As you get further along the IVF journey, you find that this is all you can think about and focus on. Meeting up with people and social situations leave you feeling like you have lost the ability to connect and be familiar with anyone… and that you have become boring! It is natural to withdraw from situations that add pressure yet you need to engage with the world. Here are some tips to help you in social situations and to keep things feeling normal.
I often found that my close family would want the status headlines but were reluctant to discuss the details. It hurt me as I felt that I was going through so much, yet they only wanted a top line if the news was not good.
My greater family gatherings would find me at a loss for conversation with cousins and aunts as we all knew what I was going through yet it didn’t seem appropriate to chat about it in the context of the short time we had together or as we celebrated some highlight such as a birthday.
My friends, none of which had been through ivf…not a single one, had no clue. They would want to be there for me and would religiously check in on dates of importance (egg retrieval, implant, blood tests) but after so many negative results, we seemed to run out of that spontaneous easy friendship. It was all I could think about and by now, such a boring subject for them.
It felt easier to just avoid these situations. I was so tired of me and the ivf elephant in the room. I didn’t want to hide how I was feeling or what was going on inside my head, nor did I want to burden any of them with just how hard the journey was. I was tired of smiling and having nothing to say.
Here are 4 tips that have helped me:
- Friend catch-ups – have 3 topics ready: prepare 3 topics that you can ask a friend about their life e.g.: does your husband still go on motorbike trips, how’s work going with your new boss? This shows that you are interested.
- Family gatherings – sit next to the chatterbox: They are typically great at small talk so can help you by taking the pressure off having to ‘chat’. Just rather let them entertain you!
- Keep 3 general topics up your sleeve: for general banter situations, have 3 topics that you will enjoy chatting about. This could be from current affairs to the latest statistics on your town or country, or even an interesting fact on a popular figure head. An App on your phone such as News24 can give you plenty to choose. It only takes a minute to read. You can even excuse yourself to the toilet and quickly read up on headlines.
- Ask questions and get them talking: People love talking about themselves and this helps to lift the weight and focus off you. The more you ask about them, the less you need to talk about yourself. Be genuinely interested. The more they talk, the freer you are to relax.
So overall, try not to avoid friends or people situations, as you need to keep your life feeling as normal as possible. Just go in slightly more prepared than usual. This won’t be the case forever so make it easier on yourself now as you move through your ivf journey.
You are not alone!