Sharing your journey with others: family, friends, co-workers...

Posted by loren12 @loren12, Wed, Nov 13 11:24am

Hello! How did you guys handle sharing with family/friends while you walked/are walking this infertility journey? Did you find it went well or was it more of a frustrating experience? Did you tell people from the beginning of your journey or did you tend to keep it more private?

Great topic! I'm tagging @abcdefghi @doglover14 @fishing2990 @phoenixzip @minnesotamrsa and @paddingtonk to bring them into this discussion.

@loren12, do you mind kicking off the conversation? What choices did you make to tell or not tell? Who did you decide to tell or have to tell? Looking back, what might you have done differently?

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From the beginning of our infertility journey we knew how we were going to handle sharing this information. Due to my past medical issues I already had a great team in my life that prayed for me, encouraged me, supported me and just loved me. I had shared my journey with this group of people from the beginning and knew that they were the ones I wanted to include as we moved forward into this next chapter of the journey. My husband was new to this as we were only married last year and we had more of a discussion about who on his "side" we would share this with. It came down to this one question, "Who would we want to have supporting us if things didn't go well?" Those were the people we included. The same people who would help pick us up in the bad times were the people we wanted included throughout the whole process.

Telling wasn't the real "issue", it was dealing with the responses or lack of. I 100% understand that unless you have gone thru this experience you are not going to know what to say, how to act, what to ask etc but sometimes that was still a source of frustration for me. I wanted people to understand simply because I was feeling very lonely in it. My eyes were definitely opened to the way I was able to really lean into some people more than others and sometimes that was a source of sadness and feeling let down because it surprised me who those people were and who they weren't.

I don't regret a thing about our decision and I highly encourage everyone to have a small group, at least, around them to be there for the good and to help pick you up when things don't go as well. No one should have to go thru this alone or feeling alone.

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We are only sharing with our parents. It so difficult to know what to share with people. If something goes wrong we don’t want to make people sad but I am not a person that can suffer my grief in quiet. I depend on my family to help me get through things. So I figure we tell the people that we would tell if something went wrong.

Liked by loren12

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The best (yet at times the hardest) thing I’ve done is be OVER-open about our struggles. I also need the support from friends and family, but by being open I’ve come to find so many other people who have dealt with the same thing (coworkers, friends of friends, etc.). Telling work has been extremely helpful because when I’m gone for a week at a time doing monitoring and retrieval, I have a group of cheerleaders willing to help out in any way and are way more understanding than if I just said “personal leave” (I’m a teacher so we need a lot of support anyway!). The hard part about over-sharing is people feel comfortable giving unsolicited advice constantly. But lately I’ve been using this as a teachable moment…recently my husband’s boss’s wife downright argued with me about how to fix my infertility with diet. And I finally told her that I’m not out there giving advice to people with cancer because I’ve never been through it so she shouldn’t be doling it out either if she’s never been through it. After 5 1/2 years I’m done with just smiling and saying “thanks”.

Liked by paddingtonk

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I think there is a difference between telling and support. Telling is the giving of information while support is telling and expecting something back…or something like that.

For example – Telling. I have told many of my coworkers. The rationale being that sometimes at work, I am not always 100%. Whether due from the latest med side effect or crazy emotions dealing with the 2ww or after, I sometimes need to walk a little slower or need that extra space to breathe. I have found this VERY helpful as it takes the pressure off of having to pretend everything is normal when sometimes it isn't. Additionally, *some* of my coworkers have come along side me and asked how they can support me which has deepened these relationships and slowly are starting to become more supportive. Like @paddingtonk I am not someone who can "suffer my grief in quiet". When I am hurting and not myself, it is nice for people to know and to not suffer grief in quiet.

Support – This is a different and deeper level then telling because I not only share what is going on but also how I feel about it. I only have a few people I truly look to for support as I have found unfortunately many of those who I thought would be more on the "supportive side" tended to be more harmful (aka @minnesotamrsa 's comment above about diets). Mostly parents and husband (as he doesn't really get an option, comes with the job title!)

Liked by paddingtonk

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I just flat out shared with whomever I wanted to. I’m a big open book and there isn’t much that rattles my cage. I have an excellent support system and it’s bigger than I ever knew. When I shared with some co-workers that I was about to go through IVF, I found out a bunch had been through it to. It was so great to be able to ask questions, swap stories, and vent to anyone who has been through the process. My friends, family, and other co-workers were all supportive and asked me lots of questions simply because they want to gain understanding. It’s awesome to know that no matter what happens, they will be there.

Liked by paddingtonk

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@minnesotamrsa

The best (yet at times the hardest) thing I’ve done is be OVER-open about our struggles. I also need the support from friends and family, but by being open I’ve come to find so many other people who have dealt with the same thing (coworkers, friends of friends, etc.). Telling work has been extremely helpful because when I’m gone for a week at a time doing monitoring and retrieval, I have a group of cheerleaders willing to help out in any way and are way more understanding than if I just said “personal leave” (I’m a teacher so we need a lot of support anyway!). The hard part about over-sharing is people feel comfortable giving unsolicited advice constantly. But lately I’ve been using this as a teachable moment…recently my husband’s boss’s wife downright argued with me about how to fix my infertility with diet. And I finally told her that I’m not out there giving advice to people with cancer because I’ve never been through it so she shouldn’t be doling it out either if she’s never been through it. After 5 1/2 years I’m done with just smiling and saying “thanks”.

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@minnesotamrsa good for you for sticking up for yourself! I completely agree with the positive and helpful feedback from many when we have shared. Sharing does give you that awesome sense of support and those cheerleaders, which I personally think you absolutely need to have! Thankfully I have not had too many people try to tell me what I should be doing to “fix” things. I am sorry that has happened to you! I have more so dealt with people just not “getting it” and in a way “dismissing” my feelings or the impact it has on a person as they move thru the process. Have you had some of that?

Liked by paddingtonk

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So here’s one I could use some help with. I have never been one to use my circumstances as a crutch to not do my job. (I work construction). I recently received a bad review because I wasn’t my normal perky, energetic self. I’m not how to even respond. In the past year and a half I have had my son die in a terrible accident, have been through 3 rounds of retrieval, and now am going through the frozen transfer round. I’m not even sure how to help them understand what is going on and how hard I am trying to be the same person. They are all men. Anyone have any advice?

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