Three Steps to Organized Fertility Treatments

Three Steps to Organized Fertility Treatments

fertility treatments are so time sensitive

What to do to manage the stress of such a strict schedule

Fertility treatments are often time-sensitive and grow increasingly frequent as you reach certain points in your treatment cycle.

You already have waves of emotional overload and self-criticism (maybe even added tension with your partner) sloshing around in your head, and now the doctor expects you to be able to keep all of these needles and mixing meds straight?!?

You’re not sure if it’s the hormones or the fears, but you are having more and more of a hard time holding it all together

Why am I so overwhelmed? I’m usually so organized.

You pride yourself in being put-together and organized, so this out-of-control feeling is really uncomfortable.

Plus, so much of your energy is going toward just holding it together long enough to get through the next work meeting without feeling like you’re about to lose your sh*t.

The last thing you need taking up space in your brain is a long list of to-dos, meds, appointments, and a laundry list of questions

Print this inforgraphic for tips

Download and print out these three easy steps to help you stay organized with fertility treatment so you can feel free to focus on the hope and joy that comes with growing your family

find a therapist for infertility

The following therapists at The Joy Effect offer counseling support during infertility.  Click on each name to read more about the therapist.

Carolyn Robistow | Carla Litzsey

 

How to Support a Friend Through Infertility

How to Support a Friend Through Infertility

brace yourself. it’s a long post.

Her secret fears when she’s trying to be social during fertility treatments

You want to help…you want to say the right thing to let her know you care about her and want to support her and help her feel hopeful…. but all these blog posts on what not to do make it seem like no matter what you say, it’ll be wrong, and she’ll be offended…or worse, burst into tears.
 
Hopefully this list gives you get an understanding of what she’s going through…to take a few steps in her shoes, if you will.  Empathy is a pretty powerful tool.

she’s not sure how to say this to you

Rather than list all the things that will bring her to tears, I’m going to tell you the top unspoken fears for women who are in the midst of infertility.

I compiled this list by asking women who are at the end of a frustrating first year of trying to conceive naturally, women who have or experienced medical interventions such as NaPro, IUI, or IVF, and women who have experienced the pain and grief of miscarriage.

Each experience is painful in its own way, but certain fears stood out as almost universal for these women. (And in case you’re wondering, yes, there were men involved in this poll… but that’s a whole other post…this one is long enough as is).

what women said is most upsetting about infertility

Written for anyone trying to show love and support for a woman facing infertility

1. She’s worried the only conversation at social events will revolve around children, and she will have nothing meaningful to contribute. 

Not only were the women I polled worried about the “so when are you having kids?” question, but almost more so they fear being in a group where all conversation revolves around experiences unique to parenting and momming so hard. 

How can you help?

Casually bring up a topic of conversation you know she can relate to.

2. She won’t be able to control her emotions if something does hit her in a painful spot. 

This one applies especially to the women whose bodies are either being pumped full of hormones or trying to regulate after an unsuccessful treatment or miscarriage.

Those hormones are no joke. She knows she’s more emotional than usual, but it’s just so dang hard to stop it once it starts, even for the most rational of women.

How can you help?

This one is a “just know that’s what it feels like” and maybe offer a hug or ask if she wants to be alone for a minute.

Patience and empathy are really the only tools you have for this one.

3. People will assume she either does or does not want to hold all the babies. This is where communication is key.

She’s not sure how she’ll feel in the moment when a baby is passed her way (see fear number 2), and she is also worried about offending the baby mama if she just isn’t up for it right now.

Add on the fear that the baby will cry and everyone will silently think “that’s why she can’t have kids, she’s obviously not fit for it,” and the heaviness of being handed a baby is exacerbated. 

How can you help?

Ask her if she wants to hold the baby, and if she says “yes,” pass that bundle over, if she says “no,” then move on to the next spare set of hands who might be waiting for a turn.

No biggie.

If you’re not the baby mama, let her know that if she doesn’t feel like baby-holding yet somehow ended up with one (it happens more than you think), she can always call on you to come take the baby for some cuddles…like you’re her wingman.

4. She won’t get invited to the social functions that center around children’s activities, which means she’ll be the only one of her friends not there.

You might think she’s not interested in the trip to the zoo or Santa’s Wonderland with everyone having kids in tow.

But when the entire group gets together and she’s not invited, it can leave her feeling left behind.

That being said, she’s also scared that if she says no out of fear number 2, you’ll stop inviting her. 

How can you help?

Invite her, but subtly include the detail that this is a kid-centered event so she’s able to make an informed decision.

Let her know you think it would be fun to have her there (so she doesn’t think it’s a pity invite).

If she says, no, keep her on the invite list for next time unless she specifically asks you to stop inviting her to kid-centered events.

5. She’s worried every social function will be a mommy-baby event, and she’ll be a perpetual fifth wheel.

Yes, this is similar to number 4, but not quite the same.

Sure, she might need the invite to kid-friendly functions, but she also wants some adult-only time with her friends when you aren’t consistently distracted by making sure your kid isn’t eating dirt (let’s be real, so do you, but it’s hard to find the time to make it happen). 

How can you help?

Take the initiative to text the group, suggest going in together on a sitter to save money, and plan a girls’ (or couples’) night out or offer to host (but ditto on the sitter elsewhere).

6. People will avoid her if she feels like talking about her experience (or think she’s a drama queen, Debbie downer, etc.).
There isn’t really a time limit on grief, and what she’s experiencing is grief.
It’s on her mind more often than she cares to admit (especially if she’s having to live by the calendar), and while sometimes talking about it is painful, at other times it can be healing. 

How can you help?

Tell her that you know some days will be harder than others, and even if it’s years down the road, you’ll still be an open ear and shoulder to cry on if she just needs to let it out.
** If you truly think she’s struggling to deal with her experience in a healthy way, there are loving ways to suggest she seek help from a counselor or support group**
 

7. Her family and friends are disappointed in her every time it doesn’t work OR judging her and her partner for the methods/timeline/cost/etc. of the route they have chosen to go.

This one rang especially true for women who were the first or only woman in that generation of the family to try to have children.

You want her to know you’re excited and supportive of her journey, and sometimes that taps into to her fear that you’ll be disappointed in her if she doesn’t make you a grandparent/aunt/ uncle/etc. 

This includes fear of feeback if she and her partner choose a treatment or timeline that you think is …well…not what you would have chosen.

**This one was a biggie for women going through secondary infertility (when the struggles begin while trying to conceive after minimal difficulty or complications with a first child).

How can you help?

This response varied somewhat from woman to woman.

About half wanted you to still be excited and buy her baby things to show your hopefulness and be positive.

The other half felt like the baby gifts and excited requests of “any news???” added to the pressure and increased the fear of disappointing you.

First of all, let her know that you understand none of their decisions were made lightly.

Secondly, ask her (or her partner if you don’t feel comfortable asking her directly) how she feels about you buying baby gifts while she’s trying to conceive.

At worst, you can still buy them and just hold onto them until the time is right.

  1. People won’t know what to say, so they won’t say anything at all, and she’ll be alone.

A fear for anyone who is grieving any loss.

She wants you to know that it’s okay to take a respectful interest in her struggle.

She is probably going to a TON of appointments and getting a TON of ultrasounds and lab results with milestones and measurements to meet along the way.

She wants to know she’s not walking this road alone (yes, her partner is there, but partners often have worries and experiences of their own and can struggle to be the only source of support or outlet for the other).

She also wants you to know that by bringing it up, you aren’t reminding her of it… it’s frequently on her mind anyway.

How can you help?

Tell her you love her, mark down any notable dates she tells you, and reach out to her on those dates.

You don’t need to say anything other than “thinking of you today” (as opposed to “how did it go?”).

Know that whether she responds with details or just a “thank you,” she genuinely appreciates the thought.

that was a lot of information

You’ve probably noticed by now, being the intuitive and loving friend or family member you are … most of her fears involve being judged, alone, or left behind.
Even knowing that those are the themes behind her biggest fears, you have some insight into the side of infertility that she might not know how to share with you.

I applaud you for being so interested in supporting her that you read this whole thing! She is lucky to have you. Hugs.

find a therapist for infertility

Whether you’re dealing with infertility and reading this to see if it’s something you want to share with your friends and family, or you are the friend or family member concerned for her, counseling can help with the grief and fears that are an unfortunately normal part of the fertility journey.

The following therapists at The Joy Effect currently work with mental wellness during infertility.  Click on each name to read more about the therapist.

Carolyn Robistow | Carla Litzsey