It seems that some people are uncomfortable with our openness about our fertility challenges. Both my husband and I are open about it when the time/place are right. Our family knows, our close friends know and some acquaintances/co-workers do as well. Do I throw it in people’s faces when they ask me if we have children? No. Not the first time, second time or third time people ask me that. Not even when followed with “well, when are you having kids?!”. But if a personal relationship develops then sometimes I will tell people outside our inner circle and so has my husband.
Reactions have been mixed. For the most part, people are supportive and oftentimes they are familiar with the struggle. Other times people have been less supportive. One buddy even kicked my husband in the leg under the table to get him to stop talking.
But what we have learned is that it makes everyone uncomfortable. Which means we make people uncomfortable. Which wasn’t our desired outcome.
People don’t want to ask, they are afraid to ask or they just don’t. They just pretend like nothing is happening. I get that. It is easier for them. The news is never good, it is always sad and it is a little bit hopeless too. I am sorry that’s my reality, I really am. In fact, no one is sorrier than I that I don’t have good news to share.
Or they throw it back to us – “We don’t want to pry” or “We aren’t going to ask, we will wait until you are ready to tell us”. Of course. That’s easier for you. It puts the responsibility on us and you can pat yourself on the back and feel like you have done something.
If I could say anything to those people – I would say this. I am sorry I make you uncomfortable. But by not asking, you make me uncomfortable too. It makes me feel like you don’t care. You don’t have to ask about our fertility treatments or how we are coping or anything like that. You could just start with a “how are you?” That would be a good place to start.
Thankfully it isn’t everyone. Although over the years the “who” has surprised us, we are more often surprised by the amazing people who do ask. The ones who do reach out and seek not only to understand but to support us. If I could be half the friend to those people as they have been to me, I think I would consider life a success.
So would I recommend telling family and friends? If I was honest, no.
I am sometimes jealous of the bloggers and folks I meet in Internet land who haven’t told anyone. It might be lonely but I don’t think it hurts as much either.