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What to say (and not say) to someone who struggles with IF?

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deblynn Posted: 06-28-2011 9:28 PM

I'm sure there is a post about this somewhere, but with the search not working I just figured I would ask.  I have a couple friends who struggle with IF and I know I have said stupid things to them just because, as much as I try, I don't get it.  I haven't told them to "just relax" but I'm sure I've said something just as stupid. 

So what were some of the best things that people said to you?  And some of the worst?  I know everyone is different in what they want to hear, but a general idea would help me to be a good friend. 

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KattMC replied on 06-28-2011 10:53 PM

IMHO things not to say:

  • Just relax
  • Stop trying, and it will happen
  • Maybe if you don't think about it so much you will get pregnant.
  • I know how you feel
  • I had no issues getting pregnant! I am very fertile.
  • You can always adopt
  • What's meant to be will be.

I preferred when people asked how things were going, asked if I needed anything, took a general interest in my various procedures and asked questions.

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Lovebug81 replied on 06-29-2011 8:53 AM

Previous poster nailed the big ones, but Hmm. Here are some that have irked me

 - Sometimes our bodies just take longer ( of course this came from someone who got pregnant the 1st try)

- I know someone who else who had endometriosis, and they have 4 kids now

- Stop thinking about it so much

- Well...we did "x" and it worked for us

- Pregnancy is horrible, be happy that you aren't.

- At least you get to keep your figure

I would say the "just relax, and it will happen" is by far the worst thing you could say though. I relaxed and let it happen for about 18 months, and you know what...nothing happened. So, I don't think that it's fair to lump every woman into the category of "it will happen." For some of us, we will need help, or we have issues inhibiting our ability to conceive.

As for the best things. If you are religious...when they say they will pray for me, that makes me fee good. As well as...God has a plan and he is in control. Those things help me put things in perspective, and feel a little less sad.

I want to say that I appreciate that you were conscientious enough to even think about what to say in talking to your friends. I wish I had more friends like you Smile


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aplatanada replied on 06-29-2011 11:46 AM

"Oh really? I got pregnant on the first try!"

"It's still early, be patient. You're setting yourself up for failure by worrying"

"I think people who spend money on infertility treatments are selfish/stupid/wasting their time and resources."

"You should go on vacation. I know [insert number] couples that tried forever then went on vacation and got their BFPs."

"You just need to ask God."

We are still just starting out so I haven't told many people. To be honest, the few people I've told haven't really reacted when I express worry or concern. Or they've given me the gems above.  I just think they don't know how to deal with it.

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rebeccas replied on 06-29-2011 11:51 AM

Ditto all the things that have been previously said with the exception of the religious comments. As someone who is not religious, being told that "It is God's plan" or anything like that makes me feel bad.

Just ask how I am, tell me you love me and acknowledge how hard it must be.

Cycle 1-3 here:

Current charts:

Rebecca: 31 years oldBig Smile DH: 32 years oldLaugh

TTC #1 since Jan. 2010 after 15 years on BCP.

Irregular cycles, acupuncture, one Chick (7.19.10), one Angel at 6w1d (08.23.10), 2 D&Cs, subsequent anvoluation, and onto the RE we go...

1/19/11 - diagnosed with a "subtle variant" of PCOS

2/17/10 - First Nest since July 2010 on 1500 mg of Metformin, but anov next cycle
4/9/11 - Provera, then 1st Clomid (50mg) cycle begins! Staying on 1700mg Metformin - no O
5/11 - Provera, then 100mg Clomid, 1700mg Metformin Fingers Crossed - CANCELED due to elevated estrogen and a cyst - BACK ON! Looks like I ovulated against all odds DURING AF and cyst is gone.
6/11 - No response to Clomid. About to start injectables after Provera
6/23/11 - First Gonal F (75Iu)/Ovidrel/IUI cycle begins  - CANCELED due to cysts.
6/29/11 - Ovulated right after Provera bleed AGAIN, just like in May. Cyst was a mature follicle. Now Fingers Crossed that we get lucky before starting injects/IUI.

If you're 30+, TTC#1 after loss(es), come drop by the Triple Threats for some tea & sympathy (over here...)

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aliwat replied on 06-29-2011 12:01 PM

First of all, you are already a good friend for thinking about this - your friends are lucky to have you!

The above posters have hit the main ones - here are a couple to add to the bad list:

1.) What's the problem? Is it you or your husband?

2.) (Similar to above but bears repeating) I have a friend who did 48 rounds of IVF and then stopped and got pregnant naturally.

3.) Aren't you scared you will end up like the Octomom?

4.) (When your kids are acting up) Are you sure you want this? Why don't you take one of mine!

The good list:

1.) Is there anything I can do to make this easier for you?

2.) You are going to be an amazing mother and it's just unfair that you have to go through this. I am really sorry.

3.) Do you want to meet for dinner or a drink and you can tell me all about it?

Other good things to do, depending on how much your friends are telling you about their treatments:

-Familiarize yourself with the treatments your friend is going through (just need to know the basics.) If IUI, remember to send a text/email on IUI day to wish good luck

-If IVF, remember to send a text/email on egg retrieval and embryo transfer days to wish good luck

Also, one of my dear friends (who has never had a fertility problem) cooked me and my husband dinner the night of one my egg retrievals. It was so incredibly thoughtful and appreciated. It still gives me warm fuzzy feelings to think about how sweet that was of her to do that for us.

If the IUI/IVF cycles fail, DO NOT offer advice. Just say, "I am so incredibly sorry. I am here for you no matter what."

Thank you for asking! Flowers


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KattMC replied on 06-29-2011 6:56 PM

Good ones!

I know this is one I have mentioned on here before, but it was something that really bothered me... a girl I know had 5 kids in 5 years and when I mentioned we were having some issues she said, I don't know why you are bothering with expensive fertility treatments, I just asked god for children and he kept blessing me.  It was just one of those comments that wasn't intended to be rude or anything, but just realllly irked me for some reason.  She got pg with pretty much each of them on the very first try.

I think it is great you are asking btw Smile

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alicat replied on 06-30-2011 8:09 AM

Let me preface this by saying we never told anyone we were dealing with IF or going through ART.  So I probably heard more stupid comments than the average person w/ IF.  But I think this advice applies regardless.

Unless specifically asked, do not give personal opinions on ART and adoption (what you would / wouldn't do).  Opinions can be very extreme and hurtful to hear if the person is going down either path.     

For those who are open about IF, a simple "That sucks, I am so sorry you are dealing with this" is enough.  Don't quiz the person on his/her treatment unless they are clearly open about it. 

Do not ask if the person has any "news" (referring to babies).  I had one fertile myrtle ask me this at the time I hit the dreaded one year mark TTC.  These comments always have great timing.

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jkat replied on 06-30-2011 9:38 AM

DITTO DITTO DITTO TO all the PP's!!  Yes, you are truly a great friend for asking! This was posted awhile back too, but yes, you wouldn't be able to find it now!

To add to your list, the one's I get most often:

"Just wait until you have kids!" ---um, yeah, if we even do.

To add to the PP's about "God having a plan".  Although I'm not a religious person, I have turned to God in times of distress and pray, but with that said it makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable to here this because I often wonder what IS THIS PLAN?  And WHY is he making me go through this?  And at times, I feel like it's a punishment.  I have moved passed that, but still, it bothers me to hear that.

After a failed IVF--"Oh, I know it will happen for you!! I just feel it!"--NO you really don't, you don't know what we are dealing with.

SO with commentary, those are the ones that I hear most often.  All of the above are great.  And since there are so many, just being a good listener and saying, I'm so sorry you are going through this, is the best bet.


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deblynn replied on 06-30-2011 9:09 PM

Thank you ladies.  I really appreciate all the input.  And I can't believe some of the things people have said to you!  You think people would think a little more before they speak.  (Even though I'm sure I've said dumb things, hopefully they haven't been as hurtful as some of the things you ladies have heard!)

If anyone has any more to add, I will take all the examples I can get.

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chrissybits replied on 07-01-2011 7:31 AM

I would add, don't complain about your kids to someone who is dealing with IF. 

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nell replied on 07-01-2011 9:29 AM

I know many women suffering from infertility find this a positive thing to hear but to me the 'you only need one good egg' really grates.

I hear it quite a lot with DOR too.

I mean, you only need one good sperm to be really pernickety, but lets face it people don't get pg from a sperm count of 1.

Me 31yrs, OH 36yrs,  BCP for 15 years until May 2010, TTW in 2010, TTC January 2011.

Chronic spotter from 4DPO and DOR. - FS advises straight to IVF, Cycle started mid June '11

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Sammy1 replied on 07-05-2011 2:14 AM

One other thing to add: do not complain about pregnancy symptoms to people with IF. This is not to say you should never mention them, especially if you're having a hard time (we know pg people go through their own challenges too) but don't say things like, "I wish I didn't have to go through this" and the like. All the other comments mentioned on here are great too!

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ddubfan replied on 07-05-2011 3:56 AM

I just want to ditto everything everyone else has said. I realize people are just trying to be "helpful" and show "support" but in reality, if you're dealing with IF, hearing those things is like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard. My cousin sent me a text the other day (mind you, she is 25 years old and has 5 kids already - being supported by the state because neither of the parents will work... That's a WHOLE different story) with a picture of an obviously positive EPT saying "I just found out I'm 12 weeks pregnant, hurry up and get pregnant so we can be pregnant together". I just had to put my phone down and shake my head (and I admit, I did cry). I mean, REALLY?! Some people just do not understand.


PS Thank you for being such a thoughtful friend!! Not many would even think of asking those who deal with IF how we feel.

Hubby and I - both 35 years old
Still TTC #1 - for a long long time
150mg Clomid days 5-9 and 10mg Progesterone days 15-25... Metformin daily 1500mg
Done with Clomid - Moving onto 5mg Femara Starting on cycle #3
Hubby has "the best sperm count that the Dr has seen in 10 years" Yes

CD 3 blood tests - FSH 7.3, Estradiol 35
Chemical pregnancy 6/2011

My Chart

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jbizzy replied on 07-05-2011 4:50 AM

I agree with PP's posts... and here's one more, my best friend told me I wasn't being *positive* (attitude) about it (getting pregnant).  Then followed it up with the God's plan thing.

I was in the TWW at the time and actually got pg for the FIRST time in my life that cycle (which resulted in dd).   So since I was already pregnant when she told me that, her advice was fooey anywa and it hurt my feelings horribly.

I enjoyed when people listened and didn't mind at all when they asked more medically based questions (how does that test work, what do those meds do, etc) or charting questions, I love to talk about charting!  IF is a subject that makes people uncomfortable though, so most tend to just kind of skip around it and change the topic.

You are a very sweet friend for asking about this.  Flowers 

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ThreePrinces replied on 07-05-2011 4:19 PM

Because I dealt with Secondary Infertility, I was/am sensitive to different comments than other people might be.  The worst comments were those pertaining to already having a child(ren.) 

My first time going through infertility, it always really hurt when people would say "Well, at least you already have a child, don't be so ungrateful."  How awful of them to say that..did they really think that my desire to have another child meant that I was ungrateful for the one that I already had?!  Really?!  Did people perceive me that way?  That really made me even more I definitely couldn't talk about my feelings to anyone; because they would think I was selfish and ungrateful that I had experienced motherhood already.  Do NOT get me wrong, I totally understood where they are coming the grand scheme of things, even though I feel Secondary Infertility is evil and awful, it is NOT the same pain are primary infertility and I know that.  But please, PLEASE!  No one ever think that I am ungrateful.

I had someone tell me just a few months ago that my infertility was my body's way of saying it didn't want to have a baby.  That it wasn't capable or something.  OMGosh, that hurt.  I cried for hours.

Other than that, the typical "Just relax!" and "When it is God's will, it will happen" comments are annoying.  I am religious, and do completely believe that God has a plan for everyone...but.  That's not the point.  I don't want to hear that from my friends.  I just want them to listen and be a shoulder to cry on.

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