I recently had a friend reach out to me to ask if I could talk to her sister who is facing fertility issues. The background she gave me was her sister has been ‘trying naturally’ (annoying term to me for absolutely no legit reason just don’t like how people delineate between natural and what…artificial??) anyway… Been trying for a year and frustrated and scared to move to the next steps. My friend said she thinks talking to me might help and give her perspective. I am all for that.
So we got on the phone and started chatting. What struck me right away was how she was squarely in the ‘denial and bargaining phase’ meaning she used a ton of qualifiers to keep assuring herself she was no where near my dire situation. I truly wasn’t offended- I only hope that is the case for her. It was, however, not a very productive conversation. I think she maybe needed me to reassure her that her situation is not that bad and to relax and just take the pressure off. After the crazy long hard road I have taken I just don’t have that perspective. I prefer to urge people to act sooner rather than later, get a lot of testing done so you know what you are working with. I also feel like I want to remind people to be open minded about options and maybe make them feel more comfortable about medical intervention or even alternative paths. I just don’t want to appease someone who is just starting out on this path. It’s just not where I am and it is just not the role I want to play here.
So it was rather unproductive and I think we both left the conversation awkwardly not having gained much. It made me wonder how to advise someone new to this fight. Do you reassure them or prepare them? Do you scare them into action or calm their nerves? I obviously don’t know the answer to this since it did not go well for me. Part of me wants to avoid these conversation and stick in my own lane with people around me who understand how grueling this is but also how amazing it is to find hope and strength when you didn’t even know it existed so deeply under the pain. I prefer to talk to those who either seek to learn openly or have walked the road and understand. If I am deeply honest the naive hope and denial makes me relive that period in my own Infertility road and it isn’t one I want to relive. It was harder for me than the jaded reality of loss and failure. At least at that point I had skills to get through and cope. I knew that no matter how bad it gets we find a way to forge ahead. That life can still be beautiful. That there is beauty and strength in the pain and suffering. That it is ok to be proud of how I am fighting, not ashamed I have to fight.
Any thoughts from those of you who have had these conversations? Sending love to you all. Xo