Struggling with infertility can bring up lots of different emotions, ranging from hope one minute to heartbreak the next, and it’s very difficult for people who haven’t experienced it to understand the depths of these emotions and the impact they have on day to day life.
While people around us may sympathise with us going through a challenging time, they can’t fully empathise, and the lack of understanding can mean that they don’t really know how to support you. They may feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject or be afraid to say the wrong thing to you, which means you don’t always get the support you need and want.
The best way to get the support you need is to ask for it… tell your loved ones how you are feeling, help them understand what it is like to be in your shoes and tell them how they can help you.
- Pick the right moment to start the conversation - somewhere that you both feel comfortable and you won’t be interrupted, so that you can talk openly and honestly about how you are feeling.
- Explain to them how you are feeling - be honest, they will only understand how they can support you if they fully understand how you are feeling.
- Direct them to information so they can learn about the medical side of IVF - they will be better able to support you if they understand the physical and emotional impact of IVF, what the process involves and the chances of it working.
- Encourage questions to help their understanding, but set boundaries about what you are happy to discuss, to protect your own emotional wellbeing. You may also want to say that you’d rather them not ask you all the time how it is going, and that you would prefer to tell them things as and when you are ready.
- Tell them how you would like to be supported - your loved ones will want to support you but may not know how best to do it. Tell them how you would like to be supported, whether that is being there as a listening ear, practical support around appointments and procedures, or just provide a welcome distraction when you are feeling down.
- Direct them to the Leeaf app, they can find lots of information on IVF and also get advice from our blog ‘How to support a loved one through IVF’.
These conversations may feel difficult and awkward to start with, but they are essential for getting the support you need whilst going through treatment. You don’t need to go through it alone, those around you may just need a bit of help understanding how to support you.