to tell or not to tell

The topic even fits NIAW, but it’s been on my mind for a while. I would like to be open about our infertility. In part simply because I’m not a good liar, so pretending I don’t want to have kids (yet) wouldn’t really work, but in part also because I’ve always found it encouraging, or at least less isolating, when someone else admitted to having struggled with building their family.
Except the reactions I’ve received haven’t necessarily been encouraging:
* Close friend from college, a year after I told her that we’d been trying unsuccessfully and that the SA didn’t exactly come back great: “So, have you already been trying?”
* My mother in law, who has known for a long time, regularly points out how much she’d love to have a grandchild. When we told her we’d do IVF this summer, she replied “oh, well, we’ve just heard the opposite from cousin P — his wife is pregnant, they’re expecting a baby in the summer”.

Not all responses are like this, thankfully. I do have thoughtful friends that understand how painful this experience is at times, and that nevertheless I’m still the same person they can laugh with and cry with. And I’m very grateful to know those people.

Yet many people don’t seem to grasp the magnitude of the issue, and that makes me hesitate. But it’s such a big part of our life that it is difficult to share much of that without also touching on IF. I’m not sure if this is complicated by living abroad — we often communicate with friends via long emails or skype calls, letting the other know what has happened in the last few weeks or even months. So it’s not quite like the casual catching up over coffee where you can mention or skip difficult issues, depending on how the conversation evolves, knowing that you could just talk again tomorrow or next week.

This is going to be an open-ended post as I’m not sure what to do. Experiences welcome, including good answers for not-so-sensitive people (see above).

time to celebrate

The Nobel prize for the inventor of IVF!

Apart from the recognition that this development has touched the lives of millions of people, I am hoping that it can bring a bit of light into the public perception of IF and IVF. To recognize IF as a disease that can strike anyone, that is not our fault (and it’s no use telling us to “just relax”), that there’s no reason to be ashamed. And — when you happily announce yet another pregnancy — please be gentle on us.

I’ve even written a post about this on my real-name blog — not explicitly saying that we’ve been trying to conceive and might need IVF, as I’m not quite ready to be this open with everyone and IVF considerations are several steps and doctor’s appointments away anyway, but at least to raise awareness. Let’s see what happens.