Saturday, January 31, 2009

Under 40, but you should see my ovaries!

After much thought, I'm joining an IVF support group. I've been feeling funked out lately and I can't seem to shake it. Last night I went to bed at 7. Not good. Not good at all.

It's not even a support group per se that I'm after. But I'm starting to feel isolated. The longer this infertility madness goes on the harder it is for me to socialize with my old friends, who are all either procreating or not trying yet and either way just do not understand the depths of our longing/obsession/sadness. Family too is difficult and are prone to try to tell us how they understand (when they clearly don't) or to offer well-intentioned but misplaced advice.

What I would love to find is more of a social group that would fit the situation we find ourselves in: an infertile softball league or an infertiles dinner group. It would be lovely to have a group of women in real life who get it. Not that we'd even have to talk about infertility all that much but just that we'd know that the others knew and understood...

Since I cannot find such a thing, I decided to join a support group. Surprisingly, it was tough to find a general IVF infertility group in NYC. I found adoption groups and donor egg groups, but not general ones addressing the suckiness of IVF and nothing for women who've been through recurrent pregnancy loss.

The closest I could find was a general IVF group for women over 40. When I called the social worker, she said she makes no exceptions - and "given you just turned 37, I don't think this group would meet your needs."

I asked her to let me describe my situation in a couple of sentences and she could decide if it might be a good fit. She ended up saying "Oh, my!" and asked me to come in for a consultation.

At the end of the meeting she said, "I think you would be perfect for this group!" What I wanted to hear, I guess, but hmmm....a bit of a therapeutic backhanded compliment, no?



  1. I think the alienation and isolation of infertility is one of the must unexpected side effects. good to hear you found a group for support, even if you never really wanted to join.

  2. I'm glad that you were able to find a group to join. I know what you mean about finding it difficult to talk to friends/family about ivf. Just last night I was talking to a friend about my upcoming cycle - well in-between her caring for a toddler. Talk about awkwardness and bad timing.

    I haven't found a group in my area, actually I haven't really looked, but I have been posting to which has chat boards organized by topic (location, procedures, age group, cause, stressful situations, etc). I even found people who were cycling the same time as me at the same clinic! One drawback is that I never met my cyclebuddies face to face.

  3. I'm glad you "qualified". We are lucky. We go out with a fellow infertile couple once in awhile for drinks and dinner. It's nice to have a real life couple to share experiences and jokes with. She is having her first IVF retrieval in Feb. I don't know what will happen when one of us finally does get pregnant...

    I hope you find some support in your group.

  4. I joined an infertility support group but, they were really really not supportive because I look like I'm 20, even thought I'm 30, and everyone else was over 40. The woman who ran the group made the comment "They let you out this late" indicating that I should have a curfew because I was so young... what was the most annoying was that I was the most infertile of them all.. the other women were nice but the women that ran the group was HORID - I went twice and then never again, it made me feel even more isolated.

    ANYWAY - I really hope that these ladies are nice to you and that you get all the support that you need. Ivfc onnections is also good in case you want on line support.

  5. um....yeah. a little bit of a backhanded compliment. it sounds like this might be a good group for you.

    we don't have anthing in my area either. i looked into a few things that would involve a 2 hour drive, but that didn't sound that good to me. i get jealous of people with good groups, like DC area.

    thinking about you.

  6. I love the idea of an infertile softball team. Instead of tipping back pitchers and eating wings after the big game, we could compare needle marks and talk about phantom symptoms.

    I think a support group sounds awesome. It's so hard to talk to IRL friends who just don't understand or try a pat, "It will happen for you. I know it." That one makes me want to hurl.

  7. I just joined a group in Boston at the Mind Body Institute @ Mass General. After 2 IVF rounds, which ultimately failed, I feel enormous relief to be in a room of women like me, AND we're of all ages, all situations. Plus, it's not just bitching, it's proactive. So far we are doing meditations, and exploring the connection between stress and infertility. I strongly encourage you to email them and see if there is something comparable in your area. I am doing my IVF treatments at Mass General, and this program is through them, but I found out about it from a friend of my husband, not my fertility team of top notch RE - wtf??? Link:

    email on the sidebar. bound to be something in NYC. Best of luck, and you are NOT alone.

  8. I am glad you found a support group. It is always great to find people who are going through the same thing as you and understand how you feel. I think a softball team would be great. I joined a group through RESOLVE and I have only been twice but I always feel so good when I leave.

  9. Over 40 under 40 - going through IVF is going through IVF. Sorry you had to work so hard to get into a support group but I am glad you found one.

  10. I'm glad you found a support group, Mo. I'm not sure that even the best-intentioned non-IF friends have much of a clue what this shit feels like.

    If you ever want to get together for a decaf-latte or a really decadent bowl of rice pudding, let me know. I'm in Brooklyn & I work weird hours, but I'd love to meet other folks whose lives I'm following online, for real, in person. And rice pudding hasn't been proscribed yet. Yet.

    Besides which - surely there are more of us in this city! Hell, I'm pretty sure there are more of us than we realize on every single subway car I ride. Maybe WE should start the softball team (except I'm no good with objects flying toward my face!) A dinner group, perhaps - one that never goes to sushi bars, or bars of any sort, actually. *sigh*

    Take care of yourself, sweetie. The depression that accompanies all of this on so many levels is the one side effect I don't think anyone ever mentioned to me, and it's been - far and away - the worst side effect of them all. Hang in there.

  11. How strange that you could only find an IVF support group for women over 40! I find a real life support group to be helpful. It is nice to talk to women who get it and who you don't have to explain what you are doing and why. I was in a support group that had a few medical professionals, and they ended up getting pregnant. It was so interesting to have their point of view.

  12. I am sorry you so obviously qualified but hopeful that you will find some kick-ass "older" gals (like me at 41) who have been raked through the infertile coals and keep fighting!

    To blend in, you may want to ocassionally reference Prince, Duran Duran, and MORE Magazine :)

  13. One thing that's been less-than-ideal about my IRL support group is that there is a high proportion of IF newbies. So a lot of time is spent with them asking the veterans (including myself) nuts and bolts info about various treatments. Sounds like your new group will have people much more on the same page. Hope you enjoy it (or, if not enjoy, at least get something out of it)!

  14. I hope you find what you are looking for in this group. I'm glad you found one in the city. Good luck to you!


  15. I think it's a very big (smart!) move on your part to seek-out support. I really hope that the group you've found meets your needs.

    From my experience with group support, it's always very comforting knowing that you're not traveling on a journey all alone. Being able to identify with others who are working through the same feelings/thoughts/circumstances can be incredibly healing. All my best to you Mo!

  16. So glad you found a group and "made the cut," even if it's for a not-so-cheery reason. Having never connected with infertile women in real life, only online, I'll be really interested to hear how your experience is. I wonder if/how the dynamic is different when you're face-to-face.

    Hugs to you, and congrats for taking this proactive step.

  17. glad you found this group, and even though it isn't a softball team or dinner group (GREAT IDEAS), hopefully you'll be able to connect with some kindred spirits. Plus, it is fun to be considered young from time to time!

  18. I also belong to an IF support group - it has been THE BEST thing ever.

    We meet, have supper together and then talk and give our updates.

    Some of us even meet more often than once a month because we stay near each other.

    It will make you feel so understood - I'm sure you'll love it!

  19. Mo,

    Could you please send me the link to the +40 support group in NYC?



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