It can feel lonely when you’re struggling trying to conceive and IVF is an emotional roller coaster. One of the biggest things people struggle with is if they should or indeed what to tell people what they’re going through. Should you tell? Who do you tell? When do you tell? How do you even bring it up? These are all questions that everyone I’ve spoken to has struggled or is struggling with. There is no right answer to any of them. The thing about IVF is that each journey is different and personal. I can’t tell you what to do but I can share what we decided on. I have blogged about this subject before but felt it was worth going a bit more in depth as it is such a big part of the journey.
My husband and I shared everything with pretty much everyone from the beginning. I think this was more because we didn’t really know what our journey was going to hold. I got referred to a gynocologist after only two months of trying for a baby because it just so happened I had an Epilepsy review with my Neurologist around that time. My Epilepsy consultant thought it would be a good idea for us to get some support. Looking back I think he also had an inkling that I had PCOS due to the high dosage of medication (Epilim) that I had taken during my teen years. My husband and I went to my parents’ house after my Epilepsy review for lunch and naturally they asked how it went. I didn’t even think before I told them I was being referred for fertility tests. After this my parents and mother-in-law got told pretty much everything about every appointment. At this point my Tonic Clonic seizures were pretty regular in that they were every 2 weeks or so and I was still having daily absence seizures. My parents and mother-in-law asked to be kept in the loop because they wanted to make sure I wasn’t feeling lonely or getting stressed about everything, this is because stress is one of the triggers for my seizures. We kept the details of all our tests and appointments to general higlights with everyone else. Once we both got our diagnosis, told that IVF was the way for us to go and that I would have to lose 4st for this to happen, this when we properly opened up to everyone else. We still keep it to highlights ie most recently about getting approval to start our first cycle, but don’t feel like we’re hiding anything. My parents knew about my medication being delivered and that we’re now waiting for my period so that we can start but everyone else just knows we’re starting our first cycle soon.
I have treated our struggles with trying to conceive and having to have IVF the same as I treat having Epilepsy. I don’t hide it because I’m not ashamed. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not saying everyone who doesn’t share is ashamed. I’m saying that I don’t hide from my infertility, Epilepsy or Anxiety Disorder because then I can’t raise awareness and that it what is important to me. This can come across as pretentious but I have always felt that if I can do something to help others in the same position as me, then I should do it. It helps me stay positive.
We are now entering a new phase of sharing. The thing about telling people when you’ve started an IVF cycle is that people will know things a lot earlier than they would know if you hadn’t had IVF. We have come up with a plan to counteract this. We have decided that we will stick to our sharing highlights system. When we start our first cycle (hopefully within the next week or so) we will tell everyone that we have started IVF. We are going to tell my parents and mother-in-law when we start our injections. My dad will actually be taking me to scan appointments as my husband can’t get all the time off work so it makes sense for my parents to know what appointment they are taking me to. We haven’t decided if we will be sharing our OTD (official test day) with either set of parents but if we do and we’re lucky enough to get a BFP (big fat positive) result we will swear them secrecy. To us it would be far too early to share a BFP with anyone but as with everything in this journey it is a personal decision! Again if we got a BFP we would want to wait to share with everyone u tip at least a 10week scan but if we can contain ourselves we would wait until 12 week scan. We have also talked about what we would do if we got a BFN (big fat negative) result. We decided that a BFN result would take a few days before we felt like we could share, even then we would simply say our first cycle was unsuccessful.
I feel like I may have gone a bit off track that last paragraph. I just wanted to get the point across that sharing with people is so personal. Everyone makes different decisions at every point. Sharing or not, it’s up to you. Both directions come with a different set of struggles and even more questions! Whatever you decide to do, do what is right for you!
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