I’ve always been a big advocate of talking things through, whatever the issue. I was no different when it came to our infertility. They say, a problem shared is a problem halved. Well, in this case a problem shared means that at least others are aware that there is a problem in the first place. Frankly, if your friends and family don’t know how can they support you?
Talking about problems may not be everyone’s cup of tea, after all, British stiff upper lip and all that. But I truly believe that by talking about my feelings with my friends and family I was better equipped to address what life had to throw at me throughout our journey.
Here’s half a dozen reasons why I think it’s good to talk:
1. You might actually find that you’re not alone.
Over the past 5 years I have found countless numbers of people who have been or are going through IVF. I’ve even found another lovely Mum who, like me, used donor eggs. This came up in a conversation whilst changing our baby’s nappies. I opened up to her about how my eldest was conceived and she gasped ‘Oh my goodness, me too!’
Knowing that others are in similar situations definitely helps with the isolating feeling that infertility can bring, especially when you realise that you’re not the only one.
2. There’s no having to remember who knows what.
If you’re open, you don’t have to keep worrying about who knows what. I only told a select few people at first, whilst I got my head around things. I soon found myself constantly thinking ‘do they know?’ and even worrying that someone might be offended that I hadn’t felt close enough to them to confide! Once I started to be more open and comfortable to talk about what was happening I no longer needed to worry about who knew.
3. Sometimes it’s good to have a cry, and you need a shoulder (or two!) to cry on!
Sometimes you just need to shout about how utterly s**t your situation is! Sometimes you want to shout that it’s just not fair! With friends and family being aware you are able to let your mask slip when you need to. After all, bottling things up is no good for anyone.
4. You might be able to avoid, or soften at least, some of those difficult pregnancy announcements.
If your friends and family know that you are struggling to conceive it at least gives them the opportunity to try and be sensitive. Now, I know this doesn’t always turn out to be the case but if someone doesn’t know then it’s harder for them to protect you from potentially upsetting news.
5. You can build both new and deeper friendships by talking.
I bonded on a much deeper level with some amazing women, some of whom I may have never met or only known from a distance.
One who was a complete stranger and became my inspiration and strength throughout.
One is the girlfriend of a friend, who was diagnosed with the same condition as me a year later. We now share a special friendship, both as Mums through donor eggs.
One very close friend became pregnant during my lowest time, she was so sensitive and thoughtful of my situation during her own happy time, we have a much richer friendship because of it.
I honestly believe that when you have built a friendship through something like infertility, it will last forever.
6. If we all talk more, together we can help break the taboo around infertility.
It’s not uncommon, it affects 1 in 6 couples, so why do we feel like we’re the only ones going through it? The more people open up, the more others will too, building those support networks and special connections.
Part of my mission with Defining Mum is to encourage people to talk more openly about infertility. I was extremely lucky to have a fantastic support network around me. Without them, I’m not sure I would have been able to cope with the rollercoaster that became my fertility journey.
In this blog picture, here I am on my wedding day with my closest friends and bridesmaids. Underneath the smiles I had not long since discovered that our 4th IVF attempt was unsuccessful. These girls knew everything I was going through and were always there for me every step of the way.
I’m not saying you should shout it from the rooftops, but maybe start with confiding in someone close who you trust. It may surprise you and might make you feel a million times better. If you don’t feel able to just yet, you can always contact me here or one of my social media channels. I won’t have all of the answers but I’m always happy to listen 🙂
Most importantly, remember, you are not alone.
Love, Becky x