Coming out of the fertility closet, by Michelle Smith, TTC warrior

Michelle Smith tells us how she finally came out about her infertility 

Everyone tells me I am “brave” for sharing my story. I always find that kind of ironic. It was so much harder to suffer in silence, alone.

I feel like that actually took some serious bravery, keeping silent while suffering loudly inside. I didn’t talk about our infertility for the first 3 years, so I get it. I didn’t want people to know that we were working on starting a family because I didn’t want to be asked every month if I was pregnant yet. Telling them no, I am still not pregnant, would be another reminder of the many negative pregnancy test results I was experiencing. I didn’t want to see their face as they try to come up with a quick response to pep me up. Those responses usually made things worse anyhow. “Just relax, it will happen” or “try not to think about it”…yeah right.

I didn’t want to hear hundreds of suggestions, unwanted advice. I didn’t want to feel like my body was failing me and they were the audience to those monthly failures.

But then, I realized that by not sharing our struggles we were keeping ourselves alone in a dark place.

Oddly enough, we were not going to be able to shed light for others by staying in our own darkness, nor could we let any light in either. I was also running out of excuses to tell people, lies really…on why we didn’t have kids yet. There’s only so many times you can say, “Its not our time yet” or “We will get to that eventually” before people start pinning you in a corner for more answers, or rather more honest answers.

At first, I opened up to family and close friends about it. I probably didn’t do it in the best way either. It was certainly not my planned announcement. Here’s what happened. We were having a pool party for my husband’s birthday. Our nieces were swimming in the pool back and forth between my husband and I. They couldn’t be any happier, giggling and shouting our names.  A family member yelled out,” You guys are so good with kids, when are you going to FINALLY have your own?” With out skipping a beat, I yelled back to her in front of everyone, “When my body cooperates and my Fallopian tubes stop being blocked, ok!? We have been trying for YEARS!”

Yep. That is the moment we came out of the infertility closet.

She looked at me with a very shocked expression, and in that moment I realized it was no longer a secret. The whole party just heard, and there was no rewind button on real life moments. You know what though? I wouldn’t rewind that moment even if I could. People need to stop asking such deep questions in the most shallow way. She was literally in the deep end at that point. We were in the pool, so yeah,  pun intended. I guess I shouldn’t have been mad at her, she was asking a mostly innocent question and didn’t realize the emotions that it would provoke.

After that, my fears of people asking me every month if I was pregnant yet came true. I simply explained to them that when I am, I will let them know and to not ask me because it’s painful. So they stopped asking, and instead would send me little messages that simply said things like, “thinking of you” or “sending you love and prayers” which I truly loved receiving. Still do. Its like a brain hug.

I also did get hundreds of suggestions. I’m sure you know what I am talking about here.

My sister’s friend’s cousin went to this woman from Mexico for Mayan massage and she got pregnant the very next month. You should go to her.

My Aunt’s neighbor saw this doctor who prescribed this medication and she was pregnant like 2 weeks later. You should take that medicine.

My co-workers daughter said she got pregnant right after she went on a vacation. You should take a trip.

My friends sister in law got pregnant when she went vegan, you should try that.

I just had to remind myself they mean well. They care. They are annoying, but they are actually trying to help.  That alone shed more light into the darkness that infertility is.

I want to leave you with this, you are not alone. Sharing my struggle has been incredibly helpful in healing and coping. I challenge you to step out of your infertility closet and let the light in.  You will be amazed at how many people you know are also in their own infertility closet. They will likely crack open the door and step out for the first time, thanks to your support.

We would love to hear how you ‘came out of the fertility closet’. Drop us a line a line at sara@ivfbabble.com and let us know if you would like to share your story.

 

 

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