You meet your friend to take your mind off it all, only for her to excitedly blurt out that she is pregnant, the first month of trying! That’s the last of your friendship circle that is now pregnant/got a baby. You try to smile and say congratulations, you want to be supportive, but you feel sick, tears threaten to come out and you just keep thinking why not me.
Hearing about your friends' every pregnancy symptom and seeing her tummy grow is too much to bear, so you make excuses why you can’t meet, you can’t bring yourself to ask questions about how she is doing so you don’t text her as much. You create a distance to protect yourself emotionally. She notices this and distances herself further. Before you know it that close friendship is no longer there.
I know how this feels; I’ve been there myself. I felt that my life was at a standstill while all my friends were having babies. I felt jealous of them for being able to get pregnant, which made me feel even worse. I just felt that they were living the life I desperately wanted to have. I found social occasions really difficult, and would often cry on the way home from them, so desperate for a family of my own.
It sometimes seems easier to isolate yourself when you are struggling with something as difficult as Infertility, but this is the time you need support the most.
I’d like to share a few things from my journey that will help you keep your friendships, protect your fragile emotions and give you the support you need.
1. Find a support group – they will all understand how you are feeling and offer you support that is honest and appropriate. You can talk freely about how you feel without the fear of being judged. You may even build friendships that get each other through it.
2. Confide in a close friend that you know will understand and support you. They will have your back and can also steer conversations away from babies and children subtly so it isn’t obvious to others that you don’t want to tell. This may also be worth doing at work for the same reason.
3. Talk to your close friends that are pregnant/have children – explain how difficult it is for you, that you love them but it is hard for you at the minute to hear about pregnancies and babies. If they are good friends they will understand and support you.
4. Ask your friends if you can have a baby free catch up, where baby talk is restricted/banned for that time, so you can enjoy time together without it excluding you. If they are funny about this then accept that they don’t understand (they are not in that place themselves) and surround yourself with friends that can support you through this.
5. Arrange to do more with other friends that don’t have children – a wider circle of friends, colleagues, people you meet at a support group. Think about the other social circles you are, who could you do more with, who has similar interests to you that you can organise more with.
6. Avoid social situations that will be painful for you (children’s birthday parties, family days out). If your friend is understanding about what you are going through they won’t mind you missing certain events. If you don’t feel they will understand then don’t feel bad about making up an excuse for not being able to go.
7. If you have an important event to go to (weddings, Christenings) and you are finding it difficult to be there, you could go to the main parts of the day and excuse yourself from the less important parts.
8. Create a ‘how to tell me plan’ – you can ask close friends that you know are trying to conceive to be sensitive to your feelings when they tell you that are pregnant. Maybe ask them to send you a text, that way you can cope with it in your own way without feeling you have to put on a front. Explain to them that it’s not that you are not happy for them, that you are struggling with your own inability to conceive and trying to deal with it.
9. Be kind to yourself. You are not a bad person for feeling like this, it is completely normal. Allow yourself to feel sad and have a cry if you need to, then call a friend or message your support group to pick you back up.
If you are struggling with your emotions, or feeling out of control, my IVF Positivity Planner can help you manage those emotions so you feel happier and stronger. If you would like to buy a copy of the planner, you can buy it on the link below.
And as always, I’m always here if you need support, please message me and you’re welcome to join my free support group. Take care and stay safe xx
Those of us that are/have struggled to conceive will know that one of the hardest things to cope with when trying to conceive is other people sharing their happy news that they are expecting
This article covers lots of feedback I have heard from patients, in the hope that it will help doctors and nurses understand how patients really feel, and also help everyone that is going through IVF know they are not alone.