Friday, April 06, 2007


It used to be about enjoying a spiritual occasion and good food; seeing friends and family. Instead, now it has turned to another holiday that I sometimes would rather avoid.

Usually, it would be a bigger festivity. It would have consisted of mass, dinner with my mother-in-law, T’s step-father, my parents, my sister and fiancĂ©, an aunt, her boyfriend, and son. After the enormous dinner with too much desert, we would go to visit former church friends. (Now we are just friends.) People that we don’t see often, but love to see when we can.

But, this year, Easter will be quiet. It will consist of dinner with only my husband, my mom and dad, no mass and no visiting of church friends.

Dinner will be quiet because my mom didn’t feel like throwing a big event. And I can’t blame her. My mother-in-law and T’s step-father were invited, but they declined. So my mom took the opportunity to make it just for us. My sister and fiancĂ© will be joining the festivities later in the evening.

And I declined on the visit with church friends. I said it was because of being at work super early the next day, which is completely true. I plan on being at work on Monday at 8:00 am, since I need to leave work before 11:00 am to go to an RE appointment, and hopefully returning to work by 2:00 pm to finish the day. But there was more of a reason that I didn’t want to go.

See, these friends don’t know of our infertility struggles. While they are extremely sweet, caring, compassionate people, I feel pulled as to whether or not to share. Why? Well, I am not ashamed of it. But, I don’t want to open Pandora’s Box either. See these friends are VERY Catholic. And while I know that they believe we should procreate – this is the same friend that told me that there is only one reason to get married and that is to have children – I don’t know if I would have to explain myself about ART. Because as we know, ART is a sensitive topic for Catholics since the Church has strict guidelines on what they determine to be acceptable procedures.

You may be wondering why this would be more of an issue this year than prior years? The reason is that the hosts are very proud grandparents of two beautiful boys. And my best friend S, who will be in attendance, is six months pregnant. (We were both married in the same year – 2002.) Now, I love to see those beautiful boys, and I am very happy for S. But, I don’t want that question to be directed at me. Especially since I don’t know if I should deflect it with sarcasm or provide an honest answer “sometimes it isn’t up to us, but to God.”

And I am reminded that I am 50/50 in the closet about our infertility. The people that know and ask about it; know everything there is to know. The people who don’t know; know nothing. Anyone who has guessed, I come clean with. Others who don’t bring it up with me, and I know that they know because my mother has an enormous mouth, I don’t bring up with them. (Mostly my mother’s family which only increases the rift between us, because they won’t talk to me about the most difficult thing that I’ve ever experienced in my life.)

All of this makes my head hurt. I wonder if it would be best for everyone to know. To be open. To gain support from real life people. To ask for their prayers. But, it is pride that makes me keep it a secret with the majority of people. I don’t want pity; I want empathy. And I can’t control how people react to my infertility, I can only control how I react to it.

Instead, I avoid these situations, so that I don’t have to make a decision. So, that I can put it off a little while longer. Yet, I know that I will need to make these decisions soon. Since, I assume they will be at S’s baby shower in May. I refuse to miss it. Due to the event, it will be a baby conversation day. But, I also know and somewhat comforted, that I will probably be too preoccupied with what is coming out of my mom’s mouth to actually socialize with anyone. I have the knowledge that my mother may have outted me to these very same people and I am fretting all for nothing.

The funniest part of this all is that I have decided that regardless of who asks about our maybe babies that I will be honest with them. Also, if we are ever blessed with a baby or two, that I will be honest that we used ART to conceive. I don’t feel ashamed about it. I will feel like we got lucky using every means necessary.

All of this makes me feel like a huge contradiction and there is a very good reason I see a counselor. Err…my head really hurts.


Samantha said...

I also have struggled a lot with who to tell/when to tell. I don't know what people's reactions will be, and don't want to get hurt. Also to a certain extent I feel like IF is kind of private. If I get pg and start showing, then it becomes obvious to the world, but before that I not necessary want everyone knowing.

I had a really difficult time last summer going through a chemical pregnancy when a lot of people who I didn't know that well ended up finding out about my second IVF cycle and then all wanting to know how things went. Telling people, "I don't if I'm pregnant" was not what they expected or seemed to undserstand, and I didn't really feel like explaining it. So I know why you might prefer not to tell.

I hope you have a peaceful Easter.

Ann said...

I think I'm with you--I'll tell people if they ask about it, but I'm not going to just bring it up on my own. I did that once, on a day I was feeling particularly sad and was working out at Curves. The woman working there asked how I was, and I told her, honestly (the very, very short version, of course). She seemed stunned, and mumbled something like, "Well, I'm sure it will happen for you soon." It was obvious that infertility was complete outside her realm of understanding.

I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

Nicole said...

I don't blame you for being 50/50 out about the infertility situation. Not one bit. You are not a contradiction at all, you are human with a right to make your own decision about who to talk to about your most intimate struggles. Have a nice Easter my friend, with lots of wine.

Susan said...

Have a wonderful Easter. And I don't blame all. Sometimes avoiding it is hard but at the same time you have to pick what's less harder on you mentally. No one is going to argue with you.

Baby Blues said...

Dealing with being open with ART could be tricky. I choose the people I discuss it with because although it's hard to deal with IF, it's even harder to explain it to those who just don't get it.

Happy Easter Dianne!

Unknown said...

That is alot of conflicting emotions. And IF is always good for that! Make the decision to come out when you feel the time is right, not based on anything else. And there's nothing wrong with some people knowing, and others not. Last time I looked, Hallmark hadn't yet come out with an "I'm Infertile!" card that you could send out to family, friends and acquaintances. (Thank G*d for that.)

Be kind to yourself about the contradictions. We all feel them.

Anonymous said...

D. and I are very open about our infertility but sometimes that comes back and bites me in the ass (as you read in my post). For myself, being open works, but some days I wish I had never said a damn thing about even wanting kids.

Aurelia said...

I want to tell people, and I don't. I'm freaking out about the article that will be out soon, since it means I'll be waayyy more public and I don't know if I can handle that.

But the best part is that if you are more open then you will get more support. And if you keep it a secret, then you will never get any support, even from the nice kind people in your life.

Sara said...

I'm pretty open about IF (except at work), but I can see the argument for keeping things private. Having friends with strong religious objections to ART would make things even trickier. It seems to me that their objections are their own issue, not yours, but I can understand why you wouldn't want to put yourself in that position. My parents are actually religious Catholics, and they know about and support my decision to pursue IVF, so you never know, but obviously it's a big gamble sharing this kind of information. I think you're wise to keep it to yourself if you're not certain. Once it's out, you can't push it back into the closet.

Good luck coping with your feelings.