Over the weeks following our first failed IVF cycle, Akiva and I had several doctors’ appointments to review what did and did not go right. We planned for the future and we talked about timing for our next cycle. What was most frustrating is that because of the surgery Akiva needed, we had to wait a full six months before we were allowed to do another cycle. They gave us the option to do one cycle in the mean time with some frozen sperm left from our first cycle. We decided we would wait for the 6 months and see what happened.
May seemed so far away, but we focused on work, planning a pre-IVF trip and my graduating with my Doctorate. There were exciting things to plan for and to look forward to. In the meantime a close family member had a baby. It was the first grandchild in the family, and it was incredibly hard to deal with. Akiva and I are both the oldest in our families, and we thought we would be the first in our families to have children and have the first grandchildren.
We really tried our hardest to be happy, but when family members refused to see how much we were hurting, it only hurt more. We started to distance ourselves from everyone because we wanted to take time to focus on our own relationship and ourselves. Not on what others were having in their life. We spent a lot of time in therapy together and individually, working through how people had reacted to our situation and the insensitive responses we received.
When a couple goes through treatment for infertility, it is always a balance of what do you want to tell others and what do you want to keep to yourself. Some people love to share, others don’t. What is safe to assume, is that if a couple has not had children and they are avoiding you, or not responding to happy news you have about building your own family, something is probably going on.
I know it is very hard to remember that not everyone is going to be as excited about your news as you are, but to some people that news is going to be downright hurtful. It could be life shattering, dream altering, taking away their hope, or they may even just be devastated that they too are not celebrating a similar milestone in their own lives, but they most likely do not hate or dislike you. They just dislike the circumstances they are in, and do not know how else to handle it at the moment.
Research has shown that going through fertility treatment is just as stressful on a woman as going through cancer treatment. It is no walk in the park. It is a constant stress that you live with over your head. How am I going to pay for this, can my body take this, what is going to happen? Thinking about the future with no control over any of it, is very difficult, especially for someone who likes to take control of circumstances they are placed in.
What I have learned going through this experience is that whether someone is or is not going through infertility, if they do not respond to your exciting news the way you are hoping, there is probably a reason why. People want to be happy for their friends and family. Being non-accepting of their life situations and what might be going on in their daily life, is what tears apart relationships. Someone’s lack of excitement is probably less about you and more about them.