Nov 25 2009

The Holiday Warning

Turkey Day!!

With the holiday season starting tomorrow, and then the month long dash to the new year, comes tough times for anyone dealing with infertility. I got my first reminder/warning of this yesterday.  With the holidays, comes family gatherings.  With family gatherings comes the inevitable inappropriate comments, dumb questions, and the ever so uplifting, perfectly timed, baby announcement.   

I received the warning last night from my mom.  She called to confirm the time for our Thanksgiving get together, as well let me know who was coming, and what I should bring.  Before the conversation was over,  I got the “OH, by the way, I just wanted to warn you, so and so are going to be announcing that they are pregnant, again!“.  Now, I was ready for the “when are you two gonna have some rug-rats of your own questions, but this one blind-sighted me.  It’s not that I am not happy for them, because I am.  They are wonderful parents with great kids, who are absolutely blessed with having another one.  They deserve to be able to announce the gift that was given to them and recieve the congratulations of the family.  I just wish I didn’t have to be there to hear it.  Is that wrong of me?  Am I a terrible person?  I can’t answer those questions, but I know how I feel, and I guarantee an early exit from tomorrow’s festivities.  

 I’m hoping the announcement comes after dinner, because it would be a real shame to miss out on gorging myself with dead poultry, and heavenly spoonfuls of mash potatoes and gravy!  God I Love Turkey!!!!!!!!!!

The following, is crash course for anyone who will be around couples suffering from infertility during this holiday season.  I got this this list of do’s and dont’s from the Resolve website and it was written by Diane Clapp, BSN, RN and Merle Bombardieri, LICSW.  

The Do’s and Dont’s of Support

Don’t Try to minimize the problem by saying, “Don’t worry. At least you have each other and don’t have cancer.”

Do Listen to what the couple has to say about their experience and express empathy for their difficulties.

Don’t Tell a couple who has had a miscarriage that it wasn’t meant to be or that you know that they will be pregnant again soon and it will work the next time.

Do Realize that the couple has just lost a specific potential child who will never come again, no matter how wonderful the next pregnancy may be. Acknowledge how sad they must feel. Use the words “loss and sorrow”; don’t be afraid to use the words that probably describe how the couple must feel.

Don’t Give medical advice or doctor referrals without being asked or hearing the couple say they are looking for new information or referrals.

Do Let the couple know that you’ll be happy to listen to any details they want to share with you and that you would like to offer support during any procedures by a phone call or by offering to go with them to a medical appointment.

Don’t Assume that new medical breakthroughs you read about in the paper will solve the couple’s problems. The breakthrough announced by the news media may be irrelevant and if it is relevant, chances are the couple has seen the article and their medical team is knowledgeable about it.

Do Ask the couple if there are any books or articles that you could read to understand what they are going through medically.

Don’t Expect the couple to act happy about attending baby showers, christenings and other family events that feature pregnant women and new babies.

Do Give them plenty of opportunity to decide whether to attend an event or whether to come late or leave early. They will not feel the need to avoid babies forever, but less contact right now may be a necessary part of their healing process.

Don’t Start a discussion about infertility without paying attention to timing and to the couple’s openness.

Do Choose a time when the couple’s privacy is assured and ask the couple if they would like to talk. Couples experiencing infertility often feel out of control. Your letting them choose whether and when to talk about it gives them back some control.

Don’t Assume that it is fine if you talk to your son’s wife or your daughter’s husband about their situation.

Do Respect the privacy needs of each individual and do not assume that they both want to talk about it with you.

Don’t Offer unsolicited stories about others who have been successful at treatment or adoption. DO Tell them if they are ever interested you could put them in touch with a couple willing to talk about their infertility experience or adoption process. Let them decide whether they want to pursue that information. As a parent, family member, or friend, you want to make it better for the couple, to take away the pain. But probably the greatest gift you can give your loved one or friend is to be a listener, a sounding board. Instead of erasing the pain, you can diminish it by your caring. One of the hardest questions to ask someone is, “How can I help you?” It is such a difficult question because you should be prepared for their answer and not the answer that you think they will say or should say. To ask that question and to trust the response that you hear is a powerful step in your efforts to help the couple struggling with this kind of crisis.

Feb 28 2009

Better/Stronger Than Me

We’ve been at this for almost two months, and I have not told my parents yet.  Today was the day do it.  Especially, since I didn’t have to.  Jess went there to pick up Keena after she got home from a party up north.  My mom watched Keena while she was at the party.  She had been planning this out for a couple days now, and figured that would be the perfect time.  It turns out it was. 

I am not one to come out and tell people.  I don’t know if it is because I am embarrassed, or I feel it is nobodies business.  Regardless, once I know that someone knows, I Have no problem speaking about it.  It’s kind of weird.  I guess I’m just not ready for the reaction, and then followup questions.  I do think I am becoming more comfortable discussing the situation with other people besides Jess.  I’m just waiting for the first uncomfortable conversation about my private parts with my mom, and I’ll tell you how I feel then.

Now, on to the title of the post.  Pretty much self explanatory.  Jess is better/stronger than I am.  No one in my family would have known yet if it wasn’t for her.  It just makes life easier knowing that the important people understand that we are having some tough times right now.  I’m so glad we are together, because what I lack, she brings to the table.  I wouldn’t want to go through this with anyone else!