Monday, November 15, 2010

Are You Telling People?

Recently a friend called me with a question. Another mutual friend had heard about my surgery and asked her what was going on with us. My friend wanted to know what to say. "Are you telling people?"

I told her yes, we are. I've been pretty open to anyone who asks what's going on with us. And to anyone who asks if we're having kids soon, I usually say, "We want to, but we haven't been able to so far." If they ask for more detail, I give it to them.

I struggle with this sometimes. Some days I just do NOT want to talk about it. My best friend in the whole world asked me how it was going today and I told her I didn't want to talk about it. Not today. Not even with her. I just wasn't in the mood.

Other times I hate sharing our story because of how people respond. Sympathy is ok, encouragement is appreciated, but I hate being pitied. I have a fear that people will feel sorry for us if we decide to adopt. Like too bad we couldn't have a "real" kid. I don't want to be pitied and I definitely don't want to be treated differently - not invited to baby showers or told of friend's pregnancies until absolutely necessary. And sometimes I get some totally unwanted advice ("Stop trying and relax and it'll happen!")

For those reasons sometimes I'm tempted to keep my mouth shut. But I don't. Here's why:

#1 It is our story, like it or not. This is a part of who we are as a couple and it will affect us for better or worse. No matter what happens. I don't know the reasons yet that we have had to walk this road, but we have. And I see no reason to keep that a secret.

#2 People say dumb things. That's a fact of life, and I've been just as guilty of it as anyone. And people saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can really hurt. If someone who doesn't know about our infertility issues asks when we're gonna start trying, or worse warns us that we should start soon because we're not getting any younger! (yep, it's happened despite the fact that we're 26) I can't be upset. They can't know what they haven't been told. It is painful to have someone try to convince you to have a baby when you absolutely would if you could! Some women don't talk about their infertility because it's too painful. I share for self preservation. If people know, they'll be more sensitive.

#3 I covet others prayers on our behalf. There isn't a whole lot anyone can do to help us in this situation (unless one of you have an unclaimed baby laying around. Anyone?) But most of our friends and family can and do pray for us. I don't know that prayers will lead to us conceiving, but it certainly doesn't hurt! And it's so good to know people are lifting you up.

#4 I never know who my story might help. One of the things that has helped me stay sane during this time is the other women I know who have been here. Some of them don't even know how they have helped me. I look at women who went through years of infertility and now have a family and I realize I'll be there some day. I look at other women who are at the same place as me, still trying to start their family and I know I'm not alone. I spend my days at an adoption agency and I know many of our clients are adopting after years of trying to have a biological child. And I realize the joy they feel when they get their referral, or bring home their newborn will be our joy some day. People don't know how they've encouraged me just by allowing me a glimpse of their lives. And I hope that in sharing what we're going through I can encourage someone else.

Some women choose not to talk about their infertility and I totally get that. It can be hard to talk about. People don't always respond the way you'd hoped. But for me, I feel like I need to. Some days I wish this were not our story but it is. And I'm going to share it, so bring on the unwanted advice!

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