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Advice with how to approach a colleague starting IVF

(32 Posts)
Martini123 Thu 25-Oct-18 19:39:06

Hi All,

First of all, I hope I am putting this topic in the right area.

Two years ago the person I manage lost her child to stillbirth and earlier this year experienced an ectopic pregnancy. Earlier this year I experienced a miscarriage and together we were being very much there for each other.

I am now pregnant again, just as my colleague has been told she will need to start IVF. She's very down and upset by this news but soon I'm going to have to tell her I'm pregnant again. I'm currently 7w 5d. I was about to tell her last week so that she could have some time to get used to the situation before other colleagues found out but I know how low she is feeling and I don't want to make her feel worse.

What would you do? Wait until 12 weeks so she still has time to get used to her own situation or tell her now so she has time to settle with our situation.

I really want to do what is best by her and remain sensitive to her situation - she's so lovely and deserves all the babies she wants. It's such a heartbreaking situation.

Any advice gratefully received. Xx

Martini123 Thu 25-Oct-18 19:40:17

Sorry - I was about to tell her but she came to see me to tell me how low she had been feeling.

JeNeBaguetteRien Thu 25-Oct-18 20:01:11

I'm sorry for both your losses, and glad that you are being sensitive to her.
If you can, bite the bullet and tell her before she starts IVF, because there is nothing worse than hearing someone's good news just after a failed cycle.

I know you could keep it to yourself for as long as you want, but you were going to tell her last week which is why I'm saying tell her now.
I don't know your dynamic, with friends it's often suggested a text is good because you don't have to do the face to face being happy for them while you're hurting for yourself. So for example a text over the weekend could work.

If you do tell her in work time can you make it not before she has to go into a meeting etc, choose a time when she can go off and absorb the news.
It's not the same but I nipped to the loo before an important meeting on my last IVF and realised I was bleeding and it was just hideous timing.

Hope you have an uneventful pregnancy 🌸

BeautifulPossibilities Thu 25-Oct-18 20:03:03

I think I would contact her outside of work. Text. She will be happy for you night gives her time to process her own hurt

Crusoe Thu 25-Oct-18 20:08:58

I’ve been in a similar situation to your colleague. My advice would be to tell her sooner rather than later, on her own. She might cry, she will be happy for you but sad for herself. Don’t be upset if she doesn’t ask you about your pregnancy as it progresses or doesn’t show much interest- it may all just be too painful.
You sound a lovely caring friend and many congratulations on your own wonderful news.

PurpleDaisies Thu 25-Oct-18 20:41:07

Don’t tell her face to face. It’s an awful position to be in.

I agree with giving her space if that’s possible.

physicskate Thu 25-Oct-18 20:57:15

I'd wait a couple weeks until her news sets in a tiny bit. I was hit with some huge whammies all at the same time (one being that we would need ivf) and it sent me into a tailspin. I didn't even start my cycle until 5 months later. She probably isn't starting it in the next couple weeks...

But definitely tell her before her cycle starts!!! And not in person!!!

Martini123 Thu 25-Oct-18 21:03:50

Thank you so much for these responses. I'd not considered giving her this news by text previously but think this is a really good idea and then when she is (or if she is) ready to talk we can.

Whilst I'm happy for me (although tbh I'm so early and I've learned the hard way not to get too excited) I'm really upset for her and wish we could be on this journey together. I really want to be there for her IVF journey but am worried that if my pregnancy continues it'll be rubbed in her face and am unsure how to be.

I absolutely do not expect her to be part of my journey in any way and will definitely try to remain sensitive to her but it's such a delicate situation, especially once other colleagues find out.

Thanks again! Wishing you all the babies xx

Isittimeforbed Thu 25-Oct-18 21:10:43

I would tell her now. As pp have said, definitely away from work. By telling her earlier you're breaking it to her while it's still a secret, so she gets plenty of time to process it privately before it's common knowledge. And telling her at the point when people often only tell people they're very close to you're showing how considerate of her feelings you're being, which may help soften the blow very slightly. But to be honest, it's going to be incredibly hard for her especially if her IVF doesn't work, but it's not personal.

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 09:41:22

I'm sorry to hear of both of your losses.
This sort of thing is very tricky to deal with, as you are obviously connected and closer through your experiences then is perhaps usual in this work relationship.

If it were me I would not text her. I think she might be hurt. She will not want to feel is that she is unapproachable or you cannot share this news with her in person. Yes she might cry when you tell her but I think she would prefer you told her in person. This actually did happen to me with someone I knew: she was tearful but she said she was so glad I had told her my happy news and not emailed or texted. But you must do what you feel is right obviously, this is just my take on it.

Wish you luck for the rest of your pregnancy and hope your friend also has her much longed for baby. 💐

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 09:43:40

She will not want to feel is that she is unapproachable or you cannot share this news with her in person.

That’s absolutely not what the vast majority of infertile posters say in threads like this. Almost all of us want to be told by text or email.

MynameisJune Sat 27-Oct-18 09:50:02

Definitely don’t tell her in person, explain in the text that you’re doing it via text so that there are no expectations on her reaction.

If you do it in person she is going to feel obliged to put on a happy face and say congratulations. Whilst I’m sure she’ll be happy for you it’s likely her first response will be tears.

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 09:53:05

explain in the text that you’re doing it via text so that there are no expectations on her reaction.

Don’t do that either! She’ll know you’re being considerate. There’s no need to explicitly point out you think she’ll be upset.

Talkwhilstyouwalk Sat 27-Oct-18 10:03:01

If you are close friends I'd just tell her.

Although pregnancy announcements are hard to bare when suffering from infertility, they happen, and ultimately she should want the best for you whilst hoping that her time
comes soon. That's how I've felt in the past whilst suffering.

One thing I would say is don't emphasise that you feel bad telling her, you shouldn't feel bad/guilty in any way and it can come across as smug/patronising when people say they feel bad telling you the good news even if it is out of kindness. It used to make me feel like they didn't think it would happen for me.

Everything crossed that she will get pregnant through the IVF and you can support each other through it. Good luck!

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 10:03:06

Well, as I said @PurpleDaisies that is my personal experience of telling someone that suffered repeated failures not even losses through ivf over a number of years. She eventually went on to conceive a child naturally then have another through ivf. I said I had wanted to tell her via text message but she said it would have been worse for her to know this way.

So, as with most things in life we are not all the same though of course I see entirely why many women might not feel this way and would want to know in private. I was merely sharing my own experience with the OP.

With respect the OP's friend is not infertile. She has conceived twice and gone through something I suspect is more heartbreaking than not ever becoming pregnant which is stillbirth. She has experienced more loss as well as longing already, so I think that whenever and however her two tragic losses will be at the forefront of her mind as well as wondering whether she will conceive again.

Whatever the OP does it will be difficult I suspect.

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 10:04:38

*whenever and however she is told that should read

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 10:08:01

With respect the OP's friend is not infertile. She has conceived twice and gone through something I suspect is more heartbreaking than not ever becoming pregnant which is stillbirth.

Many of us barrens will have been pregnant at some point but not given birth to a baby that has lived. You are being incredibly pedantic about my use of the word “infertile”.

Why on earth are you trying to say whether the pain of never ever being able to have a child is worse if you’ve had a stillbirth? What has that got yo do with anything at all? Who are you to say how different people feel pain and grief?

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 10:10:45

So, as with most things in life we are not all the same though of course I see entirely why many women might not feel this way and would want to know in private. I was merely sharing my own experience with the OP.

And I am sharing the experiences of women who are actually in the position of the op’s friend. If you’d spent any time on this board you’d see almost all of us agree on this.

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 10:21:06

@PurpleDaisies i am not being pedantic about use of the word infertile: I pointed out she had conceived without intervention twice.

I chanced on this as it was an active thread on the talk app and I shared my own experience of telling a woman in a similar position. This has resulted in your being prescriptive and disapproving at first then it seems implacably hostile and a lexicographer.

While I am sorry that your experiences in life may have meant you spend more time on this board than I do, I feel it my right to point out that doesn't give you the right to talk to me on this board like as you have.

@Martini123 I'm sorry if this reply to someone who has an issue with me has turned your thread into something it wasn't.

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 10:23:53

I am not being pedantic about use of the word infertile: I pointed out she had conceived without intervention twice.

It makes fuck all difference to the thread. There was absolutely no need to point it out. What did you get from doing that?

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 10:28:31

@PurpleDaisies you need to stop feeling other people what to write and how to behave.

If my writing that she has conceived twice and alluding to it as a good thing has affronted you to this extent then I suggest you need to stope participating in forums where other people have a write to express a point of view.

I will not allow you to paint me as callous and self absorbed when all you know of me in this context is that I told a woman in a position that was actually very similar and she had said she was was glad I told her face to face. You have chosen to upbraid me for that yet still I was civil towards you. Now you've descended into swearing and aggression.

If you are so obsessed with my being aware of others' feelings and experience perhaps consider that you ought to be more careful about flying off the handle with someone whose own gynaecological history you know nothing about.

PurpleDaisies Sat 27-Oct-18 10:33:45

If my writing that she has conceived twice and alluding to it as a good thing has affronted you to this extent then I suggest you need to stope participating in forums where other people have a write to express a point of view.

That isn’t it at all.

Look at the first post I wrote to you. Yes, your friend may have said she liked that you told her face to face but that it not the view of the vast, vast majority of people in the same position as the op’s friend. The op needed to know that playing the odds, she’s far better telling her friend by text.

You chose to pick me up on a very technical use of the word infertile and state that it’s worse to have had a stillbirth than to never have been pregnant at all. That is pretty callous.

legocardsagain Sat 27-Oct-18 10:57:42

Having suffered infertility and never having conceived, then having IVF, I understand where both of you are coming from.

The hope when carrying an embryo that it will implant and become your child is the kind of hope others will never understand if they have not been there. That is totally different t to being pregnant and suffering a stillbirth.

Having 'lost' my first 2 embryos I was terrified when I got my first every positive pregnancy test. 2 embryos implanted, at 7 weeks there was 1 heartbeat. Joy and grief.

Whilst going through this, I had a member of my team who I was very close to. I hired her and eventually promoted her. She knew where I was in my journey. She was brave enough to come to me and explain she needed time off for an abortion. I was the only person she trusted to keep it discreet. Our HR team were unprofessional and she was right, they would have gossiped.

I processed her sickness absence as flu and she went on to begin a relationship with someone else at work, get married and have 2 beautiful children.

Everyone's journey is different. Everyone reacts differently and feels differently even though their journey may be similar.

I hope OP has contacted this friend and that a text turns out to be the best way forward.

I know many people will feel it is ridiculous for me to mourn and grieve for my lost embryos. To me, they were chances at life. The dna and chromosomal templates were there, they could have been our babies, but they didn't make it.

Stop arguing about technicalities, words and interpretation.

Eatmycheese Sat 27-Oct-18 11:03:10

@PurpleDaisies but it's still a point of view.

My first reply to you was very measured.

I also suggest you read where I wrote "I suspect is more" not "is more". Suspect because I don't know.
For someone who is seemingly very keen on technicalities I would have thought you'd have seen the use of the "suspect" as not categorical per se but someone musing on what is a very difficult subject.

I have to say though, that when individuals like you are ready to pounce on someone else for initially writing something that was well intended, and I thought not at all offensive then it is concerning.

If I'd come on here and written "just tell her to her face. I have no experience in this situation but she's totally selfish if she can't be happy for you" then I would have understood. But I didn't.

I won't be back on this thread. You are intent on deconstructing and misconstruing. I could share my experiences on my journey to becoming a mother, but I won't. It seems to me that instead of authenticating my "right" to be on here which you seem intent on, I would be justifying something I don't need to in my view.

I wish you well.

Cherries101 Sat 27-Oct-18 13:05:38

@Eatmycheese - infertility means more than just failure of conception. A lot of women with pcos or diabetes or genetic conditions for example could conceive naturally but have multiple unexplained stillbirths and miscarriages UNTIL they get ivf and are able choose better quality eggs. So your comment was very ignorant.

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