Thoughtful Thursday: Reveal

May 7, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayIt’s May, and that means it’s time to announce the April Intelligentsia (people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post for the month of April).

Of course, we’ll start with stalwart four-timer Wiseguy from Woman Anyone?

Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy is three-peating, and she also just sold her first novel. Congrats!

Fattykins from I Can’t Wash My Jeans, My Fat Is In The Way and
Kristen from Dragondreamer’s Lair are back for the second time.

We also have a few first-timers:
New members include: Beautiful Mess Life induces thoughts, mostly random, Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat, and Photogrl from Not the Path I Chose.

Next order of business: the contest to guess the Transformers-themed nicknames that we’ve given to our fetuses. As I predicted, nobody guessed either one, though there were some good guesses. My husband particularly enjoyed Photogrl‘s offerings of Primus and Galvatron. His exact reaction: “Ooh, second generation Transformers!” There were lots of guesses for Optimus Prime, but we vastly prefer the (relatively) esoteric.

No, our fetuses are named Starscream…

and Soundwave, a now-anachronistic 1980s cassette player.

I am a goody-goody, but DH is all about the Decepticons.

Thoughtful ThursdayAnd now, for the main event.

This weekend, I saw several old friends and one new friend… Dora!

We didn’t tell some of them that I’m pregnant, because they’re not close friends and although I’ve gained a little weight, it can pass as extra fat.

We did inform my dear friend Ernie (Bert was ill and couldn’t join us). He was absolutely thrilled.

I surprised myself by not explaining how they were conceived, even though in the same conversation we talked about his brother Grover’s continued infertility with his wife Prairie Dawn, and we have previously discussed Ernie and Bert’s situational infertility as a gay couple. The method of conception just didn’t seem relevant, and a discussion of our own troubles seemed like it would take away some of the jubilation.

Despite years in the infertility closet (we’ve told a few friends, zero family), I’ve fully expected to spill the beans to almost everyone once we make our announcement. Public service, partially, and also putting it all out there after years of secrecy. But, after my encounter with Ernie, I’m second-guessing that assumption. When the time comes for each conversation, maybe I won’t feel like it. Maybe it won’t be appropriate right then. Sure, if people bother us with “what took you so long” or “how did you get twins” questions I’ll give them an earful. But if they’re only reaction is happiness, do I really want to ruin the fun right then?

One couple that I still plan to inform, even though we’re not close friends, is a couple who everyone else has had on babywatch since their wedding two years ago. They are very religious, and they own a giant house in Minivan-land. I happen to know through a mutual friend that they have had fertility issues, just as I silently suspected (and as everyone else has been loudly speculating). The big tipoff for me was the way that the wife beamed when she found out about that mutual friend’s pregnancy — “Isn’t that so wonderful for them?” Not a bitter infertile like me, but hopeful and genuine. I want to tell her about our struggles to offer myself as a resource if she’d like and also to hopefully give her some hope (not that she’s lost hope at this point). But who knows; I may chicken out again.

For someone who is far from shy in speaking her mind, I sure do clam up a lot around reproductive issues. But just wait until the inappropriate questions/comments start. There will be no clams in sight, only soapboxes.

Who have you told about infertility, and what made you tell them? Who do you plan to tell in the future, and why?

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19 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Reveal”

  1. Kymberli Says:

    My mom knew about our troubles to conceive, as did my sisters. My sisters (younger) didn’t know the specifics but knew that we were having troubles in general. Other than that, when we were actually in the throes, I didn’t tell anyone except for two coworkers who first confided in me of their own fertility troubles. Maybe we caught “the look” on each others’ faces when someone else announced a pregnancy or brought their rosy-cheeked newborns in for a visit while they were still out on maternity leave. I don’t recall exactly how we knew the other understood, but we knew.

    Now that we’re past it, the topic of how we had our children doesn’t come up much. I usually only say something when someone assumes something dumb, like that our four children were a result of lack of birth control (HA!).

  2. Cathi Says:

    We also hardly told anyone about our IF, though after 8 years of marriage I’m sure only the stupid ones didn’t suspect a thing.

    Now that we’re pregnant, I’ve told everyone who’s asked something like, “when did you find out it was triplets?” or “do triplets run in your family?” that it was IVF after three years of trying, one failed cycle and a miscarriage. Anyone who asks anything as impertinent as “are they natural?” gets the response that my babies are as natural as any others.

    While I feel it’s appropriate to educate people about the realities of IF and available treatments, I resent anyone who asks me point blank how I conceived my children. I KNOW they wouldn’t even think to ask if we were having a singleton, though only something like 11% of IVF pregnancies are multiples. Most multiples resulting from fertility treatment are from IUI, but somehow people just forget about that entire option.

    DH’s grandma was telling me about when she told her neighbor our news and how her neighbor asked right away if it was IVF. I commented on how incredibly rude that question was and I think grandma was surprised by my response. Come on, how would she have reacted if someone had asked her how she conceived any of her children?

    I will continue to share our story, but not with the people who are already being rude about it.

  3. rosesdaughter Says:

    I told my parents first, because I’m very close with them. But no other family members. My sister in law found out second, because she was with me the day after I lost the first pregnancy with no questions, no bs, no “oh it was God’s will”. Just a good bottle of wine and food. I told my best work friend next because, hell, she’s my friend. Everyone else was kept in the dark, pretty much until this week, when I have been letting on a few other choice family members( favorite aunt, godparents, mother in law, my brother).And a few other close friends that I knew whould be really happy for me, and would not spread the gossip. I’m holding out at work. Not ready yet.

  4. Kristin Says:

    I am completely out there. If the subject of children/how many we have/whether we are going to have any more comes up, our fertility issues usually are discussed. But, my fertility issues involve losses and not the inability to conceive and I don’t know if that would make it different.

  5. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Who have you told about infertility, and what made you tell them? Who do you plan to tell in the future, and why?

    Elastic….you see there are two kinds of people who know about our status – those we told, and those who got told from those we told, or who came to know about it.

    Infertility, is still a hush-hush topic here. There is nobody who talks to me about what is the dirty mechanics of my fertility kismet.

    My parents were in the plan since the very first day….they believed me quite a while after I started claiming that there were some issues….my mother only thought that the timing was wrong (fun!). My in-laws got told by DH…My BIL and SIL got told by DH and my in-laws…one of my friends S got told upfront by me. Rest of my relatives simply guessed it….everybody knew I was going to the doctors…

    My colleagues guessed it.

    That does not stop people from offering me advice. Some of them bloody don’t even know what Unexplained Infertility is for them….but that won’t stop them.

    I just could not keep secrets from my mother (well, majorly not), my DH cannot resist his parents :), and since we had been trying and failing, my hubby advised his bro to start trying for a family soon (given our trials)…

    My friend S got told, because we have shared a long standing friendship and so we share stuff. She had developed a thyroid condition around the age of 22, and I was privy to that information as well.

    I plan to talk to my kids (when they grow up) about my IF struggle…I also hope to talk to an open fora, if ever something of this kind happens and I am comfortable with the organizers/audience….

    I believe that lot of people are being taken on a ride in City G…(where I live), normal OB/GYNs also told of ARTs as if they are all experts at it. Going to the level of IUI is fine, but speaking of ‘test tube babies’ is a crime that they are perpetrating….

  6. jill Says:

    My close family – mom and two sisters – know that I’ve been wanting children for a long time and nothing has happened. I’ve told them some vague details on having testing done but really, I don’t feel comfortable going any further. I don’t want their advice or pity (I just want to get pregnant, damnit!).

    My dad (I didn’t grow up with him, I only see him about once a year, but I love him dearly, and we get along well) knows I am having trouble but I didn’t exactly tell him. He’s known that I’ve wanted children since my early 20s and I’m sure he started suspecting something was up when it never happened. Again, I don’t want his advice and I’m slightly scared at well-meant but offensive comments.

    My grandmother knows that I say I can’t get pregnant and I probably won’t ever get to have a baby. She always says (over and over again) “you never know!” with a big hopeful smile on her face. ugh. Yet again with her, I don’t go into details.

    Just about everyone else (people who don’t know me well) thinks I don’t want kids (haha). I usually cope by pushing everything baby/kid-related away and acting completely uninterested or negative.

    If I ever do get pregnant I think what I say will depend on what people say to me. I can see myself getting extremely defensive if someone makes the wrong comment – think along the lines of “Oh, how nice, was it an accident or planned?” or “see, you just relaxed and it happened”.

    I do agree that if someone is just happy and doesn’t ask any further questions, I probably won’t go into details.

  7. WiseGuy Says:

    I don’t plan to be outright open in sharing my TTC journey or details of my IF. I don’t plan to talk unless I see somebody’s life improving out of it…

    S was recently diagnosed with PCOS….she talked to me about it….and what are its possible effects on her chance to have a second kid. I don’t have PCOS, but I shared with her whatever I knew on the topic…and I had the stories of several IF bloggers to fuel my information about it…. (that is what I mean by ‘improving life’ – improving the information bases for decision making)…atleast she won’t be the fool that I was in the beginning of her journey, and she was able to put everything into perspective.

  8. Stacey Says:

    You might have a long way to go at 12w, but it comes on FAST!!! I was still quite tiny at 12w… however 4 weeks later I look completely different! Like a real pregnant lady! 🙂

  9. Photogrl Says:

    I’m glad your husband enjoyed my guesses…I am to please! 🙂

    As for who knows about my infertility, being that we have struggled with secondary IF, and five losses now, family knows. Friends know. Sometimes it seems like everyone knows.

    Sometimes I feel like I’ve been TOO open about our struggles. With our last loss, in March, I barely told anyone we were PG, let alone lost another one. M. and I are planning on doing our first IVF cycle in August, and I’m not sure how much of my family I’m going to tell.

    We’ll see.

  10. Photogrl Says:

    I meant that I “aim” to please, but can’t type apparently.

  11. Rebecca Says:

    I haven’t. I’ve told barely half a dozen friends. It’s just something I keep to myself. I’m sure some people are suspecting by now; we’ve been married almost four years. I fob them off, though. It seems to work since we were so young when we got married.

  12. S Says:

    Who have you told about infertility, and what made you tell them?

    Initially, we told everyone. We had no choice. DH’s vasectomy was global news. It was obvious and apparent to all that IVF was our only option. Initially, we told people about our first cycle, and our first BFP. who wouldn’t? I was so proud that I had managed to pull off a BFP on the first cycle ever, I knew I had “PCOS” but that was just a vague thing to me, to quote the exact words:
    ex-FS “well you have PCO”
    (me: what does that mean)
    ex-FS “well nothing, just that you have more cysts than normal, 1 in about 7 women has PCO. you can run around screaming like an american (a little jibe at my accent perhaps) or you can just run with it”.
    No word of hormonal imbalances, recurrent miscarriages etc.
    Then, the untelling. It was a huge lesson in my world of IF. I hate/d the untelling. Left most of it up to DH to do. And it was awful, people asking for details, the wrong people. Others not asking enough, just acting as if it hadnt happened. DH’s niece was pregnant as I had my d&c, the first day of cramping and bleeding like a stuck pig. Then, the kicker. Because it was close to christmas, we had to spend christmas wth DH’s daughter, who had just had a newborn boy in november. In the aftermath of my d&c, while I was lactating everytime he cried, I watched DH cuddle a newborn baby that was part of him and died slowly. Each cycle since has been a death of sorts. Finally, when my daughter died, the old me died completely. It was a quick, soundless and traumatising death.

    And now I’ve learned my lesson. No one knows. Except for the internets. And DH, by default, although I’ve actually toyed with the idea of cycling without telling him (can’t happen, he needs to sign consent forms).

    I have the occasional stickybeak questions from people who “think” they’re trying to help (only I know they treat it as some kind of sick family gossip), eg DH’s daughter, my SIL. I just say “nothing to report”. Sometimes the questions can be quite blatant and innocently ignorant, like, “are you doing IVF now?” (can you hear me now?) – and I lie if I have to. I say, No. I only tell who I believe will keep the secret and not judge. (essentially, 2 people, ha!)

    Who do you plan to tell in the future, and why? Our kids, if/when we have any. Immediate family, if we have to, and probably because they’d know anyway. Close friends, but they’d probably already know. And that’s pretty much IT. I’d made the judgment call depending on the situation and I know DH doesn’t talk about it much except to one close friend of his.

    S

  13. S Says:

    make* even…


  14. When we were in the “thick” of ours, I/we didn’t tell ANYONE. Now, I tell everyone, that will listen. It’s usually because I’m asked a question like “why are they 6 years apart?”

  15. strongblonde Says:

    you know, we have not told a lot of people…but the people we did tell (who didn’t know anything about our IF) have not said anything at all about twins. i think that it is common enough that people don’t blink an eye. i did ask my mom and dad to NOT talk about my IF with other people. my dad’s response? you know, we watch a lot of tv. we know more than you think. we watch lots of vetrinary programs. um…really? thanks for making my point dad!

  16. Mel Says:

    Ha–I have told everyone and anyone from friends to the cashier at the grocery store. More often than not, it either helps the other person to ask a question they need to ask or to feel comfortable saying “me too.”

    I love the in-utero names.

  17. nishkanu Says:

    While in the thick of things, we told family and close friends.

    Now that we are pregnant with DE, our intention is to be totally open about how our child came to be. But not as in, “Guess what, we are pregnant, and we got that way with donor egg!” More just to take advantage of openings like if someone says “who do you think the baby will look like?” or “why did you wait so long?” And more than happy to answer any questions. But it turns out that if you are pregnant with a singleton people do not ask “did you do IVF?” or “is your baby genetically related to you?” so many opportunities to inform haven’t come up yet. But we have the baby’s lifetime, which HOPEFULLY will be a long time, to let people know and I guess once the gabby people know the news will spread like wildfire and that will be that.

  18. Callie Says:

    This is a topic that’s pretty real and raw for me because it’s one of the only things my husband and I fight about (as recently as last night). I am very open about it. I find it much more stressful – particularly at work – to make excuses for why I can’t be somewhere someone expects me to be than to just tell people straight up that we’re trying to build our family, having difficulty with that and are undergoing treatment. Almost everyone has been extremely supportive and doesn’t pry or ask dumb questions but instead just accepts however much I elect to share.

    My husband on the other hand has told NOBODY including his own family. He gets livid that I “spew our private business to strangers” (i.e. my limited blog reading audience…I love you guys if my husband doesn’t!) and people at work. He can’t understand why I do this and thinks it’s a psychological failing on my part. I can’t understand why he can’t understand that it’s not something I’m ashamed of and it’s the major thing going on in my life right now, and I don’t have the desire (or energy for that matter) to hide it. We are so so different on this matter.

    Ultimately, I’ve decided to respect his desire to keep it quiet (although so many people in my circle know that it’s a bit of a moot point) as I feel like his need for privacy is stronger than my need to tell. That being said, it’s a close call on whose need is stronger, so it’s difficult, but we’re taking it day be day. Hopefully this next cycle will be the “one” and my pregnant belly will eventually tell the story for me!

    Thanks for the topic!


  19. I’ve told nearly everyone that I talk to for more than 5 minutes about the baby that I’ve conceived through IVF. I’m big on representing, and like Mel, I’ve found being forthcoming about my experience to be really positive. Other women seem to have a lot of questions about IVF, and this frees them up to ask them — especially if they’ve been having trouble conceiving. I also like bonding with other IVF moms.

    I’m not sure how my husband handles the info. He doesn’t seem to mind when I talk about it with mutual friends. But I’m fairly sure that he doesn’t bring it up when chatting with other guys that also have babies on the way.


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