Why is it so important to have infertility support?
Updated: Nov 10
I believe it is really important to have support with your infertility and while going through fertiity treatment like IVF with ICSI, donor egg and donor sperm and donor embryo and this blog post will explain why and help you to reach out for the support best suited to your needs.
I want to help you to think about who to consider getting support from and at what point/s on your journey.
Going through infertility and/or fertility treatment is really stressful and having been through this myself I would encourage people not to struggle on their own.
I did a lot of struggling alone, stuck in my own head. My mental health suffered massively as a result and I was constantly on edge and anxious.
I didn't ask people around me for what I needed and nor did I consider professional support.
I expected friends and family to know what I needed, instinctively, but how can somebody get inside your head and know exactly what you need when you need it?
And so people said unhelpful things to me, even with the best intentions in the world, which of course did not help. Sometimes those closest to you are not the people who are going to get you through dark times. Sometimes those that love us the most just do not know what to say and end up saying the ‘wrong’ things.
Although I do believe that if we communicate what we do and don’t need and what is and isn’t helpful then this can really improve things and give people a better chance at supporting us. Or at the very least not to say the things that are unhelpful. You know, like the ‘just relax and you'll get pregnant’ and those types of comments.
So thinking about the people that you've got around you. The first question to ask yourself is who do you think will be best to support you with your infertility and/or fertility treatment like IVF, ICS, Donor egg etc.?
Remember, the more people that know, the more questions will be asked. The more people that then for example you have to report back to if you've had a failed cycle of treatment. I learnt this one the hard way because I told everybody that would listen. It was my way of coping I guess. However, what I didn't think about was when I had to then tell everybody that I knew that it hadn't worked. And I ended up feeling like I was actually consoling them, not the other way around.
There's no right or wrong, but something for you to consider. In my case it did invite more unhelpful comments and unwanted advice, but I do take some responsibility because I told too many people and I didn’t tell people what I needed from them, expecting them just to know and then becoming angry and frustrated inside when they didn’t. People cannot read our minds, so tell people what you do and don’t need.
If you are employed, consider whether you're going to tell your employer, sometimes it can bring benefits like understanding and time off for appointments and fertility treatment.
Consider telling your GP as they might be willing to do some of the preliminary tests so that you can use them to have fertility treatment like IVF in Europe. They may also provide a sick note so that you can cover some or all the time that's needed to go abroad for your treatment.
If you choose to tell friends and or family members then consider telling them explicitly what does and doesn't help and giving examples is actually really helpful as everyone’s needs are different. This way people are much more likely to say and do the right things. People that love you will want to do and say the right things and so any direction that you can give them will be helpful.
Consider whether you would benefit from professional support. I went through my journey with infertility with no professional support until after the birth of my son when I had no choice but to reach out due to horrific crippling postnatal depression. I had a CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and counselling. It was life changing and saving.
I am an IVF abroad mentor now offering practical support with planning and having fertility treatment abroad, but also providing emotional support too. When clients finish working with me (and sometimes before) I always recommend speaking to a fertility coach or counsellor to help process the trauma of infertility, grief and loss, because it's important that we look after our mental health on this journey and getting pregnant does not fix the trauma. So consider whether a professional could be helpful to you, or whether you would benefit from a mentor.
Be careful who you surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people that are going to help and hold you when you are struggling. Be intentional about who you decide to share your infertility and journey with. And if you're really struggling, please do reach out to someone today and ask for support.
If you are considering fertility treatment abroad and would like some practical and emotional support then please drop me an email at email@example.com with the word ‘BLOG’ and find out how I can support you both practically but also emotionally with finding a best fit safe, fertility clinic in Europe and organising everything needed to have your treatment abroad.
Love Emma xxx