Family Christmas and failed IVF(19 Posts)
Ladies, I need your help/advice.
I live 1,000 miles away from my family and normally would not spend Christmas with them. However, this Christmas my dad wanted us all together to celebrate, so after a lot of planning and coordinating, we are all set for our first family Christmas in a long time.
Then my darling little sister and her wonderful husband found out on Monday that their third and final IVF attempt had failed. They are so desperately low and have shut themselves away, which I completely understand. (We really struggled to get our family for 6 years, I remember vividly how difficult it was to deal with.)
We are maintaining contact via texts, which again is fine. I have offered to fly over for a hug, but she declined, and I respect that.
I am very aware that the next time I see them, it will be Christmas Eve late afternoon, my kids are all still young and caught up in the magic of Santa/Christmas and my parents are all caught up in making it all for the children. (They are trying their best, but they don't really understand infertility. We have both endured lots of 'well, your father only had to look at me...' repeated comments over the years). We are a close family, and everyone lives in the same street so there will be no avoiding us for my sister. Plus, the kids adore them and are already talking about going for walks with them and their dogs, etc.
Ladies, please offer me some guidance. What can I do to support my sister? Should I make sure I see her before Christmas? What can I offer them for Christmas? (Previous years have all been IVF focused, cds, etc). Should I just get her blotto and have a good cry together?
I just don't know what to do... ￼
it's so lovely that you're thinking of your sister. maybe give her a call nearer the time and see how she's feeling? I'm sorry I have no real advice, I avoided xmas last year as I was having a bad time, even though it was my nephew's first christmas, I just couldn't face it.
maybe she'll want to spend xmas day with just her DH and spend boxing day with your family? you sound lovely so I'm sure between you you'll be able to work something out. hope it goes well for you all
Hello frogs, how great that you have such a good relationship with your sister and are so thoughtful about her. And what a hard situation. How would she react if you just explained your dilemma and asked her the questions you've posted here? I know I have valued my friends when they've said similar things to me. Failing that (or as well as), I agree booze is probably the answer. And lovely frivolous presents! Good luck xxx
Cooper, that is a great idea about Boxing day. I hadn't even considered that. Will guide the parents into possibly making that suggestion in a few weeks.
Crab, I think I will talk to her, it is just so hard to talk about these things over the phone and I can't imagine facetime is something she is up to.
I think a great big piss up when am over and Chinese take away might be the answer.
Would appreciate any ideas of frivolous, indulgent treats?
Just be there for her. Maybe arrange some time with her alone. A nice walk or something so that you can talk without distraction/interruption and really listen to her. Don't offer platitudes or suggest solutions, just be a shoulder. That's all I needed/wanted but never got. I'd have loved for one of my sisters to take me out of the Xmas madness and just give me chance to talk.
she may need some space to get her head around what's happened and recover physically and emotionally from the IVF. It's exhausting and puts your body through such extremes.
And as for gifts, have a think about what sorts of things your sister really likes or is interested in. It's easy to get totally swept along with the IVF madness, so reminding her gently that she's a person who can find happiness in other things may help her along a little. Something sentimental reminding her how loved she is or something luxurious and pampery may be an idea...
Anything that feeds her soul and reminds her that she's worth more than the ability to conceive. And that she's loved and supported.
You sound lovely btw OP.
I have no advice to give but this post made my eyes watery. It's very very thoughtful you've thought of this, not many people who have children or no fertility problems can ever understand the heart breaking and mentally challenging it is for infertile women (and some men) to be around children. I love my nephew but I still find is so hard being around him at Christmas with my parents all excited and I just feel so down and left out. Your an infertile outsider who's looking in, there'll be nothing you can say to your sister than will take away the struggle she is going through, but her knowing your thinking of her and her struggle will mean the world to her.
Hope all your family the best the for Christmas and new year x
broody Med too, my eyes are all watery on the train. Pretending to yawn!
OP you sound wonderful. Definitely agree with the others - take her away from the madness, boozy chinese, a shoulder to cry on, no platitudes or advice. Just be there and let her lead it. Or perhaps ask her if she wants to naff off with her DH for the whole period not just Xmas day, in which case I'd be the one who tells parents and takes the brunt of any "but I want a big family Xmas" and let her get out of it without being guilted etc. It's difficult having a family Xmas when you don't have your own little nuclear family. It's a shame your parents don't get it, but you sound amazing xxx
I echo what PPs said. A call beforehand, asking if there is anything she would like, or anything you can do, would be nice. Don't take offence (or let other family members take offence) if she chooses to stay away for some of the time. See if you can facilitate an 'escape route' for her. Like Broody I love spending time with children but sometimes it gets too much and I have to get away. If you make sure she is able to do that - if she wants - that would be a very helpful gesture. Make sure she has a child-free space to go to, that your children don't pursue her when she wants to be alone, that your parents aren't 'bullying' her into spending time with children that might be painful to her. Going out for a grown-up drink would probably be nice, but be led by her. You sound very thoughtful; I hope my own family members are half as sensitive as you this Christmas.
I had three failed Ivfs. My 4th was successful. She is lucky to have such a thoughtful kind sister. My advice would be, go at her pace. Tell her what you have said here, that if she doesn't want to see you that's fine, if she does that's fine too, whatever works for her. She may not come. Just let her do things at her own pace. It may be too soon for the Chinese piss up but its a nice thought.
Ladies, thank you so, so, so much. I really appreciate the honesty with which you have answered, and it is really, really insightful/helpful. I shall bide my time for now and ask her a little closer to the time. (I shall do a little research into Christmas getaways, just in case. That is what credit cards are for, isn't it?)
(And also thank you for the nice comments. I am trying my best).
Maybe arrange an emergency safe word or phrase with her so that if she feels it is all getting too much you can whizz her out of the situation to "go for a walk, show me that websites, get something out of the car, pin up the hem on your dress" or some other excuse.
I was in your sisters position for several Christmas, I honestly dreaded being asked about it, and hated people pussy footing around me, also hated the sad glances in my direction when I was playing with my nieces and nephews. Just follow your sisters lead, she may want to let her hair relax and forget about it all for a few days.
Some useful thoughts in here: medium.com/@maggiemartell02/how-to-support-family-and-friends-going-through-ivf-at-christmas-53d97ea7f482#.7kpyg4ng0
Op you sound like the most loveliest sister ever, I'd like to adopt you as mine please ;)
I've just about to embark on my 4th IVF so can imagine how low your sister is feeling, also accepting that she's reached the end of the line possibly - I really feel for her.
Each time my IVF has failed I like a mini break away with DH and like some pampering to make me feel more like a woman again and feminine after all the drugs and heartache. Not sure what she's like but I love nice beauty products - real luxury stuff.
None of my family know about my IVF attempts but if they did I'd like them to act as normal as possible around me and not treat me with Kidd gloves.
Wishing you and your sister all the best
You sound a lovely sister. Also went to adopt you as don't have any sisters
Take your lead from her
Continual failed ivf is devasting - i ttc for 10yrs with 99% of friends getting preg naturally and easily - two were accidents
I had 4 private that failed and broke df and I's heart every time
But the 5th hit the jackpot and 22w preg
She may by Xmas think right failed again and play auntie happily or she may find Xmas hard with excited kids
Neither are wrong attitudes
See how she is closer to the time
Good luck bee we told friends and family about 1&2 but their sympathy was so hard to bear that df and I didn't tell anyone about 345 and said we were stopping after 1&2 - plus my mum has just died and all got on top of us so easier to say no more ivf /maybe later
Plus after we did 1&2 if I decided to drive or didn't eat late one meal many would ask if I was preg
Which just hurt even more. Told them firmly I would tell them when preg
And boy did we shock people including my dad bless him
Having been in your sister's situation, and unable to help myself feel sick with envy of my own sister's massive brood of kids, I think the best thing you can offer her is a good half day of uninterrupted just you and her sister time. Get your parents to have the kids and go out with her. Don't talk about your children once, unless she wants to, or about the IVF, unless she wants to (though it would be good to ask how she is)
Take her on an indulgent shopping trip. Not sure about getting drunk. It always seemed such a lousy compensation for not being pregnant but follow her lead on that.
But most of all, a good few hours away from the noise and excitement of children at Christmas, where the focus is just on the two of you.
You sound like a lovely, sensitive sister.
Thanks blonde, really hope this next time us our time - it takes so so much out of you going through it each time.
Congratulations on your pregnancy x
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