And if you would love some direction on where you want to go future wise or you are feeling a little stuck I have two spaces left in my coaching schedule. Two! That’s crazy right? If you would love to explore coaching with me please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would absolutely be thrilled to work with you.
Another fantastic post Diana – and I love Claire and her wisdom too 🙂 Whoever fills those last two places of yours will be very blessed people xo.
Thanks Naomi! Yeah it’s funny how these things come along just as you are planning on writing about it. Claire Obeid is lovely. I really like her meditations. So soothing. I am absolutely loving coaching at the moment and only have limited spaces while teaching. Thank you for your kind words about me! One of these days when you’re up this way we will really have to meet. One of the dates will work out I’m sure xxoo
Great post, Diana! And congratulations on the pregnancy. When it comes to the advice of others, I tend to take note of what they’re saying but always try to remember that their advice is a projection of their own experiences and fears. It helps me to take what might be useful and leave the rest!
Thanks Katherine. Yeah I actually like advice just when it comes from a space of positivity. Good point about them projecting their own experiences and fears, so very true. Also I think people generally mean well and often don’t know what to say in awkward situations so I’ve been making sure I extend grace in those situations. Thanks on your well wishes in my pregnancy. We are very excited.