‘FOMO’ didn’t really exist back when we were trying [to conceive]. Trust me, it was there, it’s just that the term hadn’t been created yet. I remember being at a friend’s house for the Big Game and having to cut our enjoyment short to return home to administer drugs. (If I hadn’t been scared of needles and requiring a quiet place to poke myself, we would have stayed.) We didn’t share our infertility journey with our friends until we were near the end. Instead, we said “we hate to leave early, but [insert excuse here]”, and ducked out as quickly as we could. We felt bad lying, but we weren’t ready to tell them the true reason, not just yet.
Maintaining a social presence, as a couple or individual, while going through infertility can look and feel different. Here are a few things to consider when navigating social interactions.
It’s ok if your partner goes while you stay home. If you know Ashley is going to be there with their newborn baby, whoever is less inflicted by being around a baby might go while the other person stays home. Another option is you could go together but leave separately at different times to do x, y, z. Or skip the social outing all together. Sometimes just saying ‘no’ is the best option for your emotional, mental and physical well-being. Choosing your well-being over disappointing or hurting someone else’s feelings might be hard at first, but remembering why you’re doing this to start can help alleviate that concern. The most important thing to remember is that you have the ability (and the right to choose) who, when, and how you spend your time.
Deciding who you spend your time with while going through infertility is something to think about. Surrounding yourself with people who are compassionate, understanding, and kind can make all the difference in feeling loved and supported during this difficult time.
Maintaining connections with close friends/family members can be very valuable while going through infertility. Of course, everyone’s support system looks different. Friends can be family members if familial relationships are strained, non-existent, or far away. Making it a point to get out and be social, even when you just want to cry your eyes out, can help. Calling on a friend who can go for a walk and listen without trying to fix things can help provide some relief too.
Making new connections with those in the infertility community or otherwise can be beneficial as well. It’s helpful to feel like you’re not alone. Hearing others share their experiences can help foster strong connections with those who know your struggle. Find a local Resolve support group or join our community to be around those who understand your pain.
When you’re in the midst of infertility treatment, you’re administering drugs during specific time frames each day. What do you do when you need to administer medications while attending a social engagement? Well, here are a couple of options:
Carry your meds with you and steal yourself away to a bathroom or bedroom, or even your vehicle (Jen, co-founder, did that a few times), where you can administer them in private.
Decide beforehand to leave early so that you are back home with enough time to prep and administer the meds.
Decline the event altogether. Know that you don’t have to give an excuse or justify why unless you want to provide an explanation.
As infertility becomes less hush, hush, you might decide to be more transparent and not hide while injecting yourself, well maybe hide the actual moment of injection.
You have a choice in how you spend your time. Consciously choosing what events you go to, or not, might provide a greater sense of control. Often times we say ‘yes’ to events because we feel obligated or guilty, when really we just don’t want to go. Also, remain open to declining at the last minute, because it might be the best thing for you at that moment. Shifting how you spend your time might look drastically different from what you’re used to, for instance, tailgating before a game might be replaced with another activity that doesn’t involve drinking alcohol. You might choose hiking, going to a museum, or learning a new craft instead of going to a bar.
You have lots of options, even some not mentioned here. Take time out to pause, and check-in with yourself, and each other, before responding to an invite. At the end of the day, do what feels best for you in each and every moment.