Let’s talk about infertility!
Tuesday, April 16th, 2019
When you are experiencing infertility, finding support when dealing with it is essential. Friends and family can lend some of that support, but only if you tell them you're struggling. They may not give perfect support, but even imperfect support is better than none.
It’s important to share concerns regarding conception, but kick-starting the conversation can be daunting.
Here are some tips for talking about infertility with family and friends, if you decide to do so:
-Deciding Who to Tell: Make choices based on what’s best for you, and not based on who you think "deserves" to know. Telling your parents may be a good idea, but only if they are not the type to react with blaming or excessive advice-giving. Some of the best support may come from your siblings or cousins.
The idea is to find a few good people to confide in—just enough to have someone to call on those bad days or to make comforting eye-contact with at family gatherings if an inappropriate comment is made. The same goes for friends.
-What to Share, What to Keep to Yourself: you will need to consider what you want to share. This is an entirely personal decision that only you and your partner can make. There are no right or wrong answers. Decide how much detail you and your partner want to share. Respect each other’s need for privacy about certain details.
- Time it right: Choose a time when you’re relaxed and free and pick a time to talk when people are not rushed or distracted. Make sure it is a private place where you won’t feel embarrassed to show emotion. Before you initiate the conversation, make a plan for yourself about what you’d like to discuss.
- Let them know how they can support you: whether you want phone calls, questions, etc. Explain that you may need a break from family gatherings and that it isn’t about them—it’s about using your energy wisely. Tell them that you will share results about a treatment or procedure when you feel up to it, and not to ask about pregnancy tests or treatment results.
- Other people’s experiences: Try to access other people’s experiences of infertility and treatment, by whatever route (online support groups, face to face groups, colleagues), was often very valuable. You also have the option to tell everyone about your infertility struggles. You might make the announcement on social media, or you might have a “trying to conceive” blog you write.
There are pros and cons to being 100 percent open. Some of the biggest benefits are getting support from many people, the ability to share your struggles without fear of "being found out,". Plus, when you speak out about infertility, you're advocating for the entire “trying to conceive” community. That's a big deal.
On the other hand, you also have to be ready to deal with inappropriate comments and people who don't know how to handle these subjects in a sensitive way.