Friday, December 31, 2010

Are your friends IVF Friendly?

The last couple of weeks have catapulted us deeper into the world of IF, and specifically IVF, faster than we had anticipated. This sudden change has much of our spare energy and brain time thinking and talking about this new detour in our journey to TTC.

As such, we are sharing varying degrees of this chapter of the journey with friends and family. As it was before with trying to get pregnant in the early days, repeat miscarriages, and infertility, we share more with some people and less with others.

There is my friend that knows every detail of my miscarriages and has been a great support. There is the dear friend who has shared a very similar path and knows all the IF lingo, goes to my same clinic, and is a great resource. There are family members that know bits and pieces- we share what we have the energy to share at any given conversation. And there are the friends that know nothing or almost nothing of our journey.

I have found it interesting as we now enter our IVF chapter that the unspoken rules and reactions from friends and family are changing a bit with some people. Some of our family and friends that I felt comfortable baring all to in the past, I don't feel as comfortable any more. One friend in particular, who has been a non-judgmental, well informed, eager learner throughout our TTC so far, seems to have changed the playing field now that IVF is our new reality. I'm don't know why she is pulling away, nor will I probably ever fully understand- but it has me taking a mental note that as we dive into IVF, not everyone is going to be IVF friendly friends. And predicting which friends will be is proving to be even harder.

On the flip side, I have two friends in my life that have been the most unexpected friends to rise to the occasion to be there for us right now. Both friends are as fertile as can be. (No, I am serious- we are talking fertile!) Both friends have very limited knowledge about IVF. They know about "test tube" babies, "petrie dishes", Oct.omom, and & K.ate plus8 (who by the way used IUIs not IVF). But I have to say, that these two friends have brought me to tears and to laughter in the last few weeks as they have sincerely offered support in their own ways. When it comes down to it, hands down I know their love for me as a friend. And that goes a long way to overlooking some of the comments that from others may sound ignorant or judgmental. But there has not been an ounce of judgment in anything they have said or done so far. They are eager to learn the ins and outs, and yet respectful of our boundaries. And I just wasn't expecting to have so much support from them. Because on the surface, they just don't seem like they would be very IVF friendly friends. They really don't "get" IF or IVF, and yet they are surprising me in so many ways.

No matter how careful I am to choose who we share with and how much we share, I know that it is still possible we will be unexpectedly hurt by some friends and possibly unintentionally hurt others. IVF, and all of its onion peel layers yet to be removed, is a hot button in our society. It is misunderstood, debated, disputed, condemned, and oversimplified. There is just no getting around it. It stirs up value debates around ethics, financial responsibility, ethics of clinical business practices, adoption, faith, God's will, and plain ol' personal choice. Add to that that we are stepping into the midst of that onion, with our own layers of complexities. ..namely three years of loss, three years of hoping beyond hope, and now- IVF.

My hope during this chapter is for me to find the strength and compassion to speak about our choice to conceive through IVF. I hope that through our openness others it might give others space to reflect on this complicated decision. Not everyone has to agree with us, nor do I expect IVF to be the right decision for all people. But I hope to find the words to speak honestly about why this is the right decision for us. And maybe, just maybe, we might help to nurture a few more people into more "IVF friendly" friends for others some day.


  1. I will say one can understand what the IF journey is like until they walk it, step by rocky step. It's times like these when you find out who your friends are.

    And you are right, not everyone is going to be IVF friendly, but its mostly due to lack of knowledge on their part. Others don't offer support because they just don't know what to say and instead say nothing. To an infertile that comes across as insensitive. I've been there and can honestly say that one of my dearest friends hurt me the most. She was the one that I knew would be my cheerleader. Instead, she never shook a poom poom. Talk about disappointing and has strained our friendship. When I became pregnant she came back on board. I don't understand why, other than dealing with a friend struggeling was just more than she could bear. Or, as my therapist said, perhaps it reminded her of her own loss. So, I don't hold judgement, I just surround myself with those who love me and encourage me on.

    As you say, its those who we least think will be there that are front and center.

    Blessings to you as you enter the IVF world. There is immense support in this community and we will all be praying for your miracle.

  2. We were very blessed that the family and friends we did tell were very supportive of our IVF journey. Most did not have knowledge of the process but were willing to ask questions and learn about what we were going to embark on. Having to explain the process over and over again begins to grow tiring though!

    Best of luck. I hope your friends and family help you get through.

  3. I think it's great you are being so open in your journey. I never talked about it with my friends. I guess this really shows you who your true friends are. Good luck and happy new year!

  4. Such a thoughtful post. I definitely agree with Andrea here -- no one understands unless they have walked that same path. I hope you continue to find more friends who support your decisions and offer encouragement. While I haven't experienced IVF, I do know that IF can be a lonely road.
    Wishing you all the best in this new year!