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  1. #1
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    Default IVF and Family Relationships

    I thought it would be helpful to start a thread to talk about the strain IVF can place on our immediate and extended family relationships. It seems to me that it can be a minefield in so many ways; parents and other family members being uncertain how best to support us, when a sibling (or in law) announces a pregnancy and the effect on the whole family of managing both their joy and sorrow etc . This is not intended as a place to share the most unhelpful things people have ever said, (though god knows family members can be the worst offenders ) but I thought it would be helpful to hear how you navigate these tricky waters in your family.


    In my circumstance I have a wonderful and sensitive sister who is well into her 2nd trimester. While it hurts at times to watch her growing pregnancy, my sis and I have managed it pretty well so far by being open and honest about what it is like for each of us. I have had to make a conscious decision to be a part of her pregnancy and embrace the arrival of my new niece or nephew. My own parents have been far trickier and take each BFN, m/c so hard that we feel we have ended up supporting them and not the other way around! As a result we don't think we will share the details with our families of future cycles which is sad for us but feels necessary for our own survival on this journey.

    What has your experience been like? Who have you shared with in your family, what have you kept to yourself and what impact does this have on your relationships?
    Last edited by Starf1sh; 17-06-2010 at 10:39.

  2. #2
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    Hi Starfish,
    I think your post got lost amidst BH playing up y'day.

    Sorry to hear about what you've been through with the m/c and your sister's pg, and how hard it's been with some of your family. Youre right, it's a very tricky area to navigate, dealing with family's reactions. It must be hard for your parents too, wanting that joy for both their daughters, but not good when you have to support them to deal with your news...

    I have not told my parents. We just dont have that close a relationship, sad as that is. My dad would be hyper-concerned and anxious and probably sending me info every ten mins.

    I did start telling my mum when I was diagnosed with endo last year. I was going to ask when she went through menopause, (cos I was also diagnosed with low ovarian reserve) but the insensitivity with which she handled my news just made me clam up. Realised I didnt need to know that anyhow - it would prob just depress me if it was early.
    She has spent all her life as a "traditional housewife" and in those days having your first at 27 like she did almost was unheard of, so I dont think she really gets why/how I could be trying at my age. She's not well known for her empathy, basically.

    So I have just found it easier to leave them out of the loop. Id rather just surprise them with a pg at 12-14 weeks, hopefully past the danger stage. Well here's hoping anyhow.

    My sis and I are much closer though, and she understands much better, so I do talk to her, and also my SIL, who has had limited experience of infertility (conceived my nephew on 2nd clomid round).

    In my experience, friends are a much better source of support (and not all of them - I am currently wishing that fewer ppl knew about my current cycle!).

    It still gives me regret though that I cant be more open with my parents, esp coming up to critical points in an IVF cycle when we are on the phone and I cant mention whats happening. I wish we had the kind of relationship where I could share that sort of stuff. We would all like just the right level of support from our folks, but it doesnt seem that many ppl get it...

    So I absolutely get where you're coming from - I can see why you wouldnt tell youir parents about the next cycle. Hopefully it will mean less stress for you and at some point a lovely surprise for them.

    Id love to hear how others cope with this too.

  3. #3
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    Hi Anemone, thanks for responding!

    I agree totally with your sentiment re: the difficulty in not feeling able to share things with family/ or friends. I often feel I am living a bit of a brittle facade with some people particularly when the 'what have you been doing' question pops up.

    And there are also definately people I wish I hadn't told. IVF has really put a spotlight on the true strengths and weaknesses of our relationships. Some of the friends we counted as amongst the 'closest' we now hardly see or speak to due to hurtful comments they have made or their avoidance of us and our infertility like it might be contagious! However, there have also been others we didn't feel as close to who have turned out to be unexpectant sources of support.

    I think going forward it will be these people we will be most sharing our journey with.

  4. #4
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    we kept it mostly to ourselves

    i think it was hard enough dealing with our own emotions without the baggage of others

    sometimes now that we are preg i sort of wish i could wear a tshirt saying that it does not happen overnight for us all

    i feel like sometimes i get the look that i gave others when we where going through the IVF nightmare and saw preg people

  5. #5
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    We decided not to tell anyone in our families and just few friends really know.

    I don't think my parents will be able to cope with my infertility, they will be devastated. I think they believe that we just don't want children and I am happy to leave it like that. At least my brother has two kids so they can play the role of happy grand parents with them.
    I am sure they won't be able to understand what I am going through and I will end up having to support them. No thanks! I can barely cope with supporting myself and DH.

    I hope one day I will be able to give them the good news but until then I think it's better for anyone involved if we keep it for ourselves

  6. #6
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    Wow, I am really surprised by how many have decided not to tell their families at all. No judgement, it is a very personal decision

    Just curious, how do you manage attending family functions around EPU, hospitalisations or just feeling crappy after a BFN?

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    In our case we are very lucky because both our families are overseas so it's easy to lie on Skype

    I suppose that if they were here...then we will have come up with all sort of excuses (a bit like what I am doing at work as I haven't told anyone there too).

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    i shared my journey with friends and family (parents and sister) and i am glad. I got some silly comments but now i am pregnant they have been very supportive and understand why we get nervy etc etc.

    However, when my grandma found out (via my aunt who i had coffee with and i had mentioned it to as it came up in conversation) she was really angry and didn't talk to my mum for a few weeks She felt left out apparently...but seriously?

    Anyway, my mum now living with us due to me having placenta previa and a few times i have had to have words to her about being negative...she was a bit like that during IVF too...but that is her self defense system.

    I'm not at all sorry i shared. Most of my friends were really good and when i told them "please don't ask me if there is news" they respected that and waited for me to say stuff if/when i needed to say it. I had support and understanding and it was really nice to have people excited for us when it finally worked....and friends understand why we were broke etc etc

    I had moments of being cross with people for their reactions to it...but mainly they came around and i also understood (in my less hormonal moments lol) that they meant well and could not totally understand and that it was unrealistic for me to expect them to.

  9. #9
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    Hi all,

    I think this is a great thread to share thoughts around how to best handle our situations.

    My DH and I decided not to tell anyone. We have kept the journey to ourselves. If its just the two of us we can cope but we don't feel like we can cope with anyone else's emotional baggage and not just their emotional baggage in relation to our problems, however, its more that I don't think they would feel comfortable talking about other grandchildren/children especially when our families both have young grandchildren. It is quite hard at times as both our families are "baby crazy" but most of the time we find it easier. I know my mum (as well meaning as she would be) would go into emotional meltdown if she knew our chances of having a baby were slim to none and I know she couldn't keep it to herself as she would be too stressed about it.

    We have spoken about telling 1 or 2 close friends and family but that grows legs... Our situation is also quite unique. My DH has a number of compounding problems that have led to where we are today. We are 2 years into various cycles and treatments and each time we undertake a failed cycle or treatment we learn something new. We have also done a lot of research to understand our situation and what paths may be available to us (gotta say, they're looking mostly like dead ends). I just couldn't cope in keeping people up to speed with the most rollercoaster ride, I know it would be too much.

    I've really found the people on the bubhub to be of tremendous support. I find I am comfortable in talking to people who understand - I would find it exhausting educating anyone we told as we don't have any friends/family who have had severe fertility issues.

    I think its very much a personal decision as to who you tell and how you handle your own situation. Only you can know what the best support for you both will be. So far, we've been comfortable in the decision we made. Once we eventually find a path we will probably tell a select group of family/friends but not until we reach that point (if at all...fingers crossed we do!).

    Take care all.

  10. #10
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    Sorry...I forgot to answer your question as to how we organise functions etc around EPU or BFN time...

    This has been difficult at times, we've had a couple of laughs about it too.

    We had my brothers wedding the day after EPU and my DH had a biopsy...we both had to sit down during pre-dinner drinks...DH wasn't mean't to be on his feet too much anyway and I had terrible lower abdominal pains.

    Another time I had organised to go out with a friend the next day for lunch (thought I'd feel ok) but that morning we'd found out that none of our eggs fertilised...we were devastated...I still went out tho and put on a brave face. It did actually help me to go out and talk about something else even tho I felt like lying under a dooner all day..

    I guess we just try to get back up and move on... Now that we're much more experienced with timing for EPU and transfer we generally plan to have other things on in the lead up and post transfer to avoid having to put on a brave face...its not always easy.

    Take care all.


 

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