I have read a lot of postings from women who have told the whole world about their IVF, those who have told a select few and those who have told no one. I believe that this is a very crucial decision to make at the very early stages of finding out you are having difficulty conceiving. Whatever decision you make will impact the way you feel supported throughout your journey. So I am posting these little questions to ask yourself, and hope they help those who are considering IVF.
1) Ask yourself – What kind of a person am I? Private or Open?
Some of us are very outgoing, while others are very private. Ask yourself the following question: Who would you share a very private situation with….for example, that you are having problems in your marriage?
If you chose your Mom or a close friend, you are probably pretty comfortable with your support system and go to these people because you know they will give you good advice and support. If you chose a colleague or your neighbour, you are either a very open person, or a very private person. Sometimes people share information with those who are least close to us as is sometimes feels safer than those in our immediate close circles.
2) How do the people in your life feel about science and medical interventions?
This was the deal breaker for me. Both my family and my DH’s family have strong opinions regarding IVF being ‘unnatural’ and too ‘extreme’. Think about how your family and friends feel about these types of interventions, as it is very stressful to have others being judgemental about the path you have chosen.
3) If you had a miscarriage, who would you want to be around you when you found out?
It is in the toughest and darkest times we find out who our true friends are. This may be a hard scenario to think about if you have never been there, but think about how painful it is and the extreme sense of loss you would feel. Of the people you know, think about the responses they may say, think about how their response would make you feel.
4) It is stressful to be ‘in the closet’ about IVF. Is it realistic?
Think about who lives near to you, who is in your life on a daily or weekly basis. Think about your job and if IVF will impact you availability at work. I live very far from both my family and DH’s family. We only see them about once a year, so it is doable. IVF is a very time-sensitive process, so you need to be available. I am not always able to just up and leave work, so I unfortunately had to tell my boss, but he has been pretty understanding, minus the little comments asking if I am ‘knocked up yet’ or ‘why don’t I just adopt’.
5) A good support system is integral….regardless of what it looks like.
IVF is really tough on your relationship. There will be lots of added financial and emotional stress, never mind the added physical toll all of the medications take on you. Your DH will be there, but he can’t bear the entire burden as he needs support as well. Try to find alternate forms of support. There are some great online resources such as forums, or blogging. You may have a very good friend who is not local, so you can write and chat on the phone with them. Professional support like a Psychologist or Counsellor would be great, but not always available or affordable.
6) Your needs change – change with them
When I first started IVF, I used to frequent a lot of IVF forums and I found them very helpful at first. They are a great source of information and a great place to meet people going through similar challenges. However, after a while I found that I didn’t really fit there anymore….and that is ok. You will find that your needs change as your situation changes.