So Your Friend is Doing IVF…

So, your friend just told you she’s pursuing IVF to try for a baby. You’ve probably got loads of helpful suggestions, anecdotes, and ideas to share. You just want to be supportive, right?

Wrong-o.

Most likely, your friend is going through a lot with this process. IVF is tremendously draining emotionally, physically, and financially. Though you may have assumed that your friendship was sturdy enough that you would know how to act or what to say, there’s a good chance you have no idea and that you’re actually being the worst. (Said with love, of course).

May this list help guide you on your way, while avoiding inadvertently insulting, annoying, or deeply hurting her feelings.

What Not to Say:

“Have you tried:  massage / acupuncture / eating more meat / eating less gluten / losing weight / exercising / taking supplements / rhythm method / ovulation testing / period tracking / apps on your phone / B12 shots / multi vitamins / [insert random suggestion here]?”

Yes. I can promise you that she has.

IVF and fertility treatments are the last stops on the train to conception. No one enters into fertility consultations lightly. If there was an easier, cheaper way to get knocked up, she definitely, 100% has tried it. It’s a guarantee.

What Not to Say:

“It will happen when you least expect it.”

Ummm at this point, it probably won’t. It’s an empty and unimaginative statement. You can do better.

What Not to Say:

“I’m pregnant!”

Now, this one is tricky because your friend probably loves you dearly and genuinely wants to be happy for you…But there’s also a really good chance that she wants to punch your dumb pregnant face (with love, of course).

If she is currently hopped up on hormone injections or fresh off an embryo transfer, give her a minute before you show her that new ultrasound picture. It’ll be easier for her to celebrate your victory if it’s not immediately trampling her defeat.

What Not to Say:

“It’s because of all the stress you’re under. Stop being stressed.”

Don’t think of an elephant. What are you thinking of? Is it an elephant? It’s the same when you tell people to stop being stressed. Trying to not be stressed about the thing that’s stressing you is just more stressful. Then you’re stressed about being stressed. It’s a cycle and being told to just “stop” is frustrating and unsupportive.

What Not to Say:

“So you want a test tube baby?”

Literally only old people say this and not only is it insensitive but it’s hella annoying. Go take a nap on the chesterfield, you old bag.

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What Not to Say:

“Why not just adopt?”

While a wonderful and beautiful option for some families, adoption isn’t just an easier alternative to IVF and there are a bazillion reasons why it might not be possible. It’s definitely accompanied by a hefty price tag in its own right and international adoptions can be potentially problematic (a western family adopting from a developing nation should consider factors of cultural appropriation and risk of human trafficking.) It might be on their radar, but don’t assume it’s a given.

What Not to Say:

“It’s so expensive! How are you paying for that?”

Actually, come to think of it, this isn’t a terrible question. How are we going to pay for it? *scratches head*

Even with a wee bit of insurance coverage (shockingly, more than the ZERO dollars of coverage provided in Nova Scotia), it’s still going to cost an arm and a leg. What do they want? My first born?

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