Sunday, February 05, 2006

Eat more fish!

Last Friday, I met for lunch with Elizabeth* a friend of mine from college . I see her a couple of times a year. I hadn't told her about our little problem before, mainly because I wasn't ready to tell. She's single, and I feared that she would 'like to have my problems', if you know what I mean.

I changed my mind about talking about our IF to her, because frankly, if I didn't what else was I going to talk about? Conversation had become exceedingly sparse the last time we met.

I told her I had been to the hospital, which is why I couldn't meet her on Wednesday as she had suggested. Then, while toying with my food, I told her we were trying to find out why we can't seem to have children.

Now, I consider Elizabeth a sensible women, but I must have really startled her with this news. WIthin 10 minutes, she had spouted no less than 3 classic blunders.

Elizabeth: "It must be all the stress you're under".
Me: "No, that's a myth. There are lots of myths about IF".

Elizabeth:"Well, adoption is always an option".
Me: "Hm, that's rather complicated." (At least it was the variant without 'just').

Elizabeth:"What about in vitro insemination".
Me:"You mean fertilization. That's a very taxing treatment, both physically and mentally. The doctors like to try less invasive treatments first. And IVF isn't a sure thing either. "

3 classic comments, but then she came up with this:

Elizabeth: "Perhaps you should eat more fish!"
Me: "???" (Fish!)

Now that I think about it, this one is a classic in disguise. You'd be fertile if you ate right.

I wasn't pleased with this conversation, but everything she said was a clumsy attempt at expressing concern and offering help. I would have gotten upset if I hadn't been so well prepared for this by my IF comrades.

I told her that the hardest thing to deal with right now is the feelings of depression. She advised me to see a psychologist, that it had worked wonders for her.
Seeing a therapist is far from commonplace in my corner of the world. I seized the opportunity to ask her about it, how had she found her therapist, how often did she go, what does it cost... I've considered going to a psychologist for help, but I'm reluctant.

I'm still not convinced. I would have to pretty confident that it's someone who is familiar with IF patients. Cluelessness is ok, but I'm not going to spend my money and time to educate a psychologist on the psychological pitfalls of IF. But maybe I'm just being ignorant, I'd be happy to hear of your experiences.

On the cycle front, today is day 1 of another 2ww, if I can believe the temperature hike I saw this morning. I feel ambivalent about this cycle working. I've switched to decaf today but have had a drink this evening anyway. Inconsistent, me? I've been here before, and will be here again.

* Name changed to protect the innocent.

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At 05 February, 2006 23:23, Anonymous Lori said...

Oh, the blunders can be tough when you know it's just a friends way of trying to express their concern.
I haven't been to a therapist yet but I think if my schedule weren't so hectic I would've gone by now.

At 05 February, 2006 23:26, Blogger Mellie said...

I've thought many times about going to speak to someone, but haven't actually done it. If you have the time and the money, I don't really think there'd be any harm in it.

I think once you start sharing the situation with friends/family, it gets easier to do. Some comments will never be easy to hear, but it's good to remember that they're just saying things in an effort to help. Sometimes that makes the sting hurt less for me.

At 05 February, 2006 23:53, Blogger Sparkle said...

I think the comments are slightly easier to understand from someone that is single - and not even there yet.
I reckon also in her favour, she probably really appreciated you being open - single people can feel very left out themselves - and sometimes feel like there is something wrong with them. Her telling you about her therapy could have been her way of sharing something hard that's been on her mind as well.
I haven't had any therapy, not interested, but I think it could have great advantages for some. I just don't want to sit in a room and dwell on everything - I'm just trying to live positively.

At 06 February, 2006 01:38, Blogger Ladybug Ann said...

If it was me, I could have forgiven all the comments but the "eat more fish". The other comments are her way of trying to provide comfort, a bit awkward but she tried. But the fish comment, "Well, I guess crack addicts ate a lot of fish!"...

I've been toying with the idea of seeing a therapist but with all these clinic appointments, I fear that another appointment into my crazy life will cause me more stress.

At 06 February, 2006 03:05, Blogger PI Jill said...

Just think how much fun it will be to write a blog entry titled, "I Owe It All To The Tuna fish!"

At 06 February, 2006 15:10, Blogger fisher queen said...

Oh bless her, she tried. It's hard to get really angry at the well meaning clueless. I always make it a point to educate them so they don't catch someone else unawares.

Resolve (.org?) should have a list of therapists familiar with IF in your area. I saw one and found a support group from those links about a year ago. It really helped.

At 06 February, 2006 18:11, Blogger ninaB said...

I've heard similar comments from family. They're trying to be helpful & understanding but really don't know what to say. More fish? That's a first. Am thinking of seeing a therapist myself, but ambivalent for the same reasons you note.

At 06 February, 2006 22:02, Blogger Just another Jenny said...

It's so funny, just when you think "o.K., I'll tell them", they justify why you didn't tell them in the first place.
The stress comment sends me over the edge - we are MF due to vas-reversal so even suggesting that my stress causes our IF is enough to make me kill you.

At 06 February, 2006 23:07, Blogger Bronwyn said...

It sounds like your friend meant well, but it's so hard to hear those old chestnuts without cringing.

If you could find a therapist that specialized in treating IF patients, you might find it helpful. I talked to such a therapist after we lost the baby and it did help somewhat. Just being able to talk to someone whose only purpose for that hour is to help you figure things out (and has no personal agenda with you) can be a big relief.

At 07 February, 2006 00:08, Blogger Liz said...

It's hard to be upset when people have no knowledge of IF....that's what's so frustrating. You want to share this with your friends but can't because of how their comments will make you feel. Seeing a therapist would be good but I agree with you they have to have experience with IF.

At 07 February, 2006 00:15, Blogger Beth said...

The blunders are tough, but you handled it well.

As for the psychologist, I have thought about it many times. In fact there is one attached to my clinic, so I know she is familiar with IF. I just think they reserve her services for those who are already started on the IVF path, and we aren't there yet.

At 07 February, 2006 00:54, Blogger S said...

Argh-no matter how many times I experience it myself, assvice is still assvice.

It's hard, when your friends mean well by saying such things, but it's still tough to hear-I've pretty much resolved myself to hearing The Litany Of Assvice every time someone new hears of my infertility woes, but it doesn't ease the frustration.

As for therapy-it's always a good thing to be able to unburden yourself, but you're right-it needs to be someone well-schooled in what you're dealing with. Perhaps your doctor can steer you in the right direction? Just a thought.

At 07 February, 2006 03:43, Blogger InDueTime said...


I love fertiles..they crack me up!

I was telling a coworker today that I cant wait to get all my lab work back this week and she said well if its normal then it means your just trying too hard...

Im in the 2ww boat with ya chickie!

At 07 February, 2006 03:50, Blogger Beagle said...

I've never heard the fish one . . . at least it was new. ??

It is frustrating.

We see a social worker/therapist who specializes in IF issues (we go as a couple) and it's been helpful for us. You do need a good one though, that may be hard to find.

If you're interested start with asking your RE if they recommend one.

At 07 February, 2006 16:33, Blogger N said...

I am not sure, but here generally it is not so common to see a therapist, really something bad must have happend. But then again, dealing with IF is "something bad". So, if you find a therapist you can trust, why don't you try it. You don't have to go back it it's not giving you anything.

About the fish: I don't even knnow what to reply, but would look very much forward to a post titled "I own it all to the tuna fish" as pi jill suggested. That comment actually made me laugh. The ignorance of the fertile work on the other hand makes my stomach turn.

Take care!


At 07 February, 2006 21:08, Blogger Ornery said...

The advice of the "well meaning clueless" (as Fisher Queen so aptly phrased it), is definitely exasperating but can also be highly amusing. I haven't heard the fish comment before, but have been told to drink lots of raspberry leaf tea, guzzle down the Robitussen, stuff yogurt up my cooch (I think she was confusing infertility for yeast infection, though I wouldn't do it for that either), and my favorite from a particularly clueless acquaintance: rub Vicks vaporub on my body so as to "decongest" my ovaries.

At 07 February, 2006 22:46, Anonymous Kath said...

Decongested ovaries. Yeah. Eat more fish? Because what, mercury is like baby dust?

Good for you for opening up to your friend. I hope and trust she will get better about it. Although that tendency to want to fix things immediately is getting to me -- why can't people just listen and ask questions instead?

As for speaking to someone, I'm sure it helps -- as long as that person knows all about IF. You're right, it would suck to have to educate your therapist about something like that.

At 08 February, 2006 02:11, Anonymous Wavery said...

Oh lordy. Mudge was reading your blog and started cackling like a little girl at that suggestion. I'm so sorry honey. Fish, snort.

At 08 February, 2006 04:39, Blogger Vacant Uterus said...

From personal experience, fish had nothing to do with it. I've been taking fish oil supplements for years now, with no noticeable change.

Friends. They mean well, the execution is sometimes just an execution. Hang in there, girl. I'm crossing my fingers for this TWW to be a lot longer.

At 08 February, 2006 23:19, Anonymous patricia said...

Shrinks are a good thing - but I agree that someone who has a bit of a specialty in infertility is a good thing.

I heard some pretty asinine things from one of the shrinks I saw.

At 08 February, 2006 23:27, Anonymous Manuela said...

I hear that sardines and anchovies are particularly helpful...


At 09 February, 2006 02:38, Blogger Dream Mommy said...

Wow! Three blunders that quickly? in-vitro insemination, lol!

At 09 February, 2006 17:21, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi there....
I'm a first time poster but no stranger to IF (3.5 yrs). After a m/c & multiple failed treatments, including 2 fresh IVF & 1 FET, I was sinking fast. I did start seeing a therapist and I can honestly say I finally feel great! I still obssess over every little twinge & tingle in my body (come on, let's be honest, that isn't going to stop) but at least I feel more at ease with my choices. I am not seeing an IF therapist per se, but he IS a specialist with stress. Anyway, it's worth a shot.

As for your friend.... ya just gotta give her credit for trying. My MIL cut out an article she saw in a magazine. It had all the simple stuff like positions & laying in bed for 20 min after sex. I was SOOOOOO peeved that I just didn't know what to say. Yeah, that's right, after 3+ yrs of ttc, why didn't I think of THAT!!??. Hehehe. They really do mean well. Ya just gotta love 'em.

Anyway, you might want to give the therapy a try. Can't hurt!!


At 09 February, 2006 23:52, Blogger Lut C. said...

Thanks for your comments, I've been laughing behind my computer quite a lot. :-)

And thanks for the advice on the therapist. For now, I'm going not going to see one, but I might change my mind down the road.

At 11 February, 2006 22:24, Anonymous wessel said...

Oh man, well, I have to say that you fielded all of those clueless comments with such aplomb! Good for you. It took me years to learn how to respond calmly.

As for therapy, you definitely would want someone who is experienced with infertility. I had one therapist briefly who helped us with the donor egg piece, but she couldn't quite "get" my religion, so that was an imperfect situation. And religious therapists just couldn't stop from dropping their jaw over the donor egg thing. Ugh. Needless to say, therapy has not worked out for me.

Instead, I turned to bibliotherapy. The one book that helped me the very most was Dr. Alice Domar's Conquering Infertility. I highly recommend it.

Hang in there.

At 06 March, 2006 15:13, Blogger Me said...

You should do what feels right to you because everyone handles infertility very differently. I stopped telling anyone because it just made people awkward, and feel sorry for me, and not talk about their families. I'm the last to know when someone is pregnant because noone wants to tell me. I'm just infertile for God's sake, not a leper! BTW - my favorite comment is "You should stop trying and it will happen naturally" Oh yeah, genius, why didn't I think of that?


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