I thought my aunt and uncle chose not to have children. My aunt is so career-focused, both of them travel so much. It never occurred to me that they had dealt with infertility. Last night I found out they tried for years. They went through treatments (I’m not sure what; this would have been in the early 80s). Finally they decided they couldn’t do it anymore and moved on without children.
I assumed my other aunt and uncle adopted my cousin from China because of a secondary fertility issue; I had no idea that her older brother was conceived after significant medical intervention.
Last night my mother told me these secrets. I’m not sure why she told me after so many years; I think she didn’t know everything either till recently.
My mother also had problems conceiving; it took two years before I was conceived, and eventually she was diagnosed with POF (hot flashes at thirty!).
Taken all together, even in such a large family, this is quite a lot of infertility. It makes me wonder where exactly we all came from! And all of it, except of course for mine, is a great big secret. My heart aches for my aunts and uncles, and for my mother, who went through this thirty years ago. There was no blogosphere then; IVF was experimental (I was born the same year as Louise Brown); and all of it was, and is, a great big family secret.
What does it serve, to keep it a secret? Knowing this history doesn’t change our situation — after all, my aunts and uncles don’t have anything to do with my husband’s MFI — but maybe there could be a way to talk about this the way we talk about oil changes, and sexual harassment, and three bean salad.