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ameliaswansonphd19 karma

I'm so sorry to hear that you're going through this! The issue with jealousy is something I hear about from almost all my infertility clients so you are not alone. As the saying goes, infertility is the worst club with the best people :)

I think of jealousy during infertility as a form of grief. People often forget that grief is not only sadness, but also anger and jealousy. And people feel jealous AND happy for their friends and family, even if it's hard to notice the second part. I find that reframing it as grief can help people be more gentle and compassionate towards themselves. When people feel jealous, they often also feel really down about themselves and judgmental that they shouldn't feel that way, which isn't helpful.

In terms of the baby shower, or other event, I think it's really important to be brutally honest with yourself and what you can handle. People are often more sensitive during treatment or when getting news like a negative pregnancy test or pregnancy loss. Can you talk to your friend to let them know you are struggling and as much as you want to support them are struggling with intense grief and may not be in a good place emotionally. Sometimes letting them know (if you think they will be supportive) can help so you can both think of ways to be involved that you can handle. I then think about different levels of participation. Can you go and have a good time? Maybe if you take your own car and know you may leave early? Maybe if you have a friend that is a support? Maybe if you take breaks by going outside or to the bathroom? If you don't think you can go and enjoy at least part of it, it's ok not to go. Send a fabulous gift and focus on taking care of yourself.

It can be daunting to think about if you will ever get pregnant or have a baby. I think it's helpful to focus on your next steps in treatment while also trying to make sure you have a life outside of fertility and trying for a baby. Are you waiting for your next ovulation window? IUI? IVF cycle? fertility doctor appointment? Monitoring appointment? Try to focus on the next step. Fertility will easily take over your life. Trying to have hobbies, interests, friends outside of all of this can help you stay connected to the other parts of yourself. Finally, it is ok to grieve and feel sad and angry. Make time to let yourself feel however you feel.

Reach out for support too. There are therapists that specialize in fertility issues. You can find them on this national directory: https://connect.asrm.org/mhpg/sectiondirectory or by searching on psychology today. It's best to find a therapist that has been to professional trainings and had supervision in this area. Many therapists have been through infertility themselves and use that as their knowledge but everyone's experience is different and you want someone that has professional experience.

ameliaswansonphd18 karma

Thank you for your question!

I have read the story about the woman in Las Vegas who was pregnant with twins from IVF who tragically lost the pregnancy after being given the wrong medication, here is a link to a story about it: https://www.8newsnow.com/investigators/cvs-abortion-medication-mixup-ends-las-vegas-womans-pregnancy-dreams-all-i-got-was-a-sorry/

People doing IVF often take some type of progesterone after a transfer of an embryo and often this is a vaginal suppository. In this case, they gave her a medication that can be used to end pregnancies, misoprostol. This is so heartbreaking.

If I was working with a patient going through something like this, I would likely be helping them grieve the loss of the pregnancy, in addition to potentially traumatic experience of losing the pregnancy due to medical error. Many people would wonder if they could emotionally be able to try for another pregnancy or if they could afford more IVF. In this case, she had her fallopian tubes removed due to ectopic pregnancies so would need IVF to conceive. Going through a legal process can also be extremely stressful. I would expect that someone going through this type of experience would need ongoing therapy for quite some time to help them cope and grieve.

I do not think that this type of case should be used as reason to further restrict abortion access or medication. This was a tragic medical error. But, abortion medications and procedures are used for so many reasons, often for the health and the safety of the pregnant person, and for pregnancies that may be very desired and planned. For example, misoprostol is often used for suspected ectopic pregnancies and can prevent patients having surgical or life threatening complications from ectopic pregnancies, like removal of fallopian tubes. Abortion is nuanced, complex healthcare and people deserve to make their own choices for their own health and wellbeing.

ameliaswansonphd17 karma

I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Unfortunately your experience of not being told what to possibly expect with a miscarriage is common. I often see this in OB/GYN clinics but it can also happen in fertility clinics.

The physical process can be extremely painful and traumatic which is why some people may opt for a D&C if possible, although that is not always an option and has its own risks. Doctors, much like other people, don't like to give bad news so are not always direct about what to expect with a miscarriage. Even within a medical setting, professionals can be dismissive of the physical and emotional difficulties of a miscarriage.

I hear from so many people that they had no idea how many people they know had a miscarriage until they had one themselves and shared with others. I think this is slowly changing over time to become more open, but it is still something people often only share in private.

I love your idea of a comic to share more about your experience to help others, I think it would be very helpful! There is an artist on instagram that draws comics that has many about her infertility and miscarriage experiences which I think many people related to and found helpful.

As a psychologist, I try to educate medical professionals about communication strategies and ways that patients struggle through presentations at national conferences, talking to local clinics as well as calling and talking to the medical providers for my individual patients to help advocate for change in this area.

ameliaswansonphd16 karma

That is such a wonderful question! Just the awareness that this is a sensitive topic and that you are trying to be supportive of your friend go a long way. Everyone has different needs but here are some general ideas:

  1. It sounds like you already did this, but either in private when she is not busy/at work or in a text/email, let her know you are thinking about her and this loss, you want to be supportive but aren't sure what would be most helpful to her, and can ask/not ask about the miscarriage or how she is doing. She may not know what she wants or this may change over time.
  2. You could offer to go for a walk, go out to eat, watch a tv show or talk about your pets. Maintaining a normal connection can be very helpful.
  3. Miscarriage is often not acknowledged as a "real" loss. Keeping in mind any potential dates, like due dates or anniversaries of the loss can be very supportive.
  4. Be mindful of talking about other people's pregnancies or babies and if you are in a group, help make sure any conversation includes non-baby related topics.

Thank you for your support of your friend!

ameliaswansonphd15 karma

I agree with all the points Dr. Lawson has made. I wanted to add when people share they went through a pregnancy loss with friends and family, they often find out that many other people have experienced it too and just hadn't told others. This often helps people feel less alone and more support, and helps reduce the stigma of talking about pregnancy loss.