Coming Out of the Infertility Closet for the Holidays
5 Tips for Telling Friends and Family
There’s so much secrecy around infertility. When you’re having trouble TTC, you may feel guilty or inadequate, and wonder, “What’s wrong with me?” Many people keep quiet about their fertility problems because it’s so painful for them to discuss and they don’t want their friends and family to pity them or disapprove. But recently more people have begun coming out of the infertility closet.
Celebrities like Jimmy Fallon, Sarah Jessica Parker, Chrissy Teigen, and John Legend have spoken to the media about their troubles. If you don’t want to go through yet another holiday season hearing family members say, “Why haven’t you started a family?” it may be time to tell them what’s going on. Here are some tips to help you prepare.
Make sure your partner agrees. He or she may not be ready to share your journey yet. You both need to be willing to speak about your fertility issues. You also should agree on who you are going to tell, and how. Are you going to share with both your families and all your friends, or just the ones you are closest to? Will you tell them in person individually, or at a holiday gathering, or will you make a call or send an email? Be careful about using social media, for it can spread much further than you may intend. Talk it through and agree on what to do. If you can’t agree, consider couples counseling, or counseling at your fertility center.
Decide in advance how much you want to share. Everybody doesn’t have to know everything unless you particularly want them to. It can help to prepare “talking points” and agree on your messages in advance. What you say can be as simple as, “We’ve been trying to have a baby for a long time now, and we’re going to start fertility treatment,” or, “You may have wondered why we don’t have children—we do, too, and we’re trying to find out why we haven’t been able to.” Or you can give them more info if you feel comfortable, such as “We’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, so we’re having IVF treatment.”
Be prepared for the responses you get. Don’t be surprised by anything that’s said to you. Most people are well-meaning but they just don’t know what to say, and sometimes they say stupid things. You will get sympathy (“Oh, poor you”), empathy (“My daughter had IVF treatment, I know what you’re going through”), bad advice (“If you’d just relax, you’d get pregnant”) and other hurtful comments. Let it roll off your back and have a standard reply ready, like, “I just wanted to share this with you so you know what we’re going through.” Most people will support you. You may find you feel better because you’re free of the burden of hiding something that’s so important to you.
Tell them how they can help. Whether you’re talking one-on-one or sending out an email, your friends and family will want to know how they can help. Give them some ideas. Maybe you just want a shoulder to cry on when things are rough. Maybe you want someone to talk to about your feelings, or someone to help distract you from them with a fun activity. Maybe you need help affording fertility treatment. Consider carefully before you make that ask, but some family members may be willing to help.
Have an exit strategy. If you’re telling people in person, such as at a party or other holiday gathering, have an agreement with your partner that either of you can say, “Let’s go,” and you will leave. Sometimes it all just gets to be too much. Have an excuse prepared that you can each use so you can make your exit gracefully.
Above all, only do what makes you feel better, and be prepared for comments and questions. Most of the people you tell will want to support you and will wish you well on your fertility journey.
Is Fertility Treatment Right for You?
If you’re ready to pursue IVF treatment, WIN Fertility can help. WINFertility’s Nurse Care Managers or professionally-trained Patient Specialists can help you find an excellent reproductive endocrinologist in your area and get discounted treatment packages and financing options.
WINFertility provides lower than market-rate Treatment and Medication Bundles which combine medical services for a single IVF treatment, genetic testing and medications at a discounted “pay-as-you-go” price saving you up to 40% off the total cost of your treatment cycle. The bundle is tailored for your specific treatment plan, and you only pay for the treatment you need, unlike traditional multi-cycle discount plans in which you pay for up to 6 attempts that you may never need in order to receive a discount. For those patients who think they may need an additional IVF attempt to become pregnant, the WINFertility 2nd Chance IVF Refund Program helps control costs, maximizes your chance of success and minimizes your risk of overpaying.
Are you ready to take the next step? Visit www.WINFertility.com or call 1-855-705-4483 (4IVF.)