A Question

I was at lunch with a group of girlfriends, on Saturday, when one of the ladies declared to the table that she was going to get pregnant on her honeymoon next summer. The whole table exploded with excited chatter, throwing around potential baby names and guesses as to who the baby would look more like. I sat in silence. Two years ago, I would have gladly joined in. Two years ago I would never have imagined that I wouldn’t have a baby exactly when I willed it to be. Part of me envied their excitement. The optimism that allowed them to assume that it would be easy. I’d forgotten how so many people believe it’s easy. I stayed for a few minutes, listening to them talk around me, then made an excuse and left. I didn’t want to sit there, a lump of negativity. I did’t want to wait for the conversation to round back to me, the only married lady at the table, and my future babies. I didn’t want to rain on their cheer. And yet, I sort of wished I had spoken up. I haven’t really shared with many people what we are going through. I haven’t known how. And I wonder if I have the right to be frustrated by the ignorance if I’m not willing to say something, share my story with people who don’t know better. I just don’t know. How would you have handled the situation?

  1. We went through that. We tried for years to get pregnant, via medication, surgery, etc. We were fortunate that we did eventually have a child, long after all the medical doors were closed. I handled situations like that on a one-on-one basis rather than with the group. I’m sure you want to be happy for your friend if/when she does become pregnant. This way allows you to celebrate with her while being able to openly speak your mind.

    • hazel said:

      One on one probably is best, though I do wonder if I’m raining on her parade if I share my (negative) experience.

  2. Lya said:

    I probably would have done the same thing – excuse myself and leave. Even though we started to share our struggles with our family and very close friends I’m not comfortable to discuss it in a group. For me, opening up has been a great experience but we’ve always chosen the moment to speak up very carefully. Listen to you heart and do what ever feels right for you!

  3. Kristin said:

    I probably would have asked how she planned to time ovulation with her honeymoon. Does she have magical secrets? With that said, I’ve been pretty open about our infertility from the very beginning, but I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be easy. Perhaps because I didn’t have to manage my squashed expectations it was easier for me to tell our story. I also have zero impatience for ignorance or insensitive comments. By sharing our story and establishing some communication boundaries I have been able to largely avoid hard and insensitive conversations.

    • hazel said:

      I thought this! I think it’s great you’ve been open. I wish I could be more open but something always holds me back. Something for me to work on.

  4. SM said:

    We just recently opened up about our struggles with family and got some mixed results. After that, I’m a little bit more open to sharing but I don’t think I would be able to in a bigger group. It’s hard opening yourself up like that. There’s a time and place that I would feel comfortable and a large group is not one of them.

  5. Theresa said:

    If someone had said something directly to me, I probably would have responded honestly. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t have said anything. I’m very open about our journey to those who are interested (or to those who make comments I just can’t be silent about)

  6. Daryl said:

    It’s tricky to find the balance between educating the ignorant and being socially appropriate. Obviously, you don’t want to be the Debbie Downer of the group. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a private conversation with her, if you’re comfortable enough to do that.

    • hazel said:

      Yes, I agree about being socially appropriate. I knew that wasn’t the right time.

  7. it’s a tough call, to me it sort of depends on how close friends they are, whether they are people who are usually supportive/accepting and how big the group is. In general we’ve been really open about everything so in that kind of situation I’d probably say something like ‘wow, I really hope that works for you, have you thought about things you can do to start preparing like read taking charge of your fertility?’ etc and then see if anyone follows it up.

    But it really depends on what kind of headspace you’re in – if you’re feeling vulnerable it is NOT your job to educate the world, but if you are feeling sort of safe/okay then I think not only is it a good reminder about being sensitive to people that may be struggling with interfertility but it’s also a moment where people might be forced to think about own reproduction plans…

  8. ivfmale said:

    Last New Years only my Father, my Wife and I knew the true reason behind our fertility struggles. I had to suffer the fertility advice from a 19 year old son of a friend, who is an expert since he knocked up his ex-girlfriend when he was just 17. He thought he was being funny and I forced myself to laugh when I really just wanted to just punch him out. Then a few weeks later I had to suffer my mother’s questioning about seeing a doctor since we were having trouble getting pregnant. My mother has her own mental problems and I didn’t want to add another stress. So I just said we would, when we already had and knew it was bad news.

    Slowly I started to expand my list of who I would tell about my infertility. One on one I would tell them what happened and asked them to please let me tell the others and not talk about it to anyone. Now I’ve told just about all my close friends and family and I feel a weight has been lifted.

    This was the right decision for me, you have to find one that is right for you. All I can say is if you come out to someone, don’t hold anything back. You need a high points overview in order to avoid the stupid responses like “just relax” or “go on vacation.” They need to understand you are beyond that point.

    For the most part it has been really positive. We still suffer a few ignorant people, but far less than we did before.

    Let me ask you, would you have felt any better if you knew the conversation would not turn to your situation?

    I think you handled this situation the best you could under the circumstances. I hope you find an answer that works for you.

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