“What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song and I’ll try not to sing out of key…
I get by with a little help from my friends…”
“With a Little Help from My Friends,” is one of my favorite songs. I remember especially loving it in high school, when it really *did* feel like my friends were helping me get through every single jam.
And while it’s still a beautiful sentiment (and also kind of makes me want to stop writing this post and start marathoning The Wonder Years), it can feel a bit jarring if you don’t feel like you’re getting by…especially if you don’t feel like your current friends are helping out all that much.
That’s the thing about infertility…it can isolate us from even our best friends. The very ones who stood by our side through moves, job offers and heartbreak can feel overwhelmed and confused by our experiences with infertility and miscarriage. They might not get it. They might think we’re being dramatic. They might not want to have real/tough conversations, especially if they themselves are parents. It might just be too much for them.
And that feels…pretty damn crappy.
So where can we turn when our friends and regular support system can’t be there for us through our infertility journey?
The empathy gap can be huge between the fertility warriors and the fertile, with each group not having much patience or understanding for the other. Sometimes it feels like we’re speaking a completely different language. This is why it’s so important for fertility warriors to find one another and support each other as best as they can.
But even having other TTC warriors as friends and cycle buddies can prove challenging…what happens when your best fertility friend gets pregnant after their second IUI and you’re still trying after 3 rounds of IVF? What happens when someone else gets matched with an adoptive family after you’ve heard nothing from yours for a year?
This is why we created Fruitful Fertility, a private platform that matches people struggling emotionally to conceive with mentors who have been through similar experiences but are now on-the-other-side. Matches are made through a proprietary algorithm based on shared histories, interests and values. Think of it like Bumble but for infertility! Once matched, mentor and mentee are able to connect on their own time and schedule. To date it’s helped almost 4,000 people!
So what is the value of having a fertility mentor and how is it different than having a cycle buddy or a best friend blissfully unfamiliar with the TTC world? Below are some of the top reasons why I believe having a fertility mentor can help get you out of the impossible emotional maze that is infertility.
Mentors get it.
Mentors speak infertility; they know the “inside baseball” language of the experience. They know how it feels to have “line eyes” and they know all the acronyms (BFP! DPO! WTF?) It’s great to talk to someone who knows what the heck you’re talking about with HSGs, beta tests, luteal phases and the like.
Mentors have perspective.
Mentors are not cycle buddies. They’re not sharing the results of their own recent follicle scan or egg retrieval in real-time. Fertility mentors are in a different stage of their lives entirely. With that time comes perspective and wisdom that so many of us struggle to find in the middle of injections and blood draws. They can remind us what it is all for and what might be at the end of the road.
Mentors are outside of your network.
It can feel OH SO FREEING to not have to sugarcoat your conversations with someone because you’re worried they’ll blab to your coworker or your sister-in-law. It’s crazy how things change when we feel like we can just speak our truths without fear of judgment. When you talk to someone who doesn’t really know you or know anyone you know, you can speak freely about how things are truly making you feel.
Mentors share your outlook, values and sometimes even your diagnosis.
My favorite part about Fruitful is that we match mentors and mentees on a wide variety of data points, not just diagnosis or age. So not only are you paired with a mentor who has been through a similar situation (whether that be egg donation or adoption or anything in-between) but they also might share your values, love of yoga, faith or obsession with your dogs, which is pretty damn cool.
Fertility mentors can be a great way to get emotional support from someone who gets it. Someone who is not in your immediate social circle and who WANTS to help you. So many of our amazing mentors tell us how they wish this service had been around when they were trying to conceive. This tells us that this service is very badly needed in the TTC community.
To learn more or sign up to either become a fertility mentor or get one, check out our website.