Fertility Network UK
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Should I stop hiding this From friends?

Hi everyone, think I had my first ivf journey meltdown last night. I'm currently on a little break from everything until I have a frozen transfer in Dec, eggs were collected nearly 2 weeks ago. I had a hen night out last night and as I can now drink alcohol and feeling much better I decided to go. Everything going well until one of the other hens who I've never met before tells me she's just had a miscarriage. The conversation starts, combined with a few cocktails and I end up in tears. Lots of my friends who were there don't know that I'm going through this, hence very awkward trying to hide the tears running down my face, so embarrassing. Maybe I should be honest and tell my friends the truth? Was it too soon to go on a night out? Is it more stressful lying? I don't want others to think I'm being silly or drunk randomly crying on a night out. I know I shouldn't be embarrassed. I don't know why I just can't face telling certain friends. Has anyone found it a little easier after opening up? Are certain situations then avoided maybe? xxx

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I can’t really advise you on what’s best for you, I can only tell you about my experience. I’ve been ttc for 4.5 years and at first I didn’t tell anyone. Since starting treatment I have slowly told more and more people around me until now all of my friends and workmates know. My husbands family all know but I haven’t told my family as we’re not especially close. I have found good and bad things in being honest with people. I will say however that the cons are not what I expected eg no one judged me or thought less of me.

Pros

Having someone to talk to when I need it. My husband is amazing at practical stuff but less good at talking about emotions so some of the people I’ve told have become invaluable to my sanity.

Everything has been easier at work with regards to appointments and time off in the 2ww and after results as everyone understands. Turns out the lady who okays time off had her kids through ivf.

I’ve had so much support from my colleagues and friends it has made most thing easier.

Normalising my treatment by talking about it regularly did help to make it feel easier but this took time and felt very strange at first.

Other people have been able to talk openly at work about their infertility because I have broken the taboo and I have been able to support a non work friend through a miscarriage who admitted she wouldn’t have talked about it if I hadn’t gone first.

Cons

People WILL say stupid things. Even my friends who are usually good at advice rolled out the cliches. I dealt with this by being honest and telling them why those things upset me and in general that went ok.

When I’ve lost a pregnancy everyone has to be told (as they are all pretty much on the journey with me) which sucks more than I can describe as it’s usually the last thing I want to talk about.

People can take you by suprise and ask you about it at the wrong time. Eg my husbands aunt who asked how my treatment was going in the middle of a family party.

You have to decide what will make you feel the most comfortable. You know your friends and how they will react to stuff like this. I hope my experiences help to reassure you and help you make a decision.

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It’s a difficult to advise but sometimes it’s best to be honest but really truly depends on your friends. I haven’t told anyone but that’s just personal choice. Having meltdowns is normal. I would suggest counselling support too- I was unsure of it to start with but it’s actuallu helpful to talk to an independent person and be totally honest

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Hello lovely, I totally agree with M_V_B and that there are a few cons, like telling everyone when it hasn’t worked, but ultimately they’re the same people I would turn to in any crisis. I’ve found telling friends has just given me a wider support network, and they understand when the drugs are making me weird, or I can’t drink, or a need a bloody good night out when it has all gone hideously wrong. Work again has been easier regarding treatment which is good. But with regards to your night out we’ve all been in tears after a few too many cocktails so try not to worry! Xxx

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Open up. You have nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about xx

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Hi there, I hope you are doing well. As for me, I've told only a couple of my closest friends about my situation, but due to mood swings during the treatment we somehow slowly stopped our friendship 😞 As for others, they all started to have kids, so it was quite painful to meet them... So, these relations also ended. The only support I have comes from my husband and my family. They are great at this and I am very grateful for that.

Concerning work, only my managers were notified of my situation. They approved my times off, and I'm also grateful that they appeared to be nice and understanding people. But I decided to keep silent with my coworkers in order to avoid any gossips behind my back.

I suppose that if you trust your friends, you should tell them of your journey. But if you feel not so sure about some of them, then keep silent. In other words, always listen to your heart. And always make decisions that will be the best for you.

Hope my experience will somehow help you. Good luck to you!

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Thank you for everyone's advise. I'll take it all on board. I think the people I'll find hardest to tell are those I look at and think that they're lives are perfect, a 'how could they understand' sort of situation. Having said that, everyone who knows about it so far have all been very supportive, and I find that this forum is definitely a place I go to for advise and support. Thanks all xx

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You might be surprised about their journeys so far, lots of people present as perfect when they’re not. And even if their life is perfect now, one day it might not be and, by having trusted them to support you now, you might become the person they turn to for support later when they have their own tough times. Because everyone has tough times eventually and good friends will see each other through the highs and the lows.

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I am sorry to hear about your incident dear. THese things happen to women in your position all the time. Don't stress to much over it and just let it go. When it comes to your friends you get to pick them. If you think that they don't deserve to know about your life then fine, go with that. It is just normal for human beings to be less social at times. There are things that you don't want anybody to know. However opening up about these things can really help you out. Personally since i started talking about my issues openly I feel relieved! You will see that it will have an impact in your life. Maybe what you need are better friends. In our everyday society these things aren't taboo anymore. I guarantee you my friend that nobody will think less of you after you tell them that you have certain challenges that you have to overcome. In my case for example people started calling me a warrior.... This is a little cocky but I want to be honest with you, that made me feel good. SO definitely do tell your friends and family. However that's just a suggestion take it or leave it is up to you... You know your circle better than anybody, the decision should be completely yours.

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You sound a lot like myself! The only people that know about mine and my partners journey is both sets of parents and siblings. For me, both of us are happy just to keep everything to the close family and everyone is very supportive, and I tend to vent or seek advise from here. I can see that maybe speaking to others could help, but for us it’s a private matter. My boss has been great with appointments, but depending on what happens next I might have to share more. Sorry not much help I know, but everyone is different and I can see both options. Good luck xxx

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Totally agree with what others have said, in the beginning we didn’t tell hardly anyone especially falling pregnant after my first cycle we naively thought we wouldn’t need to. Unfortunately as we’ve experience more heartache we’ve opened up to more people and since my 4th cycle more people again, it does help people understand and gives your a greater support network. You don’t have to tell everyone though, maybe just the friends your closest to xx

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I would find it stressful to hide. I’ve told everyone in my life, including work (but I know I’m lucky that they’re sympathetic). My hubbie tried to hide it from his family/friends/colleagues for a while but he found it stressful. He deals with it all better now he has been open about it. I recommend being open, though I know it’s not for everyone.

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I was advised to only tell people we thought would be supportive. So for us that was parents, my siblings and their other halves, hubby's uncle and aunt and 2 close friends. I also told my boss and initially close work colleagues/friends, I then told all my colleagues by email. It helped them knowing and to have someone to talk to if I needed. 3 of my colleagues had had fertility treatment, not IVF/ICSI, but they did have an idea of what it was like. Over time and as cycles went on we told a few more people, hubby was initially very reluctant to tell his friends at first.

It's up to you who you tell and what you tell them. You don't need to tell everyone everything.

Good luck with your FET.

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I’ve told everyone... it’s so much easier for me. Means no one asks awkward questions, and actually everyone was so supportive to me. Plus I want to open peoples eyes to what people go through, and lift the taboo too.

If you’re worried about telling people if a cycle ends badly, I’d say just to tell them you’re having transfer soon, and when you have any news to share with them you will let them know. That way people will support you in the run up but give you the space til you’re ready to talk after if good or bad news xx

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To build on what Orla says, one problem with everyone knowing is that you do get people saying things like “let us know how it goes” without thinking about what they’re saying... like you’re going to want to ring people and tell them you had a bfn! I now respond to that with, “I’ll tell people if I get to 12 weeks pregnant like with any normal pregnancy”, and everyone has been fine with that. I don’t usually tell people specifics of my treatment like what day I’m having transfer, except work colleagues obviously know because I’m off work! But if people know generally what you’re going through it, it does make life easier I think.

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It’s so tough to know whether or not to tell people and once you do it you can’t take it back and need to deal with the questions.

Like the ladies have said I think it’s important to have support but I’ve just told selected people. The ones I trust.

For me it’s more about explaining the reason for needing fertility treatment. Because we need to use a sperm donor I’d be telling people that our children aren’t biologically my OH’s and I’m not too eager to publicise that for his sake.

It’s yet another crappy thing about the fertility journey, but I’d tell only the people I can trust xx

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I totally get why you wouldn’t want to share that with everyone. I guess you share as much or as little as you want, but some people are nosey and want to find out more!

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Hey

I chose to open up I couldn’t take bottling things up any more and I just blurted it out! I’ll be honest my friends don’t see the melt down side they think I’m coping but at least they know. It helped me but everyone’s different you have to decide what’s best for you. Hugs xx

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Hey there. Myself & hubby are just about to start first cycle and also in that dilemma of who to tell. What's holding me back is once you tell people you can't take it back. Me & hubby are quite private people and with my friends its a case if I tell one the whole group will know. My friends know we have been trying for 2 years but haven't asked about how I am or treatment or anything. I also really reduced alcohol intake so have only drank on a few occassions the past year and still get the "oh are you pregnant?" comments. I also feel like if anything Ive nearly been left out because Im not drinking.

I dont know what to do for the best but found M_V_B pros and cons list very helpful. One of the main reasons we have kept it to ourselves so far (I am being brutally honest here) is that I'm not sure how much my friends would care. Yes on the surface we would get the hope you are ok comments etc but with regards to really emphasising with the emotional pain, I am not confident that would happen. I kind of feel the opportunities have been there to ask more about it given invitations I have laid out and the questions haven't been asked. I agree with the others though ivf is nothing to be ashamed of, it should be celebrated and people knowing could really help with support. I just dont feel its for me at the present time, though I could change my mind, we shall see 😁 xxx

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I didn’t tell people to start off with, especially people at work because I’d only just started the job when we did our first cycle. That ended in a chemical pregnancy and I’ve got to say that that the second time round, I did tell work and it was much easier to deal with. People were super supportive. I guess it’s personal choice but I definitely felt better not having to hide it. Good luck!

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Aw ash :( how horrible for you. I've told my closest friends and colleges who I work with. I had to I've had so many down days and tearful times i wanted them to be aware of why I've been one big miserable mess the last few months. I felt better once I told them, I haven't told everyone. Also when I'm going through treatment I tell as little people as possible otherwise everyone wants to know how it's gone out of care and natural curiosity but it's really difficult then if it doesn't work having to repeat that conversation. So I do try to keep the actual transfer quiet. I hope your ok ! Xxxx

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Think I needed it to be honest. I've kept it together for so long I was probably due a cry, unfortunately it was on a night out in front of friends! I've told one or two of them since. Think it takes the stress out of it and they're all really supportive xx

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I would say be truthful to only a few close friends, as we all need someone to talk to. However not everyone will understand, so please think carefully who you tell. I have had many tears it not melt downs to me. IT IS JUST BEING HUMAN.

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