''I think often people, when they have a loved one going through IVF, want to fix it and often they do care. But the person who’s experiencing infertility can sometimes feel as if that person doesn’t care because those responses don’t quite hit the mark... but I think what I wanted was for people just to listen and not judge and not offer solutions... just to listen.'' Anne
ART is demanding, whether someone is doing it alone or with the support of a partner. Showing your friend or family member that you are thinking of them and are there for them can make all the difference. Sometimes friends and family worry that they might say the wrong thing so avoid the person altogether.
Here are some practical suggestions to help support your friend or family member:
Find out more about ART
Become informed about ART treatment so your friend or family member does not have to provide detailed explanations.
Some people like to talk about their treatment and others might be more private. Ask them what they prefer. This may change over time. If they indicate that they would appreciate your support, phone calls, SMS or email can let people know you care. They probably will not want treatment to be the sole topic of conversation, but allow them to determine the direction of your conversations.
If you become pregnant, this may be a sensitive issue for your friend. Make sure you tell them yourself – in private – rather than letting them find out some other way. Acknowledge their feelings and understand that this might be difficult news for them.
Coping with the demands of daily life and treatment at the same time is very tiring. Offers of help like cooking a meal, assisting with housework, grocery shopping or gardening, or by offering to keep others informed about their treatment progress may be appreciated. Your friend may also appreciate you going with them to the clinic if their partner is not available or if they do not have one.
Take their mind off treatment
Sometimes it is good to try to forget about treatment for a while and get out of the house. The waiting time, after an embryo has been transferred until the pregnancy test, is usually particularly hard. Invite them to social occasions, but also give them the chance to opt out.
Special days like Christmas, Passover, Mothers Day and Fathers Day, and events like christenings and children’s birthdays may be challenging for your friend or family member – acknowledge this and talk to them about it.
Your friend or family member is fortunate indeed to have someone like you who cares enough about them to take the time and effort to read this. Your love and support will help them greatly during this stressful time.