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Thread: Why do people think it's ok?

  1. #37

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    This has been really insightful to read. I'm sorry to hear things are difficult right now BW.

    You've really made me think, about how I would act if someone I knew told me they were doing IVF. Much like Nadine, I have NO idea of what that involves, and I suspect that's why people ask the questions - we don't realise the huge ordeal that it is. I know I totally can't appreciate it. I think if I asked, and someone said 'it's actually quite emotional and traumatic' or something, I'd definitely be less likely to ask and more likely to say 'hope you're well, thinking of you', or something non-invasive.

    I suppose if a good friend told me, I'd say something like 'I'm really curious, but I don't want to make this hard for you...should I ask questions, or do you want me to let you decide if you feel like sharing?'. Does that sound like the sort of thing you'd like someone to say to you?

    As for an acquaintance I care about but am not close to, like a work colleague, or from church...what, would I say something like 'I hope everything's going well. How's your week been?' Is that good, cos it gives them the opportunity to talk about something completely unrelated?

    Nadine's got me curious now...is there a 'safe' approach that can still show people we care for them? If I didn't feel close to someone at all, I don't think I'd ask anything more than 'How are you'.



    BW, I had a similar thought to Rols, and like she said, you know your mum the best, but it sounds like the sort of thing my mum or MIL would say, to show they care but don't want to bring up a painful subject...maybe if you tell your mum she's allowed to name it, she might?

  2. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nelle View Post
    I suppose if a good friend told me, I'd say something like 'I'm really curious, but I don't want to make this hard for you...should I ask questions, or do you want me to let you decide if you feel like sharing?'. Does that sound like the sort of thing you'd like someone to say to you?
    My closest friend said exactly this to me when we started our cycle. She was unsure whether she could ask questions or if it would upset me. She had a vague idea about IVF, but was interested in the process & what I was going through. She asked how to pronounce drug names that I posted or emailed her about and was truly interested. I was more than happy to share everything with her because I knew she was asking out of love & support. I think it's fine with a close friend.

    For a casual acquaintance, like someone at work, I was happy to be asked, how's it going this week? If I felt comfortable, things were going well then I might tell them about the latest procedure or test or whatever. If I'd had a bad week, I'd just say, everything's going as it should be or something like that. I was lucky that no-one pushed the point & realised sometimes I could talk & others I needed time.

  3. #39

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    I can see everyone's points regarding my mother... However, she comes from a very matriarchal family and has very much tried to adopt the same role in ours. Unfortunately, I inherited her strong-will and stubbornness - which is very much part of the reason we don't get along that well. We can have some really spectacular clashes!

    Both my mother and sister have a refusal to name things which worry them. I talked about this with my psychologist at length. If you refuse to name it, you give it more power over you. Me naming the things that were causing me anxiety has reduced my anxiety significantly. If mum's not going to name it, but I'm going to play into her hands, I think I'm simply encouraging a form of behaviour that isn't helpful. The psych and I agreed that it would be a bad idea to play the "things" game, so she hears nothing unless she can name it.

    I suspect a lot of it comes from the fact that she is very fertile. I'm very infertile, she can't relate, can't understand, can't fix a problem that her child has... and so is absolutely terrified. I don't want to have to deal with her emotional problems regarding me needing IVF on top of my own, so it's just easier to cut her out of the loop.

    Same with a lot of people who were previously kept informed. A miscarriage and some disastrous cycles, and the circle of people you trust tends to shrink significantly. IVF is a very isolating process. It's important to treat someone going through IVF as normal as possible. Sometimes, simply having a chat about the weather is so much better than being asked about the process - gives you a feeling that you are normal! It's important to show support and to let people know that you are thinking of them, but it's also important to be understanding that we won't always want to talk about it - and sometimes a conversation about normal, mundane things is needed so much more desperately than a talk about how it's effecting you today.

    I think this IVF girl is hanging up her boxing gloves for the weekend. I so desperately needed to laugh myself silly in chat last night, and I'm feeling so much better for having done so! Thank you to everyone who dropped by

    BW

  4. #40

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    Wow ... looks like I missed a really interesting thread.
    I can relate to so much that has been said BW. Its those invasive , personal questions that just really fire you up and hit that sensitive spot that has developed because of the process.
    I have had a lot of sensitive spots for different issues develop over the course of my life.
    Unfortunately, there are always going to be people that cross the line. I like to think of myself as smarter and wiser and term them as 'ignorant' and althought I get ****ty for that point in time, it helps me put things in perspective and move on. If I think of that person or situation or question its like it makes me ****ty all over again, so I choose to scratch them off and cut them out of the loop. (Kind of how you have done with your mum BW). Its our response mechanism for coping. And that is what we need to do to get a long through this difficult journey - find ways to cope.
    I know that my family, friends and even the chosen colleagues I know, dont know what I am going through, and sometimes they make insensitive comments. At the end of the day I know they say it cause they care. I wish there was some manual I could give them ... I liked your earlier suggestion BW, so they know what to expect.
    Nasty, personal, invasive comments are AWFUL. We were at a BBQ recently. My sis had her beautiful new bub with her. A family friend in front of everyone, turned to my husband and said, 'So when are you going to pull your finger out and have a child'. He laughed back and said we were having fun practising, and the conversation died. I was livid! I wanted to punch him. So did my DH. People are so RUDE sometimes. He was ignorant and a low level piece of plankton. Have no respect for people like that!
    Anyway, thankgoodness for BB. Where we would be?
    Mon

  5. #41

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    Good point, Mon.

    Sometimes the stupid comments come from the fact that people do genuinely care, and just have no idea of what to say. I do find that in that situation, I know the heart of the person saying it, and I know their intentions and it just doesn't quite have the same sting to it. You can generally even explain to them that it's not a helpful thing to say and they take it on board and everyone is happy.

    These people are NOT of that kind, though! These are the people that needed to be told because I was extremely ill and hyperstimulating and they are effectively people at work that I report to. They needed to know THEN. They do not need to know NOW, but seem to feel they have a right to enquire. I also can't really tell them where to get off as they are my supervisors. It's just generally an uncomfortable situation that I need to ride out as best I can.

    As Mon said - it's a great thing to have BB - a place to vent and find the understanding that we often lack in our offline lives.

    BW

  6. #42

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    Aww Mon, we had a similar sort of thing. At Christmas time when we had been TTC for 18 months, Aaron's cousin had a newborn that was an accident (gosh that sounds terrible), but anyway FIL said to him "You should go talk to *cousin*, he can teach you how to do it properly." Nice huh?!

  7. #43

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    this has been a very interesting thread to read and encourages us all to be more sensitive to people going through ivf, so thank you for that
    i have some close friends going through it, and i don't ask them where they're at or what's happening cos i figure if they want us to know, they'll tell us. having said that though, i do end up finding out a lot of info about them 'second hand' as other friends do obviously ask them outright and then relay the information, and as a friend i hate not knowing how accurate what i'm hearing is iykwim?
    people can be very intrusive and very rude. i have never gone through ac and could not even begin to imagine what you guys have gone through, though i will tell you when we first started telling people we were pg we got lots of 'is it a planned pregnancy?' 'this must have been an accident, right?' because we are not married and had just bought a house 5 months before we concieved. people would just ask outright. it was the first thing my mil said when we told her and it was really hurtful for both of us and made me feel bad for our unborn child. since i've had our ds i have been asked several times how many stitches i had (he was 10 pounds 3) how rude is that? my stupid mil even asked me that question while my fil intrusively had a video camera pointed at me. of course i refused to answer. sorry i didn't mean this post to be all about me but just wanted to add my experiences of how clueless and hurtful people can be. thanks for sharing your experiences about ivf. it has definitely helped me to have a greater understanding of what my friends are going through and how they might be feeling. :hugs:

  8. #44

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    Can't believe I am doing this again ...
    Mon, I hear you and I understand that ppl can make insensitive comments, but if they don't know that you are IVF, how could they know not to make a comment like that family friend of yours. I am sure that if he/she had known what you are going through, he/she would not have been so insensitive. Not that it make it right to say ANYTHING about other ppl that does not have children. And not that it does not hurt less when ppl don't know and say stupid things. I think this is just me being like I am and trying to defend the hell out of ignorance. I agree with you about that manual - that would have been great!!! Than no one would make iffy remarks, say stupid stuff and try to teach you something that you already know.

    Sometimes the stupid comments come from the fact that people do genuinely care, and just have no idea of what to say
    Hear, hear! When you don't know jack sh!it about something, you say what you heard other ppl say. Hence that irritating thing about " just relax and it will happen" Kim, I would never give advice on something that I know nothing about, but like I said, some ppl would think that you really do not know stuff.

    BW, I am glad that you could have a laugh (and some cereal :P ) and feel a whole lot better today.
    Like BW I am going to leave the ring. I am not interested in this thread to see how many ppl I can upset and evoke. I came to the conclusion and decision that I would not be discussing ANYTHING about ANYONE I know who are pg or don't have children (that is in person off-line) I am adding reproduction on my list of NO-GO topics, along with politics, religion and bowel movements, unless brought up by the other person.
    THANK YOU!!

  9. #45

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    The point of this thread is trying to make is not that all discussions of IVF are a no-go area.

    I guess what many of us have been trying to say is that everyone is an individual. For some it's ok, for others it's not ok. Even for those where it is normally ok, there's going to be days where it's not.

    It would just be nice if all people treated us with respect and courtesy - it's that lack of respect and courtesy from people that had me so enraged yesterday.

    Bad enough that I find conversations difficult now as I have had so much of my life consumed by assisted conception, it would be nice if people I interact with on a day to day basis could at least help me out by bringing up other topics of conversation.

    As I said before - sometimes you just want to have a boring, pointless chat about the weather and feel like a regular human being, rather than being treated almost like a leper and having to have everything in your life about your infertility. I guess it's like all health conditions. People do not like to be defined by what is wrong with them. They just want to be treated as a regular person. Take a person with cancer - would it seem odd for them to be upset if their cancer is all anyone ever wants to talk to them about? I'd be just as annoyed if it were my arthritis that were the only thing talked about rather than my infertility.

    BW
    Last edited by butterfly_warrior; October 20th, 2007 at 09:04 PM. Reason: Adding more to (hopefully) make more sense!

  10. #46

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    I hate it too. If I want to tell people then thats fine but I hate being asked especially in the staff room in front of people I dont know so I just say good and leave it at that. I quietly get really embarressed on the inside.

  11. #47

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    This is one of the reasons why I haven't told many people that I am doing IVF!

    To avoid the inevitable, silly questions that someone always manages to blert out - and there is always someone.

    At the moment I seems to be going through a stage of people talking to me like it is all I am meant to do - have a baby! All they seem to talk about is who has had a baby recently and who is pregnant and then turn to me and say "So when are you going to, you are running out of time you know, what are you doing about it?"

    What can you say?? Fair enough they don't know whats going on and I am glad they don't because what would the questions be like if they did? It just makes it even harder - its like digging the knife in when that is exactly what you are trying to do!!

    I have also found that there is one or two people I regret telling - they now avoid me and give me the "Old you poor thing" look! I learnt a big lessons from that one!!!!
    Last edited by Lucia; October 22nd, 2007 at 11:52 AM.

  12. #48

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    Hi girls Just going to barge in but i know what you are all saying, its so hard because i didnt tell anyone for about 6 monthes and all i got was how tired i look and is everything ok, you look so pale, so on and so on. In the end i thought ok im going to tell them its family and theyll be supportive, but man it is a barriage and some dont seem to care at all. I'm a pretty "outwardly" calm person and the best i had was from my cousin, when she asked how things were going and i replied oh no luck again, she replied" maybe you just dont want them enough" What the?????? Coming from someone with 3 kids that had no probs. Its the old story of he/she that screams loudest and because i try to stay lo key i just didnt care or want them enough. I think alot of the time people dont know what to say, but id rather they say nothing.

  13. #49

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    There's lots of good advice on the net about this.
    Heres some info from just one site, but theres alot more...

    A Guide for Family and Friends

    One of the most difficult challenges of infertility is communicating with the people around you about what may be a devastating life-crisis. Even the most loving relative or friend may offer a "helpful" suggestion that will appear to be incredibly insensitive and hurtful. Hopefully, this will help the people around you get a grasp on what you are going through.

    Well-meaning Advice

    When someone we care about has a problem, it is natural to try to help. We often draw on past experiences or people we know and their prior dealings with a topic. When someone has a car in need of repair, what's the first thing you do? You recommend the place you take your car and recall someone who has dealt with that same problem or repair.

    Generally, baby-making advice is NOT transferable. What you and your husband did or your first cousin and his wife did will generally not impact the person you are talking to. Not only can't your friend use your advice, the sound of it will probably upset her greatly. She is in fact inundated with this sort of advice at every turn. To the couple who is undergoing infertility treatments, making love and conceiving a child have very little to do with one another. Every month the husband and wife are confronted with the brutal reality that they have failed yet again. Your well-meaning advice is an attempt to transform an extremely complicated medical problem into a simplistic little problem. By simplifying the problem in this manner, you've diminished the validity of their emotions.

    The best thing you can do for your friend is to simply listen and be sensitive. Think clearly before you speak and before you address topics like reproduction, baby showers, pregnancy.

    Why Infertility is So Upsetting

    Most women have the general expectation of motherhood. They have pictured themselves in a motherhood role ever since they played with dolls. When a woman who expected to carry a child is confronted with the possibility of barrenness, it is a shocking blow; the same as if she were told that she had a terminal illness would be a shocking blow. Not having a baby can literally feel like a matter of life and death. In the Bible, Rachel was barren. She said to Jacob "Give me children or I die ..." (Genesis 30:1).

    Infertility counselors are beginning to view the infertility treatment and coping process with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. The experience of infertility is literally the death of a dream. Infertility is the death of the idea of pregnancy and parties celebrating the special nature of pregnancy. It means no maternity clothes shopping sprees and no strangers feeling your tummy in the grocery store checkout line commenting on your big belly. It is a sacred, assumed state that the women is counting on that doesn't come through. It is a painful and difficult state. Our culture puts a tremendous focus on reproduction. How many times have you heard people say while staring intently at a newborn, "oh, she's got your eyes and his hair." It is a sign of continuation-an investment in the future.

    Things to Avoid

    Don't give blanket advice. If your friend received a diagnosis of brain cancer you wouldn't say, "Go on vacation-that can do wonders for your cancer." Infertility is a medical condition. Going on vacation will not cure or fix the problem. Other things to skip saying to your friend "you're trying to hard", "you're not doing it right", or "relax and you'll get pregnant". They all discount the medical condition and imply that your friends are defective or too stupid to figure out procreation without your help.

    Don't criticize your friends' medical choices. Medical options are bountiful but they aren't all for everyone. Not only that, but people take different time and space to make important decisions. Just because it's an easy decision for you to make from the outside looking in, does not mean that your friends can process what's happening to them as quickly.

    Don't ask how it's going-no news is always bad news. Let your friend open up and share how her cycle is going. This is extremely sensitive and private. It's better to let your friend decide how and when to share this information.

    Don't suggest miracle cures or things such as "you can always adopt". The insinuation is that infertility isn't so bad-you have other options. It also implies that adoption is second best.

    Problem Situations

    Just as an ordinary room can be an obstacle course to a blind person, so can the everyday world be full of hazards for an infertile woman-hazards that do not exist for women with children.

    Imagine the typical family gathering. The men are watching the football game while the women talk about the problems with their kids and whose child is in this sport and this dance class and this grade. Someone is either pregnant, breast-feeding, or has a toddler in tow. The infertile woman is caught between the two rooms, unable to participate in either event-alone in a crowd.

    Each holiday marks the passage of time. Other people are progressing in their lives but the infertile couple is in a holding pattern. Hurry up and wait is what they do cycle after cycle.

    Mundane activities like going to the shopping mall are packed with land mines. Seeing pregnant women, families at the park, the baby clothing section-all of these things are reminders of infertility and the family they might never have. Notice on the television one night how many ads are for diapers, baby food, and early pregnancy tests. Even staying home and watching the TV is scary.

    So, Now What?

    Because she is infertile, life is extremely stressful for your friend. She's doing her best to cope. Please be understanding. Sometimes she will be depressed. Sometimes she will be angry. Sometimes she will be physically and emotionally exhausted. She's not going to be "the same person" she used to be. She won't want to do many of the things she used to do.

    She has no idea when, or if, her problem will be solved. She's engaged in an emotionally and financially taxing venture with a low probability of success. Overall, only about 11 percent of those people using special fertility treatments succeed in having a baby. The odds are even lower for women over 40. The longer she perseveres, however, the greater her chances of pregnancy become. (RESOLVE of Alabama).

    Maybe someday she will be successful. Maybe someday she will give up and turn to adoption, or come to terms with living a childless life. At present, though, she has no idea what will happen. It's all she can do to keep going from one day to the next. She does not know why this is her lot. All she knows is the horrible anguish that she lives with every day.

    Please care about her. Please be sensitive to her situation. Give her your support, she needs it and wants it.

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