When you embark on your IVF journey emotions may overwhelm you. Your wellbeing is of the utmost importance, especially now. But between your anxiety and the medication to ramp up your hormones you feel out of sorts and probably in need of a friend, a cupcake and a box of tissues.
Understandably, going through your IVF journey makes you feel more vulnerable. Your fears about the outcome, stress about the process and overall anxiety probably makes you a little less open with your circle. It’s an emotional subject so that’s understandable. But let’s face it; you’re in need of some support from your family and friends.
5 Tips on How to Talk to Your Family and Friends About Your IVF Journey
The major impediment, your own reluctance aside, to talking to family and friends about your IVF journey is their response. After all, if they haven’t experienced infertility or gone through IVF they have no idea what you’re dealing with. In fact, sometimes the avalanche of unsolicited advice is overwhelming. Especially as you ride the rollercoaster of emotion that accompanies your journey. Here we offer 5 tips on how to talk to your family (and friends) about your IVF journey.
- Be Judicious
People don’t always know how to react to a friend’s IVF treatment. The last thing you want is someone who, for whatever reason, looks down on your choice of treatment or offers some unfounded concerns. You already have a wonderful fertility specialist and team. You don’t need any further “medical” advice.
Reflect on your people. You’ve known your inner circle long enough to understand who has your back and who is likely to flake. When you choose to open up to someone about your IVF journey be sure they put your emotional well-being front and center. Telling your parents seems the first step, however only if they receive your news in a positive way-no judgement and no over-advising. Telling siblings depends on your relationship. Sharing with a sister or sister-in-law who has no trouble conceiving and is only too happy to flaunt it may not be the wisest choice. But if your sibling is your go-to person then share your news with them.
- It’s Not Necessary to Share Everything
Sometimes it’s best to approach family and friends with a “need to know” rule. If you and your mother, or your partners mother are very close then they probably already know about your fertility struggles. But you don’t want to share any information regarding your personal journey and open the door for incessant questions, texts and phone calls. No matter how well-intentioned. Some information worth keeping to yourself including-
- Details of your diagnosis. It’s really no one’s business.
- Details of your IVF treatment. You probably want a support person you can turn to, but you shouldn’t broadcast every detail about your IVF journey to everyone.
- Your pregnancy status. Just as anyone who receives a positive pregnancy test result you would love to shout it from the rooftops. But keep yourself in check. Make sure your pregnancy is healthy and sound and wait until you feel comfortable. Likewise, if your IVF treatment is unsuccessful this time, you needn’t let everyone know. Maybe just a carefully chosen few.
- Open Up Comfortably
Once you decide who you’ll include in your circle of support, open yourself up to their concerns. Your family and friends surely have a lot of questions. If they are uncomfortable asking questions initially, share some things like how you feel physically and emotionally, explain some of the realities of IVF but only share what you’re comfortable sharing. Set boundaries.
- If You’re Comfortable, Ask Them to An Appointment
Having a support person along on your appointments eases some of your anxiety. Sometimes those going through the IVF journey feel a little isolated. Depending on the purpose for your appointment, make a day of it. Go to lunch, do some shoe-shopping or just go for a walk in nature and share the day. This benefits you and shines a light on your experience for better understanding on their part.
- Feel Free to Change the Conversation
For the sake of your emotional well-being, you must set boundaries. When the conversation becomes uncomfortable or you’re peppered with too many questions simply change the subject. Let them know you don’t mind talking about your IVF journey but you don’t want your experience at the center of every conversation.
You Are in Control
Ultimately you are in control of the narrative. When you and your partner receive a diagnosis of infertility, any subsequent treatment is yours and yours alone. You decide who gets to know.For those who have a difficult time getting support, you may benefit from an IVF support group. If your family and friends are unable to provide anything more than stress consider talking to a therapist or counselor as you navigate your IVF journey.
For more information on treatment for infertility, as well as support form our team of compassionate specialists, contact LA IVF. We’ll help you all along the journey.