Talking about infertility emotions seems to be one of the last taboos in this age of oversharing but a sympathetic friend can help immensely.
Talking About Infertility Emotions Can Help People Deal with Their Fertility Journey
Talking about infertility emotions seems to be one of the last taboos in this age of oversharing. It makes you wonder why that would be, after all it’s a medical condition, not a personal failing. However, a personal failing is how many infertile people view the issue and it’s one of the reasons they don’t share their infertility and the fact that they’re going through fertility treatments.
Many infertile people don’t want to share their fertility journey with anyone beyond a small circle, sometimes only their spouse or partner. They already feel inadequate and other people asking about “the problem,” or giving unwanted advice, makes them feel even more inadequate. Being asked frequently “How’s it going, are you pregnant yet?” will make people withdraw more since the subject can be very painful when the answer is, yet again, “no.” Intrusive questions like “Have you tried standing on your head, it worked for my wife’s cousin’s aunt?” or “Who has the problem, you or your spouse?” “Do you want to take my kids for a while?” or “Why don’t you just relax, maybe take a vacation?” are not only insensitive but also make it seem like the questioner is trivializing the problem. By the time people are going through fertility treatments they’ve already gone through the “take your temperature and relax” routine, plus many others, and they didn’t work.
People tend to trivialize things they don’t understand completely or things that make them uncomfortable, infertility often covers both. For people going through fertility treatment in hopes of having what most people take for granted, a baby, the subject isn’t trivial. As a matter of fact, it’s consuming their entire life both physically and emotionally. Between tests, shots, mood swings, appointments, schedules and financing the whole thing infertility can take over your life. Infertility emotions are running high at this point and when people hold all the stress inside it makes their life much harder. On the other hand, talking to people about it, especially if the subject makes people uncomfortable and they don’t know what to say, can be extremely stressful as well. People who haven’t been through it won’t totally understand the pain, worry and frustration their friends or relatives are going through but there are ways they can help by talking about infertility emotions.
When someone confides in you that they’re infertile and going through fertility treatment they are often confiding a deeply held secret, this is very personal to them and not something to be taken lightly. It’s a sacred confidence not to be shared except with people you really trust and only with the consent of the person going through the treatment. Their emotions are running high at this point, one of the best things you can do when discussing infertility emotions is to listen carefully and be supportive. Sympathize with what they’re going through and ask if there’s anything you can do to help but don’t offer unrequested advice or stories about other people who had trouble getting pregnant. Just being there to listen and offering to help with driving, other children, errands, etc. will assist your friend and make her feel loved.
After the initial reticence to discuss what’s going on many people feel a huge sense of relief after they confide in someone about their infertility emotions. Often the person will know someone else, or themselves, who have gone through the same thing and can be sympathetic. Having other people around who understand what you’re going through is a huge relief to the infertile person, it stops you from feeling so alone, so different, so incomplete. Another excellent source of support is an infertility support group, either online or locally, a community of people going through the infertility emotions roller coaster as well. The fertility clinic should be able to put patients in touch with such a group, if there is one locally, or possibly put them in touch with another patient or patients going through the same process. Having “fertility buddies” to process infertility emotions with can be a great help when the infertile person is trying to stay sane and focused.
The last thing a person discussing infertility emotions wants to hear is how having a baby isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and they might be happier without children. Anyone who gets to the point of undergoing fertility treatment, especially invasive procedures like IVF, desperately wants to have a child. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be going through all of this. Infertile people often feel like failures in life because they can’t do what so many people do so easily, get pregnant. Don’t offer them your kids or tell them to relax, this is not going to help and will probably make them feel worse. Talk about the infertility emotions sympathetically and offer to do what you can, your friend or relative will probably love you for just listening unconditionally.
About the Author
Sophie Yang is a passionate writer who loves writing about the reproductive system and what all treatments are available for infertility. Through her writings and blogs, she aims to spread awareness among as many people as possible about this. Sophie works at Fertile, a well known clinic for egg donation in California, as an infertility specialist. When she is not writing or working, you can find her gardening, making pancakes.