A letter to our family as we begin IVF

Dear Family,

IVF is a foreign concept to you, but it’s reality for us.

For the next two months, my focus is on maintaining my energy, my positivity and my health to increase the success of our IVF cycle. I hope you can respect that.

In the meantime, here’s some facts and expectations as we begin our journey to IVF.

Timing is beyond our control

No, I don’t know WHEN we are going for our IVF. I have an guesstimate, but that is the best we will get.

Timing is all based on my body and unfortunately, I can’t control it or else we definitely would have conceived by now.

NO you won’t “get” what we are going through

IVF demands a lot of a couple – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

I may get bruises all over my tummy from shooting myself up 2x a day. My belly might look pregnant when it’s just my body reacting to the drugs. Pills, injections, internal ultrasounds, catheters squeezed through your cervix, giant needles inserted through your vagina and into your ovaries (Do you like the picture I’m painting?)… what I endure physically compares to a science experiment. 
When I’m on fertility drugs, I endure an emotional roller coaster that is beyond my control. (Are you catching onto a pattern here? Most of the process is beyond our control). I am short-tempered, cry over anything and often just want to be alone.

Many times over the past year (especially during my time alone), I have questioned my spirituality. My faith has dwindled as I wonder “why us?”  In the end, all I can do is trust.  No matter what I have to endure, I know that it will be worth it to have our beautiful baby in our arms at the end of this journey.

S-U-P-P-O-R-T,  find out what it means to me

Please, please don’t share your opinion of fertility treatments with me! I pay very nice and well educated doctors thousands of dollars to provide me their professional opinions – and those opinions are the only ones I will listen to.

You can ask how I am doing, but don’t ask 101 questions about IVF. I actually prefer if you don’t try to understand the process. It’s easier on the both of us.

If you want to support me:

  • Call me to talk about anything BUT infertility
  • Offer to help with things we won’t be able to do when we are at the clinic – water my flowers, walk my dogs, clean my house (yes I mean that)
  • Send me a gift pack for when I’m laid up after my egg retrieval and transfer
  • Pray for us. Send love and light and best wishes

Remember that my husband is also going through this. Don’t forget about him. He can use your kind words of encouragement just as much as I can.

We will tell you the outcome when we are ready

When going through any fertility treatment, you are hopped up on hormones and waiting in anticipation for the verdict: Pregnant or Not Pregnant.

The last thing I need is phone calls or text messages asking us for the outcome.

We will share our news with you, whether it’s good or bad, when we are ready.

It’s our story to tell. Please respect our privacy.

I have always been vocal about our (in)fertility, but going into our IVF cycle, I feel the need to be more private.

If you catch me in a vulnerable moment and I share more than I had anticipated, please don’t call up your bestie, neighbour, long-lost cousin or any random stranger to inform them of our situation.

We will share our story with others – there’s no doubt about that, but it’s our story to tell.

If you come across another couple who is struggling like we are, feel free to send them our way. I am more than willing to help those who are facing a fertility journey like ours.

With love, ❤

Lindsey

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31 thoughts on “A letter to our family as we begin IVF

      • Just from what I’ve read that you wrote about them, I think they will get offended. However, I do feel like for your sake that stuff needs to be said. They can’t keep treating you like IVF is the worst decision of your life. Just the fact that they have a strong opinion about it in the first place is justification enough to send the letter. If we ever proceed with IVF, I’m taking this from your blog and sending it to all of my family. I don’t want to persuade you either way because I don’t know exactly how your family would react, but I think it is needed.

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  1. This is exactly what you should say to them. No nonsense, nothing to be left to the imagination, clear as crystal. I have no idea why people think that IVF is inappropriate, generally those couples embarking on that journey are perfectly aware of how serious it is. And they need support. It’s insane that there is more ridicule of those making this type of emotional and financial commitment versus those who have children irresponsibly. You know we all support you here, lady!

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  2. So perfectly said! Thinking about you lots and sending you all the hope I have to add to yours (and replenish it when it wanes) as you begin this next step. Hugs ❤

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  3. this is REALLY well-written! i wish i had the guts to write something like this to my parents, but between a language barrier and their being against fertility treatments in the first place, i don’t think i’ll ever tell them.

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  4. Beautiful and very well written. Definitely do send it, at least to those who are closest and “need” to know in order to support you best. I ended up telling my closest friends that there are good days and bad days and that I would let them know what kind of day it was. And depending on the day and my mood, I may feel up to talking about IVF and infertility and I might not. It was my “health” issue and I could decide what to tell and when. Most of them understood, or at least respected it.
    Best of thoughts going forward.

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  5. Beautiful. Are you actually giving it to them or are they following your blog? That’s pretty bold. I wouldn’t mind if my family researched IVF on their own to find out what I were going through but even then I would resent them giving me their two cents so I like your advice for them to stay in the dark. Easier on you and if they’re your parents on you guys too.

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    • I haven’t decided. I was going to wait until closer to us going maybe. My husband thought it might offend them (Lindsey – remove the caps is what he told me haha). It’s hard as my sister is creating mad drama with her pregnancy and wedding. I stopped responding to her but at least this letter would explain why.

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      • What if you invited them for lunch or coffee somewhere (not your home – because it’s easier to evacuate from a public place if things go badly) and read them your letter and invited them to have this one occasion to ask you questions on the understanding that after this one occasion you really need their support and will expect them to respect your wishes for them not to ask any questions unless and until you invite them to do so (say, once baby #1 is in your arms and it’s all behind you – by which time they won’t care and chances are you may not, either)? Sorry for the run-on sentence. I’m trying to think of a way for you to be human but firm and if you wish you could elminate the offer to ask questions. I suggest the in-person reading in a public place because it is more personal than handing over a letter and because I think giving them something in writing is maybe not a good idea. I would feel terrible for you if they took away what you’ve written out of care and compassion (for yourself and the relationship with them) only to read it alone and resent you because, among othe things:
        (a) family are inherently irrational;
        (b) one of them is a self-centred loon right now (by which I mean the pregnant one and I say that only because most of us are self-centred and a little batty when ramped up on hormones and in the throes of a pregnancy, especially when no losses or infertility preceded it);
        (c) another is your mother, who despite her shortcomings (because as mothers, we all have a countless number of shortcomings, despite all best intentions), loves you and will be hurt if she re-reads the letter from time to time (something I’m sure you don’t want in the big picture even if you want to throat punch her and your sister from time to time, as I would in your shoes);
        (d) Your letter is *perfect*. But it will sting at least some of those with whom you share it. That’s life. They will have to get over it or be forever out of your boat (see why you need a dragon boat, not a canoe? ;-)). [Confession: I may be partial to dragons, the MT was born in the Year of the Dragon.]

        I hope you don’t think I’m being too forward, I really just want to help you find a way to do this without thrashing relationships about which you care a great deal, even if they’re with people you want out of your boat in the coming months.

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        • So as of right now, I decided to wait to make my decision to send or not. We could sit down face to face with my husband’s family, but that doesn’t even happen about business issues (avoidance is key with them). As for my family, they live in Ontario and Alberta so face to face won’t work. I think right now, I’m just staying away from it all. My sister showed more of her true colours this morning and it’s sad to say I’m not shocked by her hurtful words. I’m glad it’s proven to me that she doesn’t deserve to be a part of our journey, nor should I spend any more time worrying about her. Short version: I told her to focus on herself and her baby and stop creating drama. She responded with name calling and telling me she doesn’t want me in her child’s life. Then proceeded to tell my brother’s wife that I am jealous of her and mad that she’s pregnant and she’s so glad that she is having a baby before me because that was her plan all along. :S She plans on announcing it while we are away getting out IVF done. If that isn’t deliberate, I don’t know what is.

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          • Ugh. I’d block calls, texts and emails from my sister if she acted like that. Of course, my sister died at birth long before I was thought about so that’s not happening.

            I’m really sorry, my friend.

            Skype for your mom/dad? Not face to face but… better than leaving them with a hard copy if you think it might hurt them and that’s not your goal. If your sister actually keeps her word and stops communicating with you then no need to send her anything!

            Are your hub’s folks the kind to inquire about how it’s going and what it is about or make unsolicited comments that might upset you? If not maybe being on the fence about sharing it isn’t the point. Maybe you writing this and setting your boundaries is the most important thing that’s come of this? Certainly it’s a huge piece, whatever is next. Sending you hugs and patience (because women like your sister never keep their word).

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