As I tell others about our plans, I am struck by their reactions.
I have now disclosed to my best friend, my parents, my youngest sister, and a few other close friends of our plans to begin IVF in just a few short days. My sister (not the one with the rivalry) responded in a very nonchalant, casual manner. I found this unsurprising from her, who can't get excited or emotional about anything, and slightly off-putting. This was not a casual decision. This is fraught with emotion.
My best friend, who is also suffering from infertility and just beginning IUI treatments, squealed with delight. "I'm so excited for you!" she said, multiple times. My mother responded similarly, and then added a few days later she was hoping for triplets. Triplets! I informed her that they would only transfer two embryos at the most and she was disappointed in this. Have I mentioned that my mother is a nurse?!? I was even more off-put by these reactions. It was as if I was informing them that I was already pregnant, that it was a done deal. Yes, the odds are significantly more improved than other options, but this is by no means a guarantee. I did not just sign on the dotted line, pay several thousand dollars, and now get to pick out a baby in nine months. I am not excited. I am a mix of hopeful and terrified.
So, like Goldilocks, I've had responses that were too excited and too unemotional. I have also had responses that were just right, and by those that I would have less expected it from. Two friends, on two separate occasions, who have no other experience with infertility, responded in exactly the right way for me. Neither of them really understood what IVF entailed, and they both asked with genuine interest. I was able to explain the procedures, my concerns, what the expectations are, and what is at stake. They listened. They did not make assumptions. They heard my mix of emotions and they responded with empathy. They responded with hope and positive anticipation, but also with a deep understanding of how big of a decision this was, how complicated the process is, and much is truly at risk. I cherish this.