Recently I've been thinking of how I handled things in the past, and how I want to change things moving forward.
When my brother and his wife were going through IVF you would think they hit the jackpot having me around, right?!? (Kidding) But seriously, I wasn't supportive. (This was before/during nursing school, and becoming an IVF nurse.)
I didn't know the hurt they felt every time they found out something was wrong with one of them; be it my brother's semen analysis, her endometriosis, or lack of viable eggs. They were always hitting dead ends, but they tried effortlessly to find solutions.
Through their three IVF attempts they were unsuccessful. I don't think once I ever told them I was thinking of them or I felt for them. I don't remember really showing much of any support. It's not because I was a huge asshole or lacked compassion it was because I had ZERO idea what they were feeling nor did I even know how to approach the subject.
I think that's when you start feeling alone in the world of infertility. Misunderstood like no one around you cares, but that's not always the case. Not being able to understand the emotional turmoil that people dealing with infertility go through, it's really challenging to show concern. I know because I've been there. Trust me, my brother is hands down my favorite relative. (Sorry other family members that read my blog, but I'm honest and he is.) In no way, shape, or form would I ever want to intentionally show a lack of compassion or concern for what he had to deal with, but I totally did.
I pride myself on being able to empathize with people. It's one thing about myself that I know I am good at (or at least I try really, really hard to be good at).
Can you imagine someone who isn't empathetic having to deal with a friend or family member dealing with infertility? CLUELESS. They don't know what to say or do or ask, shit they probably don't know anything. Just remember how you felt when you started your first IUI or IVF cycle, it's overwhelming.
Now that my brother and wife have adopted the cutest baby, Olivia, I think the struggles that they went through are a distant memory. It still weighs on me how much they went through with very little support from those around them, but if it wasn't for their struggle I probably would have never started my career as an IVF nurse. It's easy when you are removed from a situation to realize how you should have handled things differently. I've learned a lot, and I'm continuously striving to be better.
The moral of today's ramblings is this... people don't generally mean to be compassionless assholes, but they are. It's probably due to their lack of understanding, so instead of thinking the worst, maybe think "this fool has zero idea what I'm dealing with and I'm going to (A.) educate them or (B.) understand that they might never know what it feels like to be in my situation."