Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Inching out of the closet

I met up with two friends for lunch. At this point I either look a) pregnant or b) like I stuffed a basketball up my shirt, but my friends said nothing so I cleared my throat and made the announcement. I've waited to utter these words for well over two years but it was so weird to say those words out loud. The more people I tell the more real it begins to feel and the more real it feels the more vulnerable I feel but- they were so happy for me, and started talking about a baby shower. I told them I wasn't sure if I'd have one and when they asked why I felt my stomach tighten as I inched my way out of the closet.

Sometimes I feel I live two separate lives. There's the K who in 2009 pursued her writing dream, ate at nice restaurants with friends and took fun vacations. Then there's the other K, the one who sank to the bottom of the ocean in 2009 and is still not quite sure how and why she is still floating. It felt strange to breach the divide, to let people through the veil I hold between what I reveal and what I fully am. Voicing outloud that I am infertile, I have PCOS and I lost two pregnancies felt like I lay my heart on the table for everyone to see.

I had planned to come out and I don't regret it. Its important on so many levels. Silence equals at worst taboo, at best, shame. Infertilty and loss deserve neither. I never know who I might come out to who will one day be able to turn to me. I know at least five people in my community who have suffered IF but we don't talk about it, we talk around it. It has to stop so I may as well begin the process. I admit when I didn't know I had fertility issues I never understood how painful infertility was. I thought it would be sad if I could not have children but I didn't know until I faced the possibility of childlessness how deep the abyss of grief could be. Putting a face to infertility will hopefully help fertile friends see the issue on a human level rather than an abstract concept.

On a more selfish level, I want people to know how big this is for me. All pregnancies are a huge and miraculous but for me this miracle is so profound- that it could happen to me- I'm without words.

I'm not planning to discuss my infertility at light dinner gatherings because talk about party pooper! But- when I discuss my pregnancy with friends on a personal level I plan to tell. I will admit its not the most comfortable feeling to say outloud what I've kept buried so deep within, but its important to do, so I will.


  1. Personally, I find it takes a lot of strength to talk about it with anyone. Even before the loss, which makes it doubly hard, it was uncomfortable because it's so personal, but also because you don't know how people are going to feel about it.

    It's been my experience that unless it's a personal conversation, most people act like they don't know which makes it feel even more shameful, when you're right, it shouldn't be. Yet, somehow it's embarrassing to admit that you can't do what others can do so easily. You feel broken, and it feels like you're advertising it, hoping no one will look at you as if you are somehow less, somehow defective.

    You want support and understanding, and you want to educate people. I know I do. And I found it hard to meet the resistance or unreasonable optimism of others without wanting to bonk them on the head and say "Wake up! You have no clue what you are talking about!"

    Wow. I'm sounding a little negative, which maybe I sometimes am. Hard not to be a little cynical when "telling" hasn't gone so well for me. But that isn't my problem, it's theirs. If they can't or don't want to try to understand, that says a great deal about them, doesn't it?

    I'm so glad that coming out is going smoothly for you, and that you aren't just sharing the pregnancy, but why you held the news back for so long, why it's so meaningful to you. I hope that your friends are able to provide the support that you deserve now that they understand better.

    Kudos for being so brave and thanks for speaking for the rest of us. The more people who realize they know someone with IF, the more interested they are in being educated about it, the easier it will get for the entire IF community. :)

  2. You go girl! You deserve major props - you are super brave and this is tough. I am glad you are out.

  3. most people that know me know how long it took me to get pregnant and how much crap we had to go through to get there, it was just easier for me that way... well, it wasn't easier, there's nothing easy about infertility, but you know what i mean. my baby shower is still a couple of weeks away, it will be only 3-4 weeks before the baby is due, i wish i would have had it when i was around seven months because now i feel like we'll be scrambling at the last second to make sure we have everything that we need.

  4. I'm glad you decided to "come out" - it is a very hard thing to do, but I'm glad I did it. I hated having to hide the pain I was going through from my friends and family. I feel like now, I can be me.

  5. "Coming out" is so hard and personal. It's great that you were able to open up to some IRL friends.

  6. Good for you! I did the same thing when I was pregnant with Lemy and now I have no trouble talking about it all to anyone (not specific, nitty gritty information, but about our struggle. It gets easier as you get closer to the other side. ((hugs))

  7. I am so glad you came out, so to speak. I'm sure there are others who carry the weight and shame of IF or PCOS and perhaps your words gave them hope.

  8. Good for you! I'm afraid I tell most people. Many ask if this is my first baby, and I'll just say it's my first baby, third pregnancy. And that it took us 4 years and IVF to get here. Maybe it's more because I took those 7 weeks off work and I didn't want everyone thinking I was some insane anxious freak, so I figured I'd be better off letting them why this baby is so incredibly precious to us. And so far, I haven't had one single negative response. I'm not ashamed of what we've been through, or what our issues are. And if my experience can help someone else out some day, so much the better!

  9. Well done you! I think you should have the baby shower though. Leave it right until the end of the pregnancy or even after the birth if it makes you feel better but you have been through too much sadness to deny yourself such a happy occasion. xx