Discussing Infertility With Your Friends
Talking to friends about infertility can be difficult and upsetting for many women. But opening up about how infertility feels can help women feel less alone and to dispel the stigma. Discussing infertility now can be helpful for women who wish to to ask for help later. However, women should bear in mind that talking about infertility to friends can be a painful experience, particularly when met with well-meant but hurtful advice from friends who often don’t truly understand infertility issues and treatment options.
Raising awareness about infertility
Many women may feel that keeping fertility treatment a secret is a preferable option, but keeping quiet also has drawbacks. When the people in a woman’s circle of friends are unaware of the fertility issues, innocently insensitive questions and comments are more likely. Infertility can also be tricky for women who have to deal with events such as baby showers or who have to explain what’s wrong when feeling emotionally drained.
Striking a balance between openness and privacy
Realize that different friends will have different responses as well as differing levels of support and sensitivity. This makes predicting how a person will react difficult. There may be surprises even with close friends. Women who are going through fertility treatment with a partner should first discuss the matter of sharing information with friends privately, so that both parties are on the same page.
Have a game plan for sharing information. Once a person has decided exactly what information to share, a good idea is to have a practice run. Deciding on an appropriate time and setting to share the information ahead of time can make things easier. Somewhere private is best so that no one has to worry about getting teary eyed.
The next step in sharing
Once a woman has talked to close family members, the next step is to talk to close friends. The best thing is for a woman to decide beforehand how much information to discuss with each person both at the outset and on an ongoing basis. Women should be willing to educate friends about infertility and fertility treatments. Fertility treatment is demanding, and many women find that educating friends on the topic takes a lot of energy. Have some resources on hand when explaining the treatment to friends, as this can be helpful. Good friends will be supportive and understanding and keeping these people close will be a great asset for this journey.