solidarity

I found out via effing effbook that one of my former colleagues is infertile.  She is much braver than I am — she posted a link to Resolve’s Superhero campaign with a short description of their story (2.5 years TTC, endo and PCOS) and asked all of her effing effbook friends to help the cause by donating.  Wow.  That’s some serious chutzpah* right there.

I understand that the only way to get infertility into the public eye is to talk about it, and frankly any condition that affects as many people as this deserves to be treated as a public health emergency, and to that end I have been trying to be more open about our situation.**  When someone asks me when we’re going to have kids, or why we don’t have any, I tell them we hope to have children someday (if it’s an acquaintance) and that we’ve been trying for years with no success (if it’s a friend).  It’s a change from what I used to do, which is to smile uncomfortably and give a non-answer deflection about how I’ve got lots of performances coming up.  But that is a long, long boat ride from what my former colleague did!  I applaud her.

Maybe someday I will be able to be more open.  I’m not even sure why I’m so hesitant.  I think there’s a little prudish part of me that thinks talking about infertility is just like talking about my sex life.  And while I actually don’t mind going there with close friends or on this blog, I’m not about to post anything remotely sexual on effing effbook, nor would I bring the subject up in casual conversation.

There’s also the issue of my husband’s privacy — with the MFI diagnosis, it’s not just my problem, and I have to respect his need to keep it quiet.  So even when I am talking with someone who knows we’ve been trying, I don’t divulge the diagnosis.  It’s a funny line to try to walk, and it makes me maybe just a little more reticent that I might otherwise be.

* As Michelle Bachmann would no doubt say.

** Could I have gotten one more clause into that sentence?  Yeah, probably.

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9 responses to “solidarity

  1. I hear you on the MFI thing. It makes it very awkward. I’m pretty open about the fact that we “had help” and had a miscarriage and such, but I hardly ever tell anyone WHY we had to do IVF. (My doctors know, the internet knows, and a few people in my family know, but that’s it.) I don’t think MFI is shameful, but it’s not my call to make.

    When I announced my pregnancy on Facebook, I *did* say we’d battled with infertility and loss and as such were thrilled to be in the 2nd trimester but still cautious. I felt like, if I didn’t, I would be implying they came from sex, which…not so much. Of course, a pregnancy is a bit different because the consequences of sex/IF treatments are very public, and it’s much easier to say “we did IVF multiple times, and it appears to have worked” than “we are still trying very hard for a baby, please stop asking me about it”.

  2. For us it is female factor and we’ve been very open about our infertility and miscarriage. That said, I imagine we would still be open even if we had MFI. It’s been nice to be open about the process because we were able to call friends after our miscarriage for support (like having people bring meals and generally distract us). I’m also very into raising awareness of IF, especially as we are in our early/mid 20s. I like to believe that my occasional conversations with friends/coworkers about IF helps bust a bit of the stigma around IF.

  3. Chunkbee@yahoo.com

    Wow, I am amazed by people who out themselves on FB, very brave. After years of IF, I am loathe to mention my pregnancy. I know the sting and I don’t want to add to anyone’s pain who is suffering in silence. It is too bad that you learned of your former collegues struggles now, perhaps you could have found support from one another. I always take great comfort from fellow IFers i meet in real life.
    Now that i am knocked up, I can be pretty open about our IF struggles. But there is less than a handful of folks who know about the number of times we tried IVF. As much as I would like to be a more vocal advocate I don’t want to deal with others reactions, it’s different than I thought it would be. Perhaps if we do get to the other side my feelings and openness about IF will continue to evolve.

  4. I haven’t been open with people until getting pregnant. I’ve been open about needing medical intervention for the past two years, but not about using donor sperm. Mostly because it’s not about me, but my husband, and I know he feels a lot of shame about it. Not rational, I know, but it’s his thing.

  5. I/m with you on the MFI diagnosis making it that much more touchy to share our IF. My husband has been very open, but I still don’t feel like it is my place to share, and I am also really sensitive to the future privacy that our child might want to preserve about their conception and/or origins.

    It is weird but it has been so much easier to share that we struggled as we announced our pregnancy (which we didn’t do on fb until well into our third trimester.) Even now when people see our pregnancy and ask about it I always make a comment about how long we’ve waited for this and how difficult it was for us to achieve this dream.

    Your friend is pretty awesome, but just because it feels right to her to share, it doesn’t mean that you need to share, at least not now, and maybe never. all in good time.

  6. It always amazes me when someone can be so forthcoming about their IF status. I haven’t seen it yet on effbook amidst my ‘friends’ and I don’t anticipate that I will be leading this march. I would love to be able to be that strong as to put it out there publicly, but it just feels so private. I think about the public service aspect of educating others about IF, and at the end of the day, I feel like that’s better done directly with individuals rather than publicly at the town centre’s square (aka effbook).

  7. Port of Indecision

    That is some serious chutzpah. I do pretty much what you do – give the “I hope so” answer to most people, and the “Yea,we’d love to but it hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly” to friends. I just can’t come out about all the miscarriages with all the work people I have on FB. No way.

  8. I’ve been pretty open about my fertility problems but have veered away from effbook, partly because I view it as irredeemably hostile territory for infertiles, and partly because I am effbook friends with my coworkers and boss who–whatever his personal feelings about the topic–would probably not be psyched about the possibility of one of his employees becoming a lot more expensive,

  9. I know what you’re saying… It’s so hard to be all open and ‘for the cause’ when you are stuck here in the emotional thick of it all. I dont think you should worry that you aren’t the vocal poster child for infertility that your collegue is, that style just is not it’s not for everyone. I always said that i’d become a strong advocate after we were successfully parents, because by then the emotions wouldnt be quite so raw, and I would be able to say all those smart thiings without bursting into tears. I think it’s incredibly brave of you to open up about your situation in the way that you do… I still brush off the “when are you having children?” comments with pathetic answers that mean nothing and only end up making me feel like a fool for not being truthful.
    Hope you had a great xmas, it’s hard (so hard) being on this side of the fence during the festive season, but hopefully you had some little moments of fun. xx take care

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