In lieu of my 5th round of IVF approaching I am re-posting this favorite post. It has been a challenge to stay positive and I have most recently noticed how I have withdrawn from many friends and family. I do believe it has much to do with the fear of words or conversations below. In fact I know I avoid certain people for saying some of the things below.
I hope this helps education someone out there.
So you think you can empathize with someone going through IVF? Maybe you held your best friends hand as she went through the madness. Spoke to her in her deepest lows about adoption or what if's? You cried with her before during and when her baby was conceived you worried with her until he/she came. This is all great and I am not here to discredit any ones experiences with or friendships with someone going through a hard time conceiving a baby.
I am an IVF patient myself. I have gone through 2 rounds of which one was an 11 week miscarriage. I have heard on a regular basis each comment below. I know that people love me and none of this is meant to hurt me but I am here to help others out there. It does hurt.
The best thing to say to someone embarking or in the middle of IVF is nothing.
A listening ear and and open mind is best thing a person can offer. And to be there. "Do you need Me?" "I am here if you want to talk"
Here is my person list of what not to say to a woman going through IVF.
1. "Relax and it will happen" Now this is what I think immediately after "relax? I guess I can't talk to you.. and no it may not happen" I immediately start preparing myself for the worst in my head as I smile and say thank you. I start resenting the fact you told me to relax. Like I am unable too in your eyes. I don't know why but I guess I am trying to protect myself. Understand I am in a moment of "unknown" hormonal on fertility drugs and you saying this to me could actually be hurtful.
2. "I know someone who conceived on their own after rounds of IUI and IVF" This is a huge no no. First of all you are saying it took this poor soul rounds to not conceive. And Second you are comparing me to someone I am not. Every situation with Infertility is extremely different. Every Round is different. This may sound helpful but really for all you know your friend is unable to conceive without IVF 100% (Like myself) So understandably I have nothing positive to feel when someone starts story telling to me.
3. "Don't worry, It will happen I just know it" What are we to say to this. Thanks right? This one may be hard to understand but try.. I have limited the people around me whom I talk to about my IVF journey. All of them I have told have said this to me. It is kind, I know, but my thoughts are always the same: I am doing IVF in hopes - not a sure thing.
We are in the lowest most venerable place talking about our fertility problems. A simple "I am here for you" would be better. Even more "If you ever want to talk or vent please call me I am here"
Telling someone success will happen where it is uncertain makes me feel uncomfortable to talk to you or open up. Almost like you are ending the conversation or do not want to entertain my thoughts of it never happening, being scared or feeling alone.
4. Complain about your own kids or worse offer one up as a joke: This has surprisingly happened to me more than I wish to admit. "Are you sure you are up for this" As their toddler climbs all over them. As if it is just so hard on them to be a mom. "A MOM! WHAT I WANT TO BE. Now I get it I was a nanny for over 10 years. Kids are hard. But remind yourself and refrain from complaining about being a mom around someone whom is trying so hard to become one.
Offering to give the person one of your children as a joke is just awful and not funny to an IVF patient.
5. Recommend or ask about Adoption: If I wanted to adopt we would not be putting ourselves through all of this in the first place. Asking about adoption feels like you are trying to come up with a solution to a problem you know nothing about. It also makes me feel as tho you don't think what I am doing is right or worth it. This in turn makes me not want to talk to you.
Again in the end if you want to be there for your friend say these things:
"I am here for you"
"If you ever want to vent, I am a listening ear"
"I can't imagine what you are going through but I'd love to hear all about it if you are ever up for it"
And actually be there. Sometimes it is hard to pick up the phone and ask to hangout when I am in the middle of in vitro shots. I can't drink and have to be home or available at a certain time to give myself an injection. Yuck! I can still do things just reach out and be willing to accommodate and adjust a little.
"If you ever need someone to be there at an appointment I would be happy to be there with you"