Trying to get pregnant revolves around the most private of bodily functions. I was always quite embarrassed to
talk about the fact that we were even trying. I have a neighbor who was very persistent about asking when we were going to have kids. Even though I kept my struggle with infertility rather private, I finally I told her we'd been trying for a number of years. Then she says, “have you seen a doctor?” I wanted to give some snide response like,
"Gee...we never thought of that...what a novel idea!".
InsteadI quietly said, “uhhh..yes, we're working on
it.” Then comes the story about her friend who saw a particular doctor and got pregnant on the first try. Even close friends and family members
can unknowingly do or say hurtful things. Once a close friend of mine who knew of my struggle blurted out my very private and what I thought was confidential
information in front of others. “Oh they've been trying for years....they want a baby
more than anything”. On another occasion, a family member
said at a gathering, “You should eat more, maybe that's why you're having such a hard time getting pregnant”. Don't these people realize that my reproductive history isn't in the “public domain”? Who are they to share my most private and sometimes embarrassing history? Fertility issues revolve around the most private bodily functions. Getting pregnant is all about egg quality, sperm counts, intercourse, menstrual cycles, etc. It doesn't get more private or personal than that.
Have You Considered Adoption?”
And of course, there's the “have you considered adoption?” question . Now,
for the record, I have nothing against adoption. I know plenty of people who've adopted and
it has worked out beautifully. However, the decision to adopt is very personal and for someone else to throw
it out there like we're not aware of it is frankly, insulting. It's almost like they're coming
up with a quick and easy solution to a very complicated issue. After one of my miscarriages was diagnosed on
ultrasound, the PA who was performing the procedure asked the “adoption” question. All I really needed
at that moment was a shoulder to cry on, not advice on what was really none of her business.
I 'm very cautious about sharing my personal information
whether it's trying to get pregnant or anything else. That's why I finally resorted to telling people we weren't going to have kids even though we were trying to get pregnant. Yes, it was a “white lie”, but at least it stopped the intrusive and hurtful questions and comments. I previously ran an infertility support group and most women did have regrets about telling some friends and co-workers about their infertility. They were excluded from baby showers and whenever the subject of pregnancy came up, some well-meaning people would whisper so as not to hurt their feelings.
Decide Up-Front How Much To Share and With Whom
So how do you deal with the questions that will inevitably come up? Consider the following:
Be prepared. Have two or three responses that your can always “pull out of your back pocket” when necessary. If you're going to see friends or family and you know the “children” question is a possibility, rehearse some possible come backs.
Decide up-front with your partner how much information you're willing to share and with whom.
If you do share information with others and you expect confidentiality, let them know before sharing that you do not want this information repeated.
If you don't want to discuss your infertility with friends and family, consider joining a support group. You will be in a safe confidential environment where everyone will understand your struggle and you can speak freely without the fear that your information will be repeated.
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