Support From Family & Friends During Infertility Treatment

Posted by on Nov 6, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments

One of the many challenges people like you face when making decisions about family building options, or going through treatment is the type of “support” they receive from family and friends that know they are trying to have a baby.   Often, those that are closest unknowingly say and do things that are insensitive and hurtful.  They ask inappropriate questions, and often times give advice that is not wanted or helpful.

There are many ways to respond to friends and loved ones when you feel hurt, sad, or angry because of something they have said or done.  You may avoid phone calls or texts, or think of excuses to not see or communicate with them.  You isolate yourself and stay home more so you don’t have to see pregnant friends or family, or hear about their pregnancy stories.  Worst of all, you criticize and judge yourself when you feel sad or angry because of your friends and family.  You tell yourself things like, “ I should be happy that my sister-in-law got pregnant on her honeymoon,” or, “My mom means well when she tells me to relax and quit worrying about getting pregnant.”

These types of responses only make you feel worse, and leave you feeling more alone and isolated than you did when you first learned that you were going to have to build your family in non-traditional ways.  The examples given are ways that people like you respond because it is a natural reaction to retreat and protect when you feel vulnerable and scared.  It is important to know there are other ways to respond that can help you actually feel supported and empowered.

First, accept that your friends and family probably do not know very much about infertility.   If they have never been through infertility personally, they truly don’t know what you are experiencing.  They likely want to help you feel better and don’t know how.

Secondly, lighten up on yourself!!  You are going through one of the most difficult life experiences possible, and it is “normal” to feel a whole host of difficult emotions, including anger at family and friends when they are insensitive or intrusive.  Even if it is not their intention to hurt you, the fact is they do, and it certainly is not your fault.  In fact, it is nobody’s fault! It is simply a lack of information and communication that creates such difficult dynamics.

For more information about how to gain support from family and friends while going through infertility, here is a page from the RESOLVE:  The National Infertility Association website I think you will find helpful.  I would welcome the opportunity to visit with you; simply call me at Complementary Care Group at 913-515-7338.  In addition, I lead monthly Infertility Support Groups; held at my Overland Park office.

*image courtesy of woodleywonderworks / creative commons–friends/infertility-etiquette.html