How to support colleague with infertility(10 Posts)
I hope I'm not being insensitive by posting here but I would really value some advice. I have a colleague who is going through IVF after unsuccessful IUI. I don't know her terribly well on a personal level but am very fond of her and respect her enormously. I work with her in a supervisory role. She puts a brave face on most of the time but also has days where she can barely function for sadness and anxiety.
What should I say to her? I've made time to listen when she feels like talking and she is very open about her treatment. I've responded positively and in an upbeat way to everything she said, but have also told her that it's ok to have very difficult moments and to find things tough. I have no direct experience of her situation but I do suffer from depression and I know how annoying it is when people give you a load of platitudes and you are supposed to be grateful for a pat on the hand.
Is there anything I can say or do for her that would help? I am crossing everything I have that this works for her.
Thanks for reading
Simply by being considerate in the way that you are is the best thing.
In my case I had good days and bad days, and I had collegues who were willing to take some of the pressure off me on the bad days.
Just let her know that if she needs support you can step up (If thats possible in your roles) but leave it at that.
Do you know what stage she is at?
You sound lovely! The only thing I can think might help, and this is purely based on my experience, is maybe keep an eye on her if it's getting too much and encourage her to take some time for herself. Other than that just keep doing what you're doing
Thanks both for your replies. She is at the very beginning of IVF, just started 2 weeks ago. My heart goes out to her so much - she would be the most fantastic mum in the world so I really hope that all goes smoothly for her.
You sound lovely and as though you are doing everything you can. I remember around this point (past the half way point of down regulation which is basically where they send you into a mini menopause and you loose contact with your happy hormones....) I suddenly started to feel incredibly flat and rubbish and lacking in energy. My colleague who knew was great about this time with starting to do little things like picking my printing up off the printer and, knowing that I was drinking buckets of water to combat side effects, he'd fill my bottle up for me when going to the cooler. Little things that indicated that while he hadn't really a clue what I was going through and he respected my space (don't like being fussed over) he'd help where he could, however small! He was also good at sensing when I'd forgotten about something and saying things like "oh, we need to get X out this week, is there anything we need to discuss?" etc and looking away while I remembered and gratefully went into emergency "do" mode..... I seem to remember the biscuit box was also quite well stocked at this time, for when that avocado diet lost it's appeal......
Hope all goes well for her!
You are a good colleague
I don't know what type of work you do but, together with the excellent advice already given, here are my two pence worth:
- flexibility is key when juggling work and IVF. I ensure I have early appts so as to not clash with work meetings but have always valued the fact that my manager moved stuff around for me to fit in with my treatment. You can get stuck in a clinic for hours or need leave at short notice. I always make sure I work up hours lost.
- if possible a work from home arrangement to handle appts or just to give her some head space
- you mention a supervisory role so if this means you manage her directly ask her about workload. In between failed cycles/miscarriages I throw myself into work and need lots going on as it makes me think of something else other than the fact that I may never be a mum. Other times I just need mundane tasks to get me through some stages of medication as I will be sluggish and bloated and not thinking straight.
- be her 'guard dog'. You say she is open about her treatment but how is she around pg colleagues and baby news? It may be that she is ok with it or prefers to avoid like the plague. if you know that baby news is on the way in the team, take her to one side and tell her privately. She is going to need space and time to collect her thoughts before facing the news in public.
- watch out for insensitive comments from others. The fact that she has been open about treatment should avoid this but it frightening how many people will still say 'you'll be the next to get pg' and 'relax and it will happen'. To an infertile woman this is like wearing a clown costume to a funeral.
- IVF is a very detailed and medical process. Encourage to join her clinic board on Fertility Friends so she can share with others cycling at the same time.
Thank you to all of you for your advice. I just heard today that she is 5 weeks pregnant! She's off work as has had some bleeding and needs to rest. I have never been so excited to hear about anyone's pregnancy!
Please cross your fingers or send good vibes or whatever that all will go well for her. She deserves this so much
Lotta you sound like such a fab person for you.
And Yey for pregnancy, everything crossed here.
Great news, I wish her a very safe and happy eight mths!!
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