Going through infertility can be isolating and scary!
I know first hand what it is like.
Everyone around you seems to get pregnant at a drop of the hat.
Everywhere you go you see pregnant women.
Baby shower invitations seem to be coming to you daily.
Phone calls of excited friends with baby announcements, make you want to crawl under the covers and never come up for air.
Whether you share you infertility struggle with family or friends is completely up to you! You may need to protect yourself for now and you can share you struggle when you are ready. Either way no judgement!
Tips for what to do when family and friends just don't understand!
Decide what you need. Yes this may seem selfish or self absorbed, but really honour how you are feeling and get clear on what is right for you. This is actually practicing self love and acceptance. When you discover what is right for you during your journey to have a baby, you can take steps to make it happen. Maybe right now you don't want to be around couples that have young children. That's okay! You'll be around them when you can. Maybe you feel better being around couples with older children. Or being around people that don't have children makes you feel better.
Educate. Yes, its time to educate the people close to you about what it is like to go through infertility. Know that some people simply aren't ready to hear what you have to say, so be sure to select a trusted empathetic friend or family member. For people that haven't been through infertility they don't understand the ups and downs. The jealousy that hits you like a slap in the face. The sleepless nights, the wondering if you will ever be a parent. Infertility is a disease and there is no shame in it. You can share about the emotional impact it has on all aspects of your life. You can share about the fertility drugs and the visits to doctors appointments. You may feel like your body has failed you. If you feel uncomfortable talking about it, that's okay too. Do what feels right for you and follow your intuition. Know that sometimes speaking the words out loud makes them less scary.
Communicate. Let people know how you want them to handle pregnancy announcements, shower invitations and discussions about their children. Being up front with how you feel allows you to set boundaries for yourself and protect yourself. It is very courageous to allow yourself to be vulnerable, while still asking for what you need. Tell your friends that it may be better to leave their pregnancy announcement on your voicemail so you can listen when you are ready. Let your friends know that you simply can't go to any baby showers right now, because it is too painful. Tell them you love them, but you need to honour what is right for you right now. Tell them being around their children is hard and that right now you aren't ready. These conversations can be difficult, but when you honour your values of being kind to yourself and respectful of what you need, it is coming from a place of love. Your friends or family may be disappointed, but this is not about pleasing someone else, it is about setting your boundaries and doing what is best for you. For some people this may be the first time they have ever put themselves first. Self love is like a muscle, the more you exercise or practice it, the stronger it becomes.
Adult only activities. Arrange to go out with other couples who may not have kids or have older kids that can stay with a babysitter. Although, it can feel like isolating yourself from everyone is the only way, making sure you have a support system around you can be very important. You don't need to talk about your infertility journey, if you don't want to, you can go out and have some fun. This may help to strengthen the bond between you and your partner as infertility can be hard on a relationship. Often couples who have gone through infertility do come out stronger. So call up a friend and book a double date! If you don't feel like company, you can go out with your partner and do things that you love. Sometimes infertility takes up our whole lives and we forget what we loved to do with our partner. Rekindle your love and spend some time together either going for a walk, to the movies or out for dinner.
Know that where ever you are in your infertility journey, you are not alone. Infertility affects 1 in 6 people. You may even find that Aunt you have, who never had children, struggled just like you.
Knowledge without action is meaningless. What is one action step you can take?
Sarah Clark empowers couples to discover how lifestyle and diet can dramatically impact their chances of conceiving. She was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure at 28 and had both her kids with donor eggs. Not until years later did she discover that the root cause of her infertility was a food intolerance. Ready to gaze into your baby's eyes....but struggling. Download 10 step Checklist here
Reference - Alice Domar - Conquering Infertility