How many of us have wanted to send a care package to another lady struggling with infertility? Or maybe we have friends that wanted to send us something to cheer us up because the journey to motherhood is so devastating. I see it all the time on my Instagram timeline, women are sending care packages for women who are going through fertility struggles and miscarriages and it's so sweet that people, especially women, are looking out for one another.
If you are someone who wants to send a care package to a dear friend to let them know that you are thinking of them, this blog post is for you! Or for my #InfertilityWarriors, forward this blog post to your friends and family to show them what you would appreciate getting. I've put a lot of thought into this that way you don't have to!
Women, like myself, who struggle with infertility have more tough days than good days. It's the sad truth. I know that so many women would appreciate a little gift from a friend or a family member. It's just a small gesture saying that you are here for your friend, daughter, sister, etc, and that you support her.
1. FAVORITE CANDY & SNACKS: This is a very obvious one but obviously include all of her favorite candy and snacks, chips, pretzels, things that don't have to be refrigerated.
2. GIFT CARDS FOR POST-MATES OR A FOOD DELIVERY SERVICE: I think this a really important one. Giving a gift card for either Post-Mates, Uber Eats, or any restaurant that offers delivery is a great gift because I can promise you there will be a lot of nights (or days) where she won't feel like cooking dinner. There will also be weeks where she and her partner are struggling with money because all of their extra money is going towards Doctor's appointments, fertility testing, and more. And that's all before she is actually pregnant. Just make sure that the gift card is enough to cover food for her, her husband, tip, and any delivery charge that may be charged by the service or restaurant. This will ensure that she won't have to worry about getting her wallet at all.
3. COMFY PJS: Hear me out, when I'm having a hard time, I just don't like to get dressed up and I spend a lot of time with my dogs and binging something on TV, so comfy clothes are what I wear. Some soft and new PJs would cheer me up and make me feel comfortable while I was at home.
4. SCHEDULE A PIZZA DELIVERY: I have done this for friends that have experienced a loss and it seems to have been helpful. I let them know ahead of time that I have pre-scheduled pizza to be delivered and that it's already been paid for (including tip). You can do this once or set up a schedule for the next two weeks (one day a week obviously) that way they can look forward to receiving it and not having to worry about ordering or paying for dinner. I put this as a separate gift because pizza is so different than gift cards. I feel like everyone loves a good pizza delivery.
5. DRINKS: A case of bottled water, her favorite soda, some tea (hot or cold), hot chocolate (depending on the time of year) and you can even include a monogrammed mug or just a nice mug for the hot drinks. It makes for a good gift and makes sure that she doesn't have to worry about basic groceries
6. MOVIES: In modern day, a gift card for YouTube, Fandango, Microsoft, etc, is great because we can now digitally rent movies. But, some people, like myself, love a good DVD because when the internet is down, I have DVDs to watch. Include either the gift card or a few DVDs that you know she will like. Again, if she is struggling with infertility, especially if she recently had a miscarriage, she will be really upset and stay home for awhile to collect herself. Struggling with infertility can be isolating because you don't want to go out for drinks (because what if she thinks she COULD be pregnant that cycle?) or may not want to be around people in general. It gets lonely.
7. COLORING BOOK: Yes, you read that right! I said a coloring book. Don't forget the color pencils too! Adult coloring books are known to be so beneficial for stress and anxiety relief. Here are a few links to some great options I found online
IVF WTF? Adult coloring & stress relief book | Adult Coloring Book Designs | Animals - Stress Relief Coloring Book| Stress Relieving Patterns| Fertility Symbols| Joy Comes In The Morning - Coloring Through Infant Loss and Miscarriage
8. A FRAMED PHOTO: This is a simple gift and it's one that I use for a lot of things and I always love to see the look on my friends and family's face when I give them a framed photograph of us together, a wedding, a happy even, their loved one, etc. It can be touching but please also know when it is appropriate. For example, maybe frame a photograph that you know she loves of her and her partner or the two of you. Something that reminds her of your support and love. In my family, we love exchanging framed photos. It always put a smile on my face, at least.
9. BRING A HOME-COOKED MEAL (AND ACTUALLY STAY TO EAT WITH HER): Instead of an entire care package, you could just bring a nice home-cooked meal. I'm sure she would love the company for the meal or you can leave it for her and her partner to share together. I think that bringing food or providing food is just the easiest way to help out because it's really hard to worry about food or finding the energy to cook when you are going through a tough time.
10. HOME GOODS: This is one that could get a little pricey but depending on what your friend or family member has going on, it could really help. Thinks like body wash, shampoo, extra sheets, towels, help out with laundry (this is usually something family might help with) or ask what they need at home and offer to pick it up for them. Again, this can get expensive so be aware but it might be very helpful especially to someone who is suffering a loss. With loss comes a lot of challenges like depression, grief, anxiety, loss of appetite, loss of energy, you name it. Extra sheets could come in handy because it's likely, hers won't be washed anytime soon. Or it's likely she will run out of dishwasher detergent, body wash, etc and not even think about it because she has so much on her mind. This can be something so thoughtful to include in your care package or offer to do some shopping for her.
I hope that you found this list helpful. I put items of all price ranges and levels of service because there are so many parts of infertility and we all need something different.
If you have a friend or family member that is struggling, just be a good support system. Be helpful but don't bring it up too much (their doctor already brings it up and it's on their mind constantly). These thoughtful acts of service and gifts say so much when someone is having a tough time. Be kind and patient and just offer to listen, if they need it. Make sure you don't give your opinion unless asked for it, and try not to talk about it all the time (unless your friend always starts the conversation of course).
For all of my #InfertilityWarriors - comment below with anything that you think should be on this list but isn't! Have you received a care package before? What did you appreciate?