Saturday, September 18, 2010

To share or not to share?

Trying to have a family is a funny thing. No one talks about it when it's going well and it's a fun, romantic process--who wants to know about your intimate babymaking in the low lights (or no lights) of your bedroom? For those who are lucky to experience babymaking this way, the fun is in the telling once you are pregnant and feel confident telling the masses--for some the conservative 12-week mark, for others posting the pee stick on Facebook. You get free reign to discuss pretty much anything pregnancy or baby related and receive support publicly for all the ups and downs you encounter along the way. People are excited to see your sonograms and hear about tests that confirm the sex, the health, the size, etc. People are also excited to hear all the (sometimes gory) details of the birth and newborn foibles (breastfeeding! circumcision! poop! constipation! thrush! rashes!).

But there is another side to the story--what happens when babymaking is as far from the bedroom as it can get? When making a baby involves a team of medical professionals, mixing injectable medications on your kitchen counter, having blood drawn so many times you look like a heroin addict? Silence. No one talks about it publicly. You feel like crap because you have ovaries the size of navel oranges but feel compelled to post about what you ate for dinner on Facebook because the true subject that dominates your life is considered not "socially appropriate." So what do you do? Do you keep it all bottled in and mystify people when you cry at commercials featuring perfect families (or that awful Virgin Mobile commercial where the woman is giving birth but only cares about reading gossip on her smart phone)? Do you tell people and risk having some people support you and others distance themselves? In the beginning, my husband and I decided to not tell anyone but a short list of very close friends. We didn't want people asking questions all the time. We then expanded the list to parents only and maybe a few more friends, using a letter to explain the ins and outs of the process and what it would likely mean for us. As treatments got more involved, we got a little more open (such as with key people at work) because we'd need to take time off for work--or in my case explain why a routine meeting had me overly emotional.  But still, we didn't go full disclosure. We felt isolated. I felt like I was on a coverup mission or had to pussyfoot around the subject, and it made me feel awful--like somehow I should be ashamed of what I have to go through to have a chance at a baby. It's resulted in some sticky situations and misunderstandings with friends and family alike.

So, I am writing this blog for several reasons. I want an outlet to share my experiences while I am on the infertility journey. I want to share what I have learned along the way because it may help you or someone you know. I want a way to inform people of this process and how you can support a friend or family member who is going through infertility treatment. I want to encourage others to be more open so that there is no feeling that infertility is something to be hidden, to be talked about sparingly (mostly to save others from awkwardness). This process is incredibly isolating, but it shouldn't have to be. Infertility affects 11.8% of women ages 15-44 per the CDC, which doesn't even take into account male factor infertility. That's a lot of women!

What I am NOT looking for in this blog: I am not looking for a pity party. I am not looking for advice on how I can get pregnant (relaxing, adopting, being more positive, sleeping more, eating vegan, quitting my job, eliminating stress, etc.) -- friendly suggestions on books, services, resources etc. are welcome. I am not giving any kind of medical advice--only sharing my experiences and what has been helpful to me. Hopefully it will help you too--whether you are also struggling with infertility, know someone who is struggling with infertility, or want to know what's going on in my life right now (since infertility pretty much dominates).

I hope that this will be a good experience for the writer and readers alike. Thank you for reading as I start to share my journey publicly!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm a new reader! Welcome to the IF world of blogging! I saw your link on a friends FB status. I think you'll be surprised at all the support that is out there for people struggling with IF.