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Avoiding a Clanger - how to help a friend going through IVF?

(10 Posts)
VengefulSquirrel Thu 23-Aug-07 18:16:57

My best, best friend in all the world is going through a difficult cycle of IVF (ony 1 egg retrieved today...). How can I best support her? The problem is that I have 2 dc, and dd is only 5 months old. I don't want to sound smug, conceited, or drop a clanger at what is an unimaginably difficult time for her. I love her dearly and worry every time we speak that every word that comes out of my mouth is going to offend her.

We are in daily contact and I just don't know what to say...just got the news that only one egg was retrieved today.

nomoremagnolia Thu 23-Aug-07 18:22:45

Be honest with her that you are nervous of upsetting her, then she'll hopefully understand your intentions even if you do upset her (and she might be more comfortable telling you that you've upset her too). It's a real minefield - I have no experience of IVF (hopefully someone who has will be able to give you an insight into it), but I had a heart to heart with my Mum last week as she's stopped asking me about ttc because she thought it would upset me (we've been ttc for 21 months) but actually I wanted to talk toher about it and thought she wasn't interested. Honesty is the best policy - and bless you for being such a lovely friend to her

Budababe Thu 23-Aug-07 18:23:04

You are a nice friend.

I know just how she feels. I went through one (cancelled) attempt last sept where only one egg was retrieved and then a proper go but again with only one egg. Unfortunately in my case it didn't work.

I found friends that treated me like I was ill made it all worse. Those who were cheerfully but cautiously optimistic were helpful.

VengefulSquirrel Thu 23-Aug-07 19:10:42

Thank you! Everything I want to say sounds really twee and it's difficult. I probably over analyse, and I know that other friends who have found it hard have just stopped calling her, but I would never do that...she is godmother to my ds and he adores her too. any other suggestions? what should i say if this cycle is not successful? She will have one more go but only one.

MadLabOwner Thu 23-Aug-07 19:33:30

Squirrel
you are a marvellous friend to have! But your post reminded me exactly why we didn't tell anyone when we tried IVF - I didn't want people walking on eggshells round me, nor trying to offer helpful advice, or worried about saying the right thing. It is such a difficult time, and chances are whatever you say could be wrong at any given moment (but could be the right thing to say the next day).

Best thing is probably to do what nomoremagnolia said and say that you are really worried about upsetting her and saying the wrong thing, and go from there. If in doubt, don't comment on anything she says but ask a question instead " and how do you feel now" etc

VengefulSquirrel Thu 23-Aug-07 19:58:58

Agree. The 'not ill' thing is a problem...she has just had a general ana. today and the temptation is to say 'hope you feel better soon' but that is probably not the right approach?

Firepile Thu 23-Aug-07 20:07:53

Hello there Squirrel, I went through a successful ICSI cycle to conceive our ds.

It is very hard to second guesss how your friend is feeling, because everyone handles things differently (I took the opposite approach to Madlabowner and told practically everyone what was happening throughout our cycle. But then I am emotionally incontinent...).

I'd echo nomoremagnolia, though - I think that the most important thing is to tell your friend how you feel - and ask her to tell you how she is feeling and what she needs from you.

Let her guide you about how much or little she wants to talk to you about it. You're love and support will be very important to her, however it is shown.

(And try not to worry about saying things that are crass - I doubt your friend will perceive them that way. Although when I lost one of my two babies at 10 weeks, I found that the people who said the wrong thing actually helped me to deal with how angry I felt about things, by giving me a focus... And I also knew that everyone was trying to be supportive and appreciated that, even if what they said at the time made me cross).

Kewcumber Thu 23-Aug-07 20:11:10

I think you should just say to her that you understand that sometimes she will want to talk about it and sometimes she won't, so you will leave it up to her to raise the subject but that she isn't to think that your silence means you aren't interested or concerned because you are.

The biggest problem for me was the endless question when I really didn;t want to talk about it but no-one asking me when I did. If anyone had said the above to me I would have felt able to raise the subject without being on eggshells that they were going to raise it when I didn;t want them to.

Does that make sense?!

Chirpygirl Thu 23-Aug-07 20:37:13

When I got pregnant I was working with a very good friend who had been ttc for 10 years, she was on her 2nd or 3rd IUI cycle and was on a waiting list for IVF.
I did exactly what nomoremagnolia suggests and told her I was pregnant as I would anyone else, and then said that if anything that I say upsets her or she wants me to change the subject then she is to tell me and I will, no hard feelings, no worries.

I then just got on with it and treated her no differently than before except for a few days when she would quietly say 'can I have no baby talk today, is that okay?' and I would talk about something else.

Definately say something to her as then if you do screw up and say something monumentally stupid (which I did ) then at least she knows that she can say something to stop you doing it again or that you didn't mean it.

I think the fact that you are thinking about this shows what a good friend you are so she should understand what you are trying to say.

VengefulSquirrel Thu 23-Aug-07 20:55:18

Very helpful posts, reading avidly, thank you so much for sharing. Chirpy, you sound like a lovely friend/colleage to have. I hope I can do right by my dear friend. I think tonight is pretty crucial, waiting to see if the little egg fertilises..(sp?!) so everyone send positive energies!

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