Monday, August 9, 2010

when push comes to shove

This weekend, I attended my first therapy session in almost two years.

The first five to ten minutes were pure torture. I spent that time dodging her suggestions as to which doctor I should see next and why I shouldn't wait too long for treatment since I'd just gotten my laparoscopy in February. Finally, I politely but firmly reiterated that I did not want to see any more doctors right now, and that we were not ready to take the step to IVF. 

After that, she was great. She went through infertility herself, so she understood my anger and pain. She also understood and didn't judge when I admitted that part of my hesitation to move forward was financial. In reality, it would be easier for me to push through with IVF insurance covered it and if all I had to worry about were my emotions. But that isn't all I would have to worry about, so I must accept that this is part of what's telling me to stop. Together we outlined a loose plan to help me get off the couch and back onto my feet. 

Overall, I was pleased with the rest of the session, but her initial questions and comments about my desire to put on the brakes got me thinking: Why are people so insistent on pursuing fertility treatments? 

And not just pursuing them, but pursuing them immediately. I'll admit it: I've been overly encouraging sometimes when it comes to suggesting that friends see this fertility doctor or try this medication. Looking back, I'm embarrassed at myself, and I sincerely apologize if you are one of the people who I pushed to do or try one thing or another. Because now that I'm on the other side, I understand what it's like to feel pressured. To have someone say, "You shouldn't wait," even though every part of my mind and body is telling me that I should. It's a tight rope we walk on, and only we know how best to balance ourselves so that we don't fall and get hurt.

My theory is that some people push because they think that by not moving forward, it's a sign of giving up. I think that others push because they don't know how to stop or say no.

Why do you think that people try to talk themselves or others into further (or initial) treatment?


Josey said...

For me, it's the age thing combined with my intense desire to have a child. I always saw myself having multiple children, and now that I'm 28 and we're still struggling on #1, I think I get more and more afraid that we'll hit the 35 yr mark more quickly than we ever thought possible b/c who KNOWS how long this will take (or if it will even happen)?

That being said, both emotionally & physically I'm definitely ready to take a break. If this isn't our cycle, I'm planning on at least 3 unmedicated cycles to kind of readjust and figure out WHAT I'm comfortable doing - physically, emotionally, and financially.

It is definitely quite the tightrope we walk....

womb for improvement said...

People (I) try to talk ourselves into further treatments because we are terrified a few months delay will be the difference between healthy eggs and menopause. Because I already think that I should have started trying years before I did, now there is no time to waste. Because I think if I try everything then at least if it doesn't happen I won't be kicking myself later, I'll know I did all I could. But it isn't necessarily healthy, or right.

christine said...

I think I've encouraged people to seek further treatment sooner because you just never know what is going on "underneath" it all. If we hadn't gotten a SA early on, we would have never known about my DH's low count and poor morphology. I try not to be too pushy, but I do try to help people see that they should be educated about their bodies.

For us, we are constantly moving forward because my DH is inching towards 40 and in our dream world we will have four kids. DH doesn't want to have kids into his forties, so while my clock isn't ticking, his is going off loud and clear.

And for the record, I think that each person has to make their own decision on what is the next right step. Best of luck on the waiting!

kayee said...

I hate to look at it as I'm "talking myself" into it. (maybe i'm in denial) But I think a lot of it stems from my DH - he is basically a scientist and believes in medical treatment. Something is wrong, fix it. That combined with the age thing. Eventually the waiting will be longer and longer and closer to 35. I'm only 3 years out at this point.
But I respect the fact if people don't want to move forward. It is an extremely personal decision and you shouldn't be pressured at all. I actually admire women who can honestly say "enough." I'm not sure right now, if I could.

I know you're decision has been hard for you, but remember you do know what's best for you and you should be proud of yourself for being able to recognize that. xo

Glass Case of Emotion said...

I've noticed that too. As I was thinking about adoption and other things this summer, so many people contacted me and said they were glad I was trying IVF one more time.

I didn't necessarily feel glad. I felt kind of selfish truthfully. I'd like to adopt, but finances for me (as for you) are a BIG part of the issue. And one that cannot be ignored.

I don't know if everyone knows how the financial issues feel, and that may be part of the problem. I also think that for people on the other side- people who have had success- want you to try again because they probably felt the way you did at some point, and later did have success.

Or maybe, it's a bit of projection. They wish they could try again in some way, and are assuming you'd feel the same.

Do what you need to do for you my dear.

someday-soon said...

I think when others "push" it's really just the only way they know, or think, to be supportive. And as to why people push themselves...I think it's a way to avoid dealing with all the emotions of past failures and future potential disapointments.

Alex said...

Oh this is tough. I have to admit that I've pushed a friend or two who are fertility-challenged to see an RE, and who are just content truding along with their gyno. I think it's because of my own fear - what if we waited too long? This isn't exactly rational, as I didn't really wait very long, but I'm so afraid that my friend will wake up one day and realize it's too late! And then I realize that it's her own life, and she has all the information she needs. If she was more motivated, she would go. I definitely need to back off.

Thanks for making me think. I'm glad the appointment went well, except for the beginning. She probably was projecting her own infertility on you, just like I did with my friend.

Secret Sloper said...

I'm the one who has resisted the pushing. So many women on my blogroll and my message boards sought the help of an RE so much sooner than I did. And I part of me really wanted to get that second opinion sooner. But another part of me wanted to wait and keep trying.

And now I feel like I gave the natural try a 100% shot and I'm ready for some medical assistance. Waiting can be psychologically good.

But I also worry that I'm not getting any younger and have screwed myself.

Melissa G said...

Although I try to do my best to avoid pushing or preaching I think sometimes my own want for another IFer's journey to FINALLY hit that path towards parenthood overwhelms my tact, and I just talk until I realize my mouth is crowded with my foot.

I think Alex also nailed it with being afraid for the other person, knowing that I would have wanted someone to nudge me were I in that situation.

But I'll say from past experience when other people have pushed me, I like you, just made it very clear to them that I wasn't ready for whatever they were suggesting... When it comes down to it though, I just realize in their heart of hearts that they likely on want the best for me.

Good for you for going back to therapy, I know it's not always the easiest step. Especially when you're in the thick of it. I myself am wrapping up a 10 month stint. Glad to hear you have a goal set. Wishing you peace as you begin your healing journey.

Kaitlin said...

I think it's wonderful that you're waiting and doing what YOU want. I love that you're not feeling pressured into doing what others around you want you to do.

You're brave and strong and I admire you. <3

Jem said...

My age is the biggest factor. These eggs are not getting any younger, and at 40, I better hurry up!

It is a very personal thing that you have to decide for yourself. I would resent it if someone told me to cycle!

Plus, breaks are important. IVF, especially the first one, is very stressful and hard. It's a big deal. It involves surgery and can by physically dangerous. Emotionally and financially, it's equally taxing. Anyone who says IVF isn't a big deal is not tell the (whole) truth.

Kakunaa said...

I talked myself out of it before we got too far into it, and then when we were in, we just couldn't let go....but we are drawing a line in the sand. No one has pushed us about it...they just let us make the move. I think we have been scared to think we didn't give it our all, within mental health safety considerations. Which is why the line in the sand. Starting to hit that breaking point now....HUGS my dear, and I'm glad that it looks like the therapy is heading in the right direction for you :)

Dawn said...

Very interesting question! I tend to agree that the pushing is someone trying to offer support.

I think your doing the right thing by stepping back and giving yourself some time though.

Stephanie said...

Right now I'm still in the new phase of this so I want everything and I'm semi-excited for it all to start. I haven't been heartbroken by IF yet (except for knowing we have to deal with it and won't get preggers 'the old fashioned way') Its like parents with multiple kids and back to school shopping. Most of them I know are over it, but the parents with one child starting out still think its fun and cool - its a new adventure to tackle. Thats my take on it from a newbie's perspective. And as someone new to this who didn't get diagnosed with PCOS until 6 months after the fact of using Clomid, OPKs, my friends who are just starting and having issues I encourage them to look into things now instead of later. Feeling like we wasted time for 6 months sucks! BUT I know that when and if I get to a stage where there have been failures or losses, I don't know what emotionally I can/will handle at that stage. It won't be so new and exciting then, I'm afraid...

T said...

I think most people just want to help. If they offer suggestions then it is them giving answers and hope.
Instead I think people should just listen. Listen to the grieving and pain we are going through. We do not need anymore doctors. Lord, knows we have all seen enough of those. What we need most is just a ear to listen and a shoulder to cry least that is my opinion.

JC said...

I'm glad it went well and you liked her after that first 10 minutes. I don't know why people push either...maybe they're trying to help? I think people in the non IF community probably push b/c they think it will work. Because they don't know any better and they think surely if you do 1 treatment you will be KU with twins. YAY! Lol...we know the truth.

Kelly said...

I think that it comes from the place of wanting a baby and doing everything as soon as you can to get it. Plus, if fulfilling fertility treatments, someone has already been struggling to get pregnant for how long and they must be assuming that a ticking clock is the issue.

Katie, I'm glad that you took the step and went to therapy.

Jessica said...

I think when people "push" its because they are trying to be supportive. That's all they know how to do.

I have also learned not to push people because sometime you just need a break from all this S**T!!

Adele said...

It's such a personal decision, and not one that can be made by someone else. Ever. I'm glad that she backed off her initial pushing. Because that's not what you need her for, and it sounds like the rest of the session was good.

jensays (whatwouldjendo) said...

i push myself thru because of my age, i try to keep my comments mostly to myself when anyone asks me what to do next. fortunately not too many people ask me that.

Jen said...

I pushed through the treatments due to my and D's ages. That plus my OB at the time suggested Clo.mid after we had only been trying 6 months. I saw no reason to turn it down, since he was offering that AND IUIs...(obviously I should have done more research on all of that in hindsight), but it certainly got me to the RE a lot sooner... I am a pretty impatient person. I think that also had a lot to do with it!

You have to do what is right for you, obviously, and I think it takes a lot of mental strength to not simply get caught up in the impatience of it all. It's almost like an addiction; you just have to keep going and going month after month, and that really isn't healthy physically or emotionally!

S.I.F. said...

I think people are afraid of missing that opportunity - afraid of waking up one day and wishing they had tried harder. I keep hearing over and over again though that I should put those two frozen embies right in, but I'm so scared right now. I'm totally shell shocked and can't do it right away; no matter how much everyone around me wants me to.

It really is such a fine line to walk though...

suchagoodegg said...

I'm glad therapy went well and I hope as you create a relationship with yours it will get better and better. I'm not sure why people push us so hard, maybe they want it so badly FOR us? Oddly, my Mom has recently been telling me to take a few months off and just let my body heal. And THAT drives me nuts, too. Sometimes I think I can't win, no matter what I decide. As Josey said, it's quite a tightrope we walk.

Rebecca said...

I know for me, pushing myself has all been about age and wanting to know what is going on. I'm 35, now and really starting to feel time getting shorter (how overly dramatic). And, I'm a scientist and can't see the point of doing something without knowing that it has the possibility of working. And, I try to avoid pushing people in one way or another but celebrate whichever decision they have made for themselves.

Bur, honestly, it makes me feel better when people are pushing me toward treatment because I often feel like I'm pushing too much and should hold off. When others are agreeing with what Im thinking it makes me feel more confident about it.

christa said...

Hey Katie - thanks for being so supportive in your comments on my humble little blog.

I've been keeping up with your journey as well and I wish I could just give you a big hug. I think you are so brave for standing up for your emotions and what you can or won't deal with regarding treatment. I don't have the guts to even take a break, much less push for psychological help and you are definitely my hero. I'm so sorry for any pain you're in and I hope so much that things get better for you soon.

EC said...

I've really felt like I'm in the minority by not doing much of anything about infertility (after testing and a few rounds of Clomid)...we're not holding out much hope, but don't really want to pursue treatment, either. If I had friends who were ttc without success, I would encourage them to see their ob/gyn or RE for at least initial testing. After that, though, I don't know. I went through a divorce that resulted partially from dealing with infertility (I'm remarried and am dealing with it again), so I know how much of an impact IF treatment can have on your life, your relationships, etc. I think it's so personal, and you have to feel like the chance of getting pregnant is worth the sacrifice. And, i think you have to feel pretty confident that something is going to work.

I will say that generally, the "push" comes from either people who are still in treatment or those who have had success and are now parents. For those who have had success with medications, IUI, IVF, etc, I think they just want the same thing for everyone else. It worked for them, and in most cases, it was worth it.

For those still pursuing treatments, I think there's a belief that eventually, something will work. I think you have to think that the chances are on your side. I think there's also a feeling of knowing you did everything you could - and not having regrets. Some people will do absolutely anything to be parents, but others have limits. Giving up is difficult, because it means accepting you may never be a mother, and some people may never get to that point. Others do.

I hope that doesn't sound negative, but I have noticed a lot of comments that say things like 'never give up' or 'someday, you'll be a mother,' and while I think that support is helpful to some people, there are others that do draw the line. Some draw the line at medication, others at IUIs, others at IVF, adoption, etc. I think you just have to do whatever is best for you.

Crossed Fingers said...

I know I personally push myself in any aspect of life because I feel if I don't make my goal in one way or another, I have failed and I hate to fail.

Rita said...

As for the "push" thing, I was in a hurry because of my age and my elevated FSH. I think if I'd been in my 20s with a normal FSH, I probably would have been more hesitant to move forward so quickly.

I think it's completely a personal decison and no one but you will know when and if you're ready to move in a different direction.

By the way, I'm glad you went to therapy and you found it helpful.((hugs))

Mic said...

For me, I pushed ahead with treatments for the exact reason you stated - because for me, I felt like I was on this wicked clock because of the Endo and that I'd be missing my window if we didn't continue aggressively. Plus, also like you said, I felt that I'd be giving up if I didn't move forward.

I think you are absolutely going about this in a very healthy manner. You are doing what is right for YOU and JOEY and nobody else. And for that, I admire you.

Waiting Lisa said...

I think there is a difference between pushing someone to see a doctor for the first time and pushing someone into IVF. I have encouraged people to go to their OB/GYN and talk about their trouble getting pregnant because I hate to see them struggling when maybe it isn't even possible for them to get pregnant on their own. I know how much the ups and downs suck...and why keep going through it when you can get an exam and maybe find out why it isn't happening.

Being on the adoption side of things, I have come across many people who opted not to do IVF. For many reasons. Many healthy, normal reasons. If you are feeling you should put the breaks on before moving forward to something like that, I don't think anyone should be pushing you.

And of course money is an issue. Money is a huge issue. I have heard many people say they chose adoption because in the end they know they will end up with a baby and when you do IVF, there is no gaurantee...and many people do not have the money to do both. We never could have. We can barely afford adoption alone. So you are smart to be thinking it all through and considering the money.

Anyway, I am proud of you for going to see the therapist and going to the support meeting tonight. I hope it went well.

Love you. <3

Another Dreamer said...

I hear you about the push thing... it's one thing when I push myself into more treatments, but when others start telling me not to give up it starts to miff me now. I don't plan on giving up, but moving on is another thing- I have my limits.

Why do we keep trying then... I don't know. I keep trying to walk away, but the other options are so daunting too- so I'm torn. Right now, I have a plan in place and I am happy with it... even if other people can't understand it.

As for pushing other people on... I am fine with offering my experience and suggestions now- but whatever their decision, I've learned it is not an easy one and I support them as best I can. Because none of this is easy, and I've learned that sometimes what you really need to hear is "I'm here for you. And do what you need to." rather than a call to arms. Sometimes that can feel like they're saying you are wrong, you are making the wrong decision, and it can cause tension. I've been hurt by it too many times myself now- telling me not to give up, to keep going, that they can't understand why I'm so pessimistic about it all... ungh.

Erin said...

I'm so surprised that she would try to push treatments on you like that...especially considering that your reason for going is that you are dealing with NOT pursuing treatments.

Still, I'm glad that the rest of the session went well!

serenity said...

I don't "push" treatments on people. Well, I hope I don't, at least. I totally understand the financial ramifications, and it's not MY decision to make for someone else, you know?

However. I do believe that infertility is a medical condition, even when the tests come back "borderline." I also think controlled procedures like IVF take the guesswork out of the underlying issue.

And no matter how "young" you are, you only have a certain number of eggs in your lifetime. Statistically, you have a MUCH better chance of getting and staying pregnant before you're 35. Time is sort of of the essence for ART.

Which is why I advocate insurance coverage for fertility treatments. Because honestly, the main stopping point for most people is the MONEY. It's a stupid amount of $$ to outlay on something that may or may not work (because statistically IVF is not a sure thing).

If it were mandated to be covered by insurance, and you didn't have to outlay any money to cycle? Would your answer be different right now?

I'm just saying. Infertility IS a medical condition. When you find the cause of the underlying problem (for us, it was not just severe male factor, but also a structural uterine issue for me), then you have the same chance of getting pregnant as 6 out of 7 couples.

That said? I think it's extremely offputting that a THERAPIST, who is supposed to listen and help you work through your emotions, put pressure on you to move forward with treatments. If you're not ready, you're not ready. It's YOUR decision to make.

I'd probably want to see someone else, because I'd worry that now she has an agenda.

Anyway. That's my two cents.


Basic Girl said...

I'm totally guilty of pushing treatments, specifically one of my besties who has been trying naturally for a year now. Part of my reason is I know how much she wants this and how much she's hurting with each additional bfn, and maybe there is some underlying cause that could be determined. But at the same time if that's not the route she wanted I would totally back off. Or if she had been doing treatments and needed a break I would certainly understand that as well, since we've been there and know treatments can be emotionally and financially exhausting! At the end of the day you just have to do whats best for your situation, and take suggestions with a grain of salt!