When I suggest people try online infertility support groups, I'm sometimes met with: "Why would I want to tell my personal infertility business to total strangers?" That's it. That's exactly why you want to go onto online infertility support groups: Because everyone is a total stranger.
The Benefits to Online Infertility Support Groups (over your friends and family):
- Nobody judges you in online infertility support groups because:
a) They're in as bad a shape as you are:
How is somebody who acted like a screaming maniac last week, going to say to you: "Shut up! You're acting like a screaming maniac!" next week?
b) They don't have to deal with you at holidays:
As opposed to those close to you in real life: No matter how bad you behave online- no matter how you whine, cry or vent- nobody who's reading it is thinking: "Great. What if I get stuck sitting next to this nut-job at Christmas dinner? Well, last year she was way at the other end of the table. Same seats! I call 'same seats as last year!'"
2. Online Infertility Support Groups have no dreaded follow-ups.
This is why I rarely told anyone close to me about my infertility issues or adventures. What if I told them on Tuesday: "I'm going today for a test to check my hormone levels." On Wednesday, that person would want to follow-up.
"So how did it go?"
But maybe it hadn't gone well and I didn't want to talk about it. That's the bad thing about giving infertility details that have a beginning and a wind-up. Sometimes you're so excited about the beginning that you can't help telling everyone and then the wind-up sucks and you don't want to tell anyone and now they're all lining up waiting to hear all about it: "So how did it go?"
So now I had to either act stupid like I didn't know what they were talking about or convince them they had me mixed up with someone else or downplay that it was a big deal in the first place. The easiest thing to do was just to avoid them altogether- take alternate routes to the bathroom at work. Stand behind doors. Duck under desks. Thank Gd for caller ID.
With online infertility support groups, you just don't log in. You lay low for a while. That always works. Not only do people understand if you don't want to talk about how it went because they have plenty they don't want to talk about how it went, but everyone is so embroiled in their own personal tsuris... You're not in the mood to whine, cry or vent? Don't worry about it. Many many many others in the group are. Trust me, the group will not fold under the weight of your silence. That's the biggest problem with our real family, friends, neighbors & coworkers... Not one of those bastards has a log off button.
And what about all of those creepy people skulking around in the internet shadows?
I've become quite a fan of the MTV show Catfish where people, for various reasons engage in online relationships and it's revealed that they are someone totally different than the person they claim to be.
Yeah, I don't see that being a problem on the infertility support group sites. The only thing I can think of more insane than a freaked out, exhausted, overwhelmed, hormoned-up infertile woman is someone pretending to be a freaked out, exhausted, overwhelmed, hormoned-up infertile woman so that she can be befriended by a group of freaked out, exhausted, overwhelmed, hormoned-up infertile women.
And unlike Catfish, nobody on the infertility support group is trying to date you (that would be quite the red flag-- and if any nasty guy tricked a woman going thru fertility treatments into sending half-naked pictures, that would serve him right. I know the pose I'd forward: Me in a hospital gown with my feet in stirrups and a doctor's head leaning on my shin.)
And, also unlike Catfish, nobody in the online infertility support groups ever asks you for money-- unless, of course, it's in exchange for some leftover Clomid they've got laying around.
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