I brought up yesterday how amazing it was to be pleasantly surprised when a friend reacts in a supportive way. I want to reiterate that I understand that not everyone will react that way and that the actions we take to protect ourselves are just that, to protect ourselves. It was just a nice reminder that I do not need to protect myself from everyone and that good people who can relate to me do exist.
In general, I am a very open person and I can talk about things that are personal to me without feeling too vulnerable. However, I’ve realized the issue with sub-fertility is not so difficult for me to talk about it, as it is for me to tell people. After all, what good response is there to “We haven’t been able to conceive.” Its just a conversation killer.
Anytime I’ve told people about our problems (I’ve only told family and a few close friends who know me well), I’ve started crying. As soon as the initial tears start flowing, I’m OK. I can talk with my friends/family about it and not cry again. Of course, I’m not really about telling just any old person, but about telling the people you’re closest too for example, who might wonder why you’re taking a vacation to…Nebraska? My friend this weekend gave me the idea after she told me about a similar situation with her mom. When her mom had breast cancer, she was fine talking about it with friends and coworkers, but she just could not tell them herself. She worked it out where her manager told everyone instead, so by the time she talked to them they already knew and it was easier for her.
I’m big on owning and accepting my feelings. This is happening to me, so a big part of me wants to be the strong one that can tell people about this. After all its my life, so I’d like to be there when it happens. A prideful part of me wants to be the one that has it all together and accepts this completely in stride and doesn’t cry in front of people. But, I know that would just be a show. It does affect me. It dose cause me pain and I don’t know what I gain by hiding it other than by giving off an “everything’s OK” guise to further propogate the idea that I don’t need anyone’s help.
I’m starting to see the advantage of say, having my husband tell his family so that its easier to talk about in the future with them and so that I don’t scare them all away and make them not talk about it ever again by being a blubbering mess. I know other women feel differently, but it is therapeutic for me to talk about it, so I don’t want to ostracize people and make them think I can’t. My big fear with this is that because I don’t tell them myself, they will think they can’t talk about it to me and then it will be even more awkward.
This is of course assuming that they don’t already know, which I’m guessing they have an inkling. The last time we were at his grandparent’s house his grandma asked us why we don’t have kids yet (in Spanish, so keep in mind I’m just barely following along – but I did catch that!) and the hubs responded with our patented “We’ll have them when God gives them to us.” Never to be easily tricked, his grandma responded with something along the lines of “Well, you have to work at it to you know!” Did I mention she’s a little feisty? And apparently his dad chimed in with “That’s why they’re going to see the Virgin of Guadalupe, Grandma.” So. Maybe they got the hint (even if it was lost on Grandma) or maybe his dad was just trying to save us from intense Grandma questioning. Its a fine line you can’t distinguish between!
Anyway, I’d appreciate any personal stories on this as I’m totally on the fence about how to handle it now that I can understand why it might be better for everyone if my husband just deals with his family, even though I am concerned about the “egg-shell” effect.
Do you tell your family hard news yourself or do you get your spouse to do it?