Going through IVF is stressful, emotional and exhausting. The rollercoaster ride has no obvious end and your life feels somewhat suspended in the air.
And then there are people to deal with too.
Unless they’ve been through it themselves, it can be hard for even those closest to you to understand or empathise. They can only offer words of comfort, advice or, what they like to think of as, wisdom.
And sure, we get that. It’s kind of uncomfortable and a little bit awkward. But, still, there are some things that you just shouldn’t say to us IVF’ers.
Here are some:
1. “You need to relax”
It’s really, really hard to relax when your life revolves around injections, scans, and raging hormones. Not to mention adhering to a militant timeline. There’s a countdown to hormone taking, to egg collection, to transfer, to pregnancy testing and then a countdown to the result. You get my drift, right?
So, excuse me if I’m not feeling all that relaxed.
2. “Everything happens for a reason”
No! Everything does not happen for a reason. If it did, I wouldn’t even be doing IVF. I would have fallen pregnant first time – the reason? I wanted a baby.
My losses and my failed transfers happened for many reasons, some of which can be explained by science, others which can’t.
But, being told that my losses or failed transfers happened for a reason, other than the factual ones, is not necessary. Thanks.
3. “What will be will be”
Kind of along the lines of ‘everything happens for a reason’, this suggests that I should accept whatever the outcome is. You know, as if it’s fate.
Personally, I feel this remark is better suited to a situation I’m not so emotionally invested in and won’t be crushed by a potential outcome.
A job interview perhaps, some exam results or even a friendly disagreement. IVF, not so much.
4. “Have you tried …”
Yes, I have tried acupuncture, massage, meditation and every form of ‘may aid fertility’ product.
I have googled and tried all the things that other IVF’ers recommend. And yes, I have tried just accepting that I may not become a mother.
Quite obviously, none of it has worked.
5. “I know a friend who …”
We all know the story of a friend who fell pregnant after 394 attempts at IVF, or the couple who’d given up hope, only to conceive naturally. All I can say is good for them. That’s great!
However, it doesn’t help me to know this. Why? Because every individual couple and IVF experience is different.
I want to focus on my personal journey — not theirs.
6. “Kids aren’t the be-all and end-all”
Sure, I can go on adult-only holidays, I can own a lovely house without sticky hand décor and I can sleep in for the rest of my life.
But I don’t want to. If I did, I wouldn’t be doing this and it’s hardly a cake-walk.
Becoming a parent is the most important thing to me at this moment. So, don’t take that hope away from me with well-meaning but clumsy comments.
If you don’t know what to say, just listen, and maybe nod.