Support network: surround yourself with people who care
Deciding whether to share your news
Your first thought may be to keep details of your fertility treatment private. It’s a reasonable expectation given how stressful and invasive tests can be. Hopes of finding a quick solution may be replaced with uncertainty. You may want to keep matters to yourselves until you know what’s going on. But there are many good reasons to also reach out for support.
- Your treatment journey may be less stressful. Fertility treatment triggers strong emotions. Hiding your situation may only add to the burden. A number of people close to you will be glad to provide support.
- Sharing your feelings may relieve your partner. Your partner will find it easier to cope if he’s not the only outlet for your emotions. After all, he has a lot to process too.
- You’ll realise you’re far from alone. One in ten couples experience difficulties with conception. Millions of people go through treatment every year. Patient groups offer many kinds of support. They include people like yourselves and others who’ve been through fertility treatment and now want to offer insight.
- Professional counsellors can offer practical suggestions to lesson your stress. Your doctor can put you in touch with a psychologist specialising in fertility issues. You may want to go alone or together with your partner.
- Internet forums and trusted websites like this one where you can learn more about conception difficulties and treatment.
|Often, the most stressful stage of the treatment cycle is the 14-day period between ovulation and when you test for pregnancy. Try to stay busy and schedule a variety of activities. Find out what you can do while you’re waiting.|
Communicating your expectations
Unless you’ve been through fertility treatment, it’s difficult to understand how distressing it can be. People around you may not know what to say and be wary of upsetting you. Your best course is to let people you feel comfortable with know how they can help. Here are a few tips you may find helpful:
- Decide as a couple how much you want to share. Speak to your partner and set privacy boundaries. Discuss how much detail you’re willing to share and with whom. Share only what feels comfortable. You don’t owe anyone an explanation: if friends genuinely want more information, direct them to websites like this.
- Have some responses prepared. You may not always feel you can face another round of enquiries. Have a few short answers ready, like we’ll keep you posted, or you’ll be the first to know – responses that don’t require a follow up question.
- Adjust your expectations. Friends and family who care about your wellbeing will want to support you and say the right thing. Sometimes, their efforts may seem clumsy, despite their best intentions.
|Infertility is a sensitive subject and many people may not know how to react. Some may think you expect advice and solutions. Others may think you want to discuss your feelings and treatment whenever you meet. Guide the conversation and help them avoid topics that may be hurtful or make you feel uncomfortable. Feel free to say you’re not in the mood for an emotional chat and ask what’s new with them.|
It may help if you can talk to your friends and family about the role they can play. Some friends may be good listeners. Others may be top of your list to have fun when you need it most. Think of what you expect from your support network and let them know.
Draw up a list of activities in reserve so you don’t have to think hard if you’re feeling low. Develop some routines that help you balance your life. Set days when you want to go for a walk, or spend time at the gym, have brunch, an afternoon shopping or a trip to the cinema.
|Use as many sources of support as you feel comfortable with. Each will have something different to offer and you will find what works for you best.|