(IVF) friends

I don’t have many IVF friends. In fact, I only have one IVF friend really. She’s a lovely girl and has a really nice husband. They are both Italian and we met at an IVF information session organised by the clinic. At the information session she asked a question and I spotted the Italian accent so after the session I ran to introduce myself. I also don’t have many Italian friends in Paris…
We started talking and I was so happy to have found someone to share things with! We found out we were followed by the same doctor and we had also both filed for adoption. It was cool to have found someone to make jokes about the crazy doctor who did the ultrasounds, to complain about some of the nurses, to share freakouts for the lack of communication of our gynecologist and to talk about IVF and adoption.
When we met we were both just about to start treatment for the IVF. When she had her transfer my husband asked me if I wanted to carry on seeing her if she got pregnant. I said I didn’t think so. I know it sounds horrible but I had only seen her once and talked to her by email or on the phone a couple of times. Even if she’s super nice and it was cool to find someone to share things with, I hardly knew her and I didn’t really feel like having another pregnant friend. I wanted an IVF friend. But IVF didn’t work for either of us, so we met up loads of other times and helped each other out a lot.
Right now, she just did her second IVF. She got 2 blastocysts transferred, nothing frozen. This time it was different, I had no doubts that I would love to carry on seeing her after the IVF. Pregnant or not. Now I know her, now she’s a friend, so I’d be happy for her. Admittedly a bit jealous, but happy. But yesterday she received the news that the transfer didn’t go well. She sent me a text saying she was angry, tired and sad and that we’d talk in a few days. It moved me so much to hear she was so upset. It was like seeing me from the outside. I haven’t called; I think she needs space. But I didn’t want to make it seem like I’m not thinking of her so I sent her a message yesterday and then today I sent her a link to a wildlife photography website (I find looking at beautiful wildlife photography pictures makes me feel better).
This situation made me realize how hard it must be for my friends to say and to do the right thing: call or not call? ask or not ask? try to help or just leave space? Hard to know. And hard to read signs from someone who’s such an emotional mess. Personally, I did not like being asked too many times: “so did you get the results?” or “did it work?”. The first got on my nerves because I had a hard enough time not thinking about it in the two week wait, that I didn’t need reminders. The second was bad because every time it was painful to have to answer no. Of course eventually I’ll say it but when ready to.. I also remember wanting to be left alone but at the same time wishing for someone to come help somehow. To be honest the only thing that helped was my husband holding me. I also hated being encouraged to cheer up. I’ll eventually cheer up but pushing me will only make me feel worse. I think what helps the most is feeling understood but not pushed. Recovery times can be long and when people understand that, it helps a lot.
Being a friend to someone going through IVF isn’t easy. And this is why this time only small amount of people know of the IVF and even fewer will know of the exact dates. But I’m very thankful to my friends for being there and for bearing with me. It would be so much harder being alone.

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3 Responses to (IVF) friends

  1. E v e l y n says:

    I think it’s always hard when someone is going through a difficult time. The great thing about having an ivf friend is that you understand her and she knows you aren’t going to get mad if she needs some time.

    I wish i had an ivf friend even though one person getting pregnant and the other not can probably end things.

  2. chels819 says:

    Found your blog through another follower – having gone through IVF myself (and about to embark on another cycle), its a great reminder that sometimes people just don’t know what to say or do, and that’s okay. I look forward to following your journey! Feel free to reach out if you ever need another IVF friend to chat with. 🙂

  3. Joanna Schwartz says:

    Honey, you know what this reminds me of? I think I told you this but I am getting EXTENSIVE dental work done, it’s been going on for 2 years and it’s scary and sad and terrible and intense. One time after a visit I came home and asked one of my therapist friends to please just sit with me because I was so upset. I remember asking her when I was going to feel better, how long would it take? Her answer was that internal pain and sadness is just like an external wound or bruise. We don’t get mad at our bruise for not healing quickly enough or get upset at it for being there. We simply accept the veracity of it’s existence, and watch the colors of the bruise changing from one day until the next until it’s all healed up. Wishes for my girl, not for the bruise to heal fast but for you to know that it’s okay to hurt. Love you, Joanna

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