Supporting a Friend through IVF

It is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and so there might be a few more posts than normal (consider yourself warned). 

How to Support Your Friend Going Through IVF

1. Understand your friend no longer has control of their schedule. The clinic now runs the show. Some things they take appointments for and others you line up like cattle in the stairwell at 6:30 in the morning. Your friend doesn’t know from day-to-day what the next day will look like. It’s hard enough managing this with employers, let alone with friends. But that’s not all of it – the pills, sprays and needles are all on a schedule too. Your friend is carrying a lot of medication and is tied to their Iphone alarms

2. Think before you speak. If I told a 12 week pregnant woman about my friend who miscarried at 6 months, I would be a total jerk. The same goes for your stories about all the people you know where “IVF didn’t work the first time”. Not helpful. Everyone has an opinion, consider whether or not yours is actually something a supportive friend would say.

3. Everyone has something to say about fertility treatments – but whether or not you would “put all those chemicals in your body” or whether or not it is “God’s will” – that’s your opinion. If yours isn’t supportive, gossip about it behind my back but please don’t think I am interested in hearing your thoughts on choices you have never had to make

4. Know there is a financial impact and don’t belittle it. The costs are significant – if you want to know what they paying you can look it up yourself. Saying “oh but it will be worth it” or “it’s a small price to pay” is pretty easy when you aren’t the one paying thousands of dollars – at once (no payment plans here!). And well, if it all doesn’t work, they are going to have empty arms and an empty bank account.

5. Your friend is probably tired of telling people her “bad news” to the point where it just feels like “old news”. If you want to know, ask. If you don’t ask, we will just assume you don’t want to know. Your friend has enough going on without having to manage your feelings too!

6. Be there. Your friend is alone and scared. A scary pile of drugs dictates her life. It is lonely waiting for morning appointments and injecting yourself in bathroom stalls. There is so much unknown and so much waiting. Your life is still plugging along but hers slows down to day-by-day. Weeks seem to take years as she hopes to make it to the next step – yes, that’s right, at any given moment something could happen to her IVF journey and now she is back to square one. Thinking about what happens “if this doesn’t work” is eating her alive. It’s a dark place to be in. Distractions are welcome.