Being in the infertility closet is hard.
Being out of the infertility closet is hard.
Sensing a theme here? Infertility is hard.
Why do some people chose to keep it private?
Infertility is so, so personal. It’s an all up in your face (and junk), physically taxing, financially draining, and emotionally exhausting experience. You get your hopes up only to have your hopes crash way down. And it’s dealing with you and your partner’s body and things that aren’t functioning quite right. It might pick at your insecurities. It picks at perhaps your life long dream of parenthood. It challenges your faith. It may challenge your relationship with your partner. It challenges everything you know. It completely changes the person you are. Shoot, sometimes its a wonder any of us share any of our deepest, darkest challenges at all.
When sharing, you worry people will bug you about your body all the time. You worry about intrusive questions. You worry people will look at you differently, that you will get pitied or judged. You worry people will say insensitive things. You worry people will just blow it off as not a big deal. You worry, you worry, you worry. And rightfully so because you have seen others have all these negative experiences.
I know many people who have experienced infertility. I know people who are super open with every single test, treatment, and diagnosis. I know people who don’t tell anyone until years later or who don’t ever tell family. There is no wrong way.
It’s totally understandable not to want to tell people what you are struggling with, what’s not working quite right within your body, what is causing you to cry every day for years. Infertility is actually considered a reproductive trauma. So it makes sense that a lot of people don’t want to talk about it.
It also makes sense why for some, it’s therapeutic. They want to share their challenges with others to inform and maybe shed some light on infertility to help it to not be taboo.
As for me…
I consider myself somewhere in the middle here. I always considered myself an open book. But then I got slammed with some really hard things, including infertility, all at once. And I changed. I’m still changing and trying to figure it out.
There were many times about 6 or 7 months ago when we got our diagnosis in the spring where I wanted to tell friends and family. But my spouse wasn’t ready, and of course I was going to wait until we both were on the same page. And then there were a few months where my spouse was ready, but I wasn’t. As you can tell we are pretty indecisive!
A few months ago in the summer, I was on a phone call with my mom and just blurted it out. It definitely wasn’t planned, but it helped to get the ball rolling. Soon after, we told other family members and started telling a few friends. We’re still pretty nervous and sometimes hesitant about sharing it via our personal blog and social media, but it’ll happen.
Why did we want to share? To not feel so alone. To get some more support. To maybe help others understand. I’ve talked to many, many women suffering with infertility either through friends, social media, or support groups, and every time I read their blogs or talk with them, I feel a little less alone. I feel a bit happier, like I can have people to relate to. And that’s why I want to share.
But the thing is, we want to share our story on our own terms, without sharing it all. We don’t care to be asked about our bodies and those issues, so we aren’t sharing our medical diagnosis. As of now, we’re also not 100% comfortable telling people when we’re undergoing treatment, because we want to share the outcome on our own terms. It’s a personal decision, and some don’t understand, but that’s what we feel comfortable with.
Everybody has to do what they feel comfortable with, since infertility is so dang uncomfortable as it is. Sharing, not sharing, sharing only some, whatever helps you along in this journey. One thing I do feel strongly about is I’ve heard that some people feel like they can’t or shouldn’t discuss infertility because it’s too taboo or just a ‘no-no.’ To that I say, NO. If you want to share details about your life and it will make you happy, go for it. Don’t let the stupidity of others hold you back.
We all are just trying to figure out how to make the sting of infertility hurt a little less. Regardless of if you openly share your struggles with others or not, I urge everyone to find a good friend or a good outlet to add some semblance of comfort to your lives.
And if you are a friend or family member of someone suffering from infertility? Be kind to them. Ask them how they are coping. Genuinely care about them. Don’t bother them with intrusive questions. Talk about things other than infertility and have fun to get their minds off of it. Kindness and friendship is the cure to everything.