TALKING ABOUT INFERTILITY
Very often, when couples first start noticing difficulty in trying to conceive, they observe what other people notice as well. "Don't you want to have kids?" or "As soon as you stop worrying about it, you'll get pregnant" are common statements that our patients hear. Questions and statements like these, while perhaps well intentioned, can sometimes be very hurtful. Sometimes, when coping with infertility, it may seem that all of your friends are getting pregnant. If only other people knew what you were feeling and experiencing, or at least knew to respect what you'd rather not share?
One of the most helpful organizations for people who are facing challenges in building their families is RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association. RESOLVE has five infertility peer-led support groups, and four professionally led support groups right here in the San Francisco Bay Area. They also have useful online resources including tips for talking about infertility with friends, family and co-workers.
Here are seven tips from RESOLVE on how to talk about infertility with family and friends, if you decide to do so. If you're not sure if you event want to have a conversation with your friends or familiy members about your family-building journey, you can ask yourself these four questions about talking with friends during infertility and fertility challenges.
IT'S OKAY TO SET YOUR OWN TERMS
Maintaining a level of privacy is perfectly normal and dignified; it should never be mistaken for secrecy. RESOLVE outlines some steps that allow you to contain the flow of where your conversation does and doesn’t go.
- Decide how much detail you and your partner want to share. Respect each other's need for privacy about certain details.
- It may help to rehearse exactly what you are going to say. Decide on specific words or phrases to use, such as “infertility” or "we are trying to get pregnant and seem to be having a problem".
- Pick a time to talk when people are not rushed or distracted. Make sure it is a private place where you won’t feel embarrassed to show emotion.
- Explain that infertility is a life crisis, and that 1 in 8 couples, or more than 7 million people experience it
- Let them know how they can support you—whether you want phone calls, questions, etc.
- Explain that you may need a break from family gatherings, and that it isn't about them—it’s about using your energy wisely.
- Tell them that you will share results about a treatment or procedure when you feel up to it, and not to ask about pregnancy tests or treatment results.
THERE ARE MORE RESOURCES AVAILABLE:
Infertility isn't anything to be embarrassed about, it's a serious medical issue that you should feel free to share as much or as little as you choose. Taking advantage of the knowledge of experts and resources like RESOLVE can help you feel more comfortable and in control. If you'd like to empower yourself with more information on how to manage your family-building conversation with loved ones and co-workers, click on the button below to download our free mini e-book, "How to Talk to Friends and Family About Infertility".