Not a lot of people know about what we’re going through.
Every now and then the discussion comes up – should we tell more people and if so, how?
It came up recently after we had our housewarming party. As people checked out our place there were the questions and statements….
“which room will be the babies room?” And “now that you have a house it will be time to start having babies” and “when are you going to have babies?”
I know I’m in a good place when someone asks me these question and I don’t want to
A. Rip their heads off
B. Run away, hide and cry
C. Awkwardly announce that we can’t have children and make it so horrible they never ask anyone that question ever ever again
D. All of the above
It didn’t grate my nerves at all. Rather it felt more like an annoying big brother poking a two day old bruise – uncomfortable and tender but entirely bearable.
(Although Grant is currently in the a,b,c,d phase, so while I can grin and bear it, he struggled with it. Luckily he doesn’t normally get the ‘questions’ nearly as often as I do.)
But it still raised the question – do we expand the circle of those in the know? And is there any point with our hiatus from actively trying until April 2015?
There are some friends and family members who know and they are amazing. They know us and know how we work. They can sense when to ask about the journey and when to leave well alone. They know how to broach the subject in a way that is sensitive and with care and understanding.
Then there are others who either insensitively ask and push, even when politely told that we don’t want to talk about it yet because we aren’t in that space. It’s hard because these are people we love and when they push it hurts. It hurts us because it’s painful to talk about and it hurts our friendship.
There are others still who ask question after question after question. Repeating again and again. It’s tiring. I know they’re trying to understand but it’s draining. They question the doctors, the information, the tests. Everything. I want to avoid these people permanently. But you can’t when they’re family.
Others just don’t get it. They are the complete opposite to the previous groups of people. It just doesn’t register with them the emotional, physical and spiritual toll this journey can wager. They know what’s going on yet they talk to us like nothing is going on. They still ask when we’re having kids or make jokes about me being pregnant, knowing full well the situation. They don’t ask how we are going, show any interest or concern about us.
This makes us want to not tell people. It’s hard enough dealing with my own issues, and my husbands, without the minefields that our friends and families make us walk through.
I totally understand that some people just don’t know how to act or what to say, and it’s their awkwardness that can cause them to unwittingly cause Grant and I discomfort. But why would I want to open that up to more people? People see it as an invitation to share their opinions, faith, quirks and to have an input that’s not always wanted.
Also, why make colleagues, extended friends and family feel awkward around us? And us around them? Where do we draw the line of who knows our personal business? And once we’ve decided on who to tell, how do we tell people – in person? How do you work it into conversation naturally? And if you do manage too it’s a real buzz killer. Consider your fun, entertaining night over. What about on Facebook – that really takes the privacy away but it does spread the news in one foul swoop. But then, it spreads the news far and wide… I don’t want everybody knowing our business.
I also struggle with telling people in a positive way. In that, I don’t like saying “we can’t have children” as it seems so negative and I don’t want to speak that over my life. I’ve previously tried wording it so it wasn’t put across this way but I guess the intended message became too obscure and they didn’t get what I was trying to say or the gravity of the situation. So it raises the question of how to tell people as well.
It’s a hard call to make.
Right now we are going on a case by case basis – as the need to tell someone arises we do, otherwise we just keep it quiet. So far this system is working, and with time to spare with the ivf waiting list I think we will employ this strategy for a little while longer. When we get close to April 2015 ivf time maybe more people will need to be in the know. I guess time will tell!