'Be mindful': the news that can divide a friendship

Photo: Brooke and her two girls. Supplied
Photo: Brooke and her two girls. Supplied 

I found out pretty quickly that having a baby the old-fashioned way wasn't going to happen to me. My body doesn't ovulate so instead of wasting too much time, we opted to do IVF

I was one of the lucky ones. The process took around 18 months for me to fall pregnant the first time and just four the second time, and although gruelling, my outcome was a good one. Her name is Edie and she is the bloody bestest.

During my first IVF stint, before I had become a mama, I wondered if it would work for me.

I had some bad days where I was sick of being poked and prodded like a pin cushion and had the occasional hissy fit or snapped at my poor husband when he couldn't read my mind and know I needed ice-cream ASAP. But mostly, I felt assured that things would work out. I had hope.

At the same time we were going through the IVF ride, one of my best friends and her partner were trying for their second baby.

I vividly remember the Saturday morning she invited us over to her house for brunch and while devouring our smashed avo, she looked me in the eyes and told me she was pregnant with baby number two. I was truly thrilled for her. And I wasn't just putting it on for her either, I really was over the moon for her and her growing belly.  I really did feel that my time would come.

And until it did, I was going to revel in all the excitement that she was going through and buy all the cute little outfits I could get my hands on.

Photo: Pregnant with her second child. Supplied.

But for many women who have been on the IVF train for years, and perhaps given up hope, this isn't so easy.

They are faced with this situation time after time, year after year and it can be enough to strain friendships and create a distance within friendship circles. They start building new social groups with people who are in the same situation as them and understand what they're going through.

According to Sydney-based counsellor and co-author of Empowered Fertility: A Practical Twelve-Step Guide, Claire Hall, says IVF can often be the 'silent killer' among female friendships.

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"A lot of people going through the IVF cycle can find relationships tend to dwindle. (The recipients) might withdraw because they don't want to go to another baby shower or face the family at Christmas when they're trying to avoid everyone knowing about it," she tells.

She added that news of friends, colleagues and family members who have got pregnant can also add to the stress and frustration for those struggling with infertility while trying to conceive.

"One (of my clients undergoing IVF) had a baby announcement nearly every day in the office at work recently and found it incredibly hard. She worked in a nice office environment then suddenly it's a pregnant environment that she's not a part of — all of a sudden she's out of the club.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Brooke Campbell Bayes (@brookecampbellbayes) on

For what it's worth, I think the best thing you can do if you find yourself in the situation where you're going through a pregnancy and have a friend going through IVF, is to be mindful.

Don't not be you and hold back your happiness for a second. She does not want that. But if you go for lunch and you spend the whole time complaining about your swollen feet or the weight you've put on she may just want you to choke a little on your salad….just a little.

While it wasn't always easy to buy more cute socks for mini feet that weren't growing in my belly, I wanted to be there for my friends, and celebrate those mini feet with the hope that one day I would have my own mini feet. And now I do.

Have you been through IVF, and if so what advice would you give to the friends of someone going through this experience?