One thing I have learned dealing with infertility, and more recently going through IVF, is that support isn’t a nice to a have, it’s a NEED to have.
For the first year and a half of dealing with infertility, I suffered in silence. Other than my husband, I didn’t have much of a support system. I had my girlfriends who knew we were trying, but their advice was often – “stop thinking about it, it will happen”…”relax”. I had no idea why these statements started to frustrate me so much. I hadn’t educated myself about infertility. I didn’t realize that the monthly hope and despair cycle was adding up to something rather significant and impacting my emotional wellbeing.
My first true outlet of support came to me through my acupuncturist. She specialized in fertility acupuncture and even though she hadn’t struggled herself to conceive children, she understood from the years of struggling alongside her patients. She was nurturing and truly asked me how I was doing. She never once pressured me or told me to “not to worry about it”. It was rather emotional going to her because I was facing infertility head-on in her office. Every visit was a type of therapy that I needed to be a little stronger and move a little more forward.
When I look back, I see the support that my acupuncturist extended to me likely inspired me to open up to a few more people and talk honestly about how I was doing. One day I even discovered in talking to my closest co-worker that she too was going through a similar struggle. That little day of opening up a bit, turned into a year’s worth of leaning on another TTC friend for advice, share latest strategies, frustrations and drug choices. I honestly don’t know where my mental state would be if I hadn’t had her as a sounding board the last year. Today, that little co-worker support group has even grown to include one more struggling from our office too.
I discovered further support when I started my blog in December. I set the New Year’s intention for creativity in 2015…I love to write….so, “uncomfortably optimistic” was born. I had no idea that this little need for creativity in my life would lead me to a new community of ladies, who knew EXACTLY how it feels to be in my infertile shoes. This entire community of blogging women (and men) understood the neurosis, the fear, the hope and the pain of each month… and to top it all off they are the most positive, supportive group that I have ever been around. The best part, not one of them ever told me to “relax” or “just let it happen.”
On top of this blogging community, when I was about to start to my IVF cycle in February, I decided to join an online forum on www.ivf.ca with the women who were going through the exact same treatment at the exact same time – Cycle Buddies! Most of the women were in Canada, some were at my same clinic, while others were joining in from the U.S. and other countries too. These ladies lifted me up and gave me courage each day. They also answered silly questions about nerves, needles, side effects, exercise, dealing with our spouses…basically anything and everything was covered within the February IVF cycle buddy forum. Sadly as I have learned, the harsh reality of the IVF process is that it is not a sure thing… through the month this forum supported one another as we faced cancelled cycles, complications (OHSS), negatives and Big Fat Positives. There were days I laughed, days I cried, and many days that I said “Thank You” to all of them for the encouragement and hope that they passed along.
Why do I share all these support systems with you… because I want anyone out there struggling on their own to know that there are people who will understand and support you. The hard part is we need to be vulnerable and brave and let people know we are struggling. So, if you are struggling and don’t have support or a voice yet…find it…it really does change everything! The best support comes for the ones who are in the trenches with you.