While we have spent time processing our infertility, our loved ones haven’t. And it's our job, should we choose to share our stories, to break them in gently.
Infertility sucks and it's difficult for everyone involved to discuss. No one really knows what to say, how to ask for updates or offer support. I have found in general, people are open and willing to learn about something new as long as you can make them feel comfortable with a not-so-comfortable topic. It's unfortunate that as the one suffering, that burden falls on us — but if you want to share your story and spread the word about this disease, then open up!
Sharing your infertility story in an informative, fact-based manner can diffuse potentially hurtful and insensitive encounters. Remember that while we’ve spent a huge chunk of time processing our infertility, our loved ones haven’t, and we need to break them in gently.
Recently, I reached out to my infertility support groups and asked, "What do you wish your family, friends and co-workers knew about your struggle with infertility?"
Stephanie L. said, "I've always been open about our [struggle], so I want people to try and understand how physically, emotionally and financially draining this whole journey is. Also if I am distancing myself, not to take it personal."
"I don't want their pity. I feel that whenever someone finds out, they give me this look that just screams how sorry they are or how awful they feel for me. It's the main reason that I don't tell people," shares Renee H.
Holly H. admits, "I'm totally open with family and a select group of friends, [but] the rest of the people in my life just kinda know we are struggling, but don't know the details. I guess what I wish they would understand is yes, most of the time this is a fake smile on my face. The pain is unbearable at times and I deserve a %^&* medal and/or an Academy Award for keeping myself together after everything we've been through!"
Don't be afraid to speak up about what you are going through. This is not a battle that can be fought alone. You and your spouse need all the support you can get, so tell your family and friends what you need; whether it's space, a shoulder to cry on, or simply someone to listen to you talk. In turn, you might be surprised to find out that you really can lean on them.
The RESOLVE website is always a good place to turn for infertility advice and support. Visit the talking about infertility page for helpful tips on how to discuss your struggle. There's also a family and friends page too!
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