You often hear about how to support an Infertile, but I have never read anything about how to support an IVF Veteran and who that is. Now you could say that everyone has their cross to bear, and this is often the approach of Forums, where they do not want to define Infertiles, but allow Infertiles to define themselves. Which I agree with. But, when I was using online forums as a source of information and support, I felt challenged to find the support I need after multiple cycles of IVF and multiple losses and disappointments. I often felt isolated and lonely in my IF and know that many other VETs do as well. I hope that my story will help validate other VETs who feel the same, and help others from making the same ignorant mistakes I did.
I assumed I was a VET because…
- I went straight to IVF, only because we had male infertility issues as well, so IVF ICSI was the best option for us.
- Most VETS are doing IVF and I didn’t feel I had much in common with those doing timed-cycles and AI.
- I was 34 when we started TTC’ing and didn’t feel I had much in common with a 25 year old.
Boy was I wrong….
When I realised I was a VET…
- I felt extreme remorse for assuming I was a VET.
- I realised my journey did not hold similar physical and emotional trauma….how ignorant of me.
- The well wishes of everyone just didn’t carry the same support it used to. They felt empty.
- I found myself auditing signatures to find those who had similar journeys.
- I searched for those who were of similar age to me, unless you had a low AMH or had done 3+IVFs.
- I stopped congratulating , holding thumbs, thinking of you or welcoming everyone…only those I knew.
- I noticed that some posts actually made me angry and jealous, when that never happend before.
So (in my opinion) a VET is someone who…
- Has done multiple cycles of AI, IVF
- Dumped Clomid yonks ago
- Sees a Fertility Specialist and is no longer with their Gynaecologist
- Doesn’t usually have many embies…or is using donor eggs
- Doesn’t tell the whole world when their first beta comes back positive
- Knows their AMH
- Knows their DHs sperm analysis results
- Feels like there are very few like them
- Has spent every bonus and every extra bit of available financing on cycles
- Has leftover cyclogest in their cupboard
- Only takes 2 days sick leave for a cycle – one for ER, and one for ET
- When asked if they have children, they say ‘no’…..they do not feel a need to say they are ‘trying’
- Gets a BFP, but waits until 6 or even 10 weeks before moving to a pregnancy forum
How to support a VET…if you are not a VET
- Respect that their journey is not similar to yours
- Respect the spaces for support created for VETs. Keep to a forum that is more appropriate to you.
- Know that VETs are a much less diplomatic crowd
- VETs laugh…at a lot of things that you won’t find funny
- If you find yourself offended or defensive in a VETs forum – you most likely don’t belong there
- If you are pregnant, be sensitive about posting in a VETs forum
- Don’t get overexcited about someone’s BFP….especially if they have had a chemical or miscarriage previously
- Try not to use religious statements with a VET, unless you know them and their spirituality…this one should actually be applied to everyone