Talking About IVF

Hello! It has been a rough few months at work. I always forget what a nightmare the end of the year always is but it’s all over now. The kids are gone and this week my whole team is on vacation. It actually feels like the whole building is empty, it’s a little scary.

Anyway.

So we’re in the telling people phase of this journey. Not family and friends but other individuals we come across in our daily or not so daily lives. This includes social media.

With regards to the latter, we couldn’t come to an agreement on an announcement so we decided to not announce. I wanted to mention IVF. In fact, I wanted to do the “ultrasound picture and onesie surrounded by needles in the shape of a heart” announcement but N did not want everyone in Facebook land to have that much insight into our lives. I definitely respect that so I’ve let it go.

With regards to the former, I generally tend to blurt out “We did IVF” if the conversation carries on long enough. But I’ve noticed, and I don’t know why I’m surprised, that it makes people uncomfortable and quiet if I mention it and it makes people giddy if I don’t.

The first time was at my dentist cleaning. This was earlier on, maybe around 8 weeks. The hygienist mentioned x-rays and I told her why I couldn’t have one. She then would not shut up about her kids and didn’t really let me get a word in edge wise (I also had a million metal pointy things in my mouth so there was that too). Needless to say, I didn’t get a chance to slip in how we got to where we were. I was a little disappointed but it’s okay.

The second time was strange. This time at my orthodontist with my mouth wide open again. I’d called earlier to let them know that I can’t do x-ray’s so when they nurse and ortho came in it was baby talk all over again. The I find my way in is if they ask if we know what we’re having. She asked if we knew the gender and after I told her I said that we did IVF and genetic testing on the embryo so we knew the gender very early on. Then very coldly, she said “Well, we did IVF too and we still had to wait to find out the gender”.

I didn’t know what to say. The nurse who was in there with us didn’t know what to say. I think it was the way she said it that threw me off. I know she has two kids so if she did do IVF shouldn’t she have been more excited to find an IVF sister? Did my pgd testing go against her beliefs somehow? Was I being too sensitive? I was thinking all of this in the 5 seconds of silence in the room when she finally said “Well, it’s amazing what they can do nowadays anyway.” and that was that.

Yes, I did cry a little in the car. The first time I wanted to share this triumphant story and it wasn’t received how I expected. I was baffled.

My third opportunity was with the HR director. I sent her an email asking a few questions about the school’s leave policy and she set up a meeting for us to discuss. She’s really lovely. The conversation was great, we both had smiles on our faces throughout. Mostly because the school’s parental leave policy is pretty fantastic considering the US’s stance on maternity leave. And once we ironed out all the details the questions started coming. It was time. I started getting nervous and excited, then it happened exactly as scripted in my head.

“Do you know what you’re having?”

“Yes, it’s a boy”

“Oh my goodness, how lovely”

“Thank you! We did IVF so we found out very early on”

*continues to smile, does not break eye contact, keeps nodding slowly searching for words*

“So you had a hard road getting here, huh”

“Yes ma’am, a hard long road but we did it”

“Well, I’m so very happy for you”

Yes!! I did it! This exchange was much better. I was very happy. But it didn’t last long.

I started thinking about those awkward few seconds when people have to think of something to say. Is it fair for me to put them through this? If they don’t answer satisfactorily does that change my perception of them? Why was I doing this? Is it something that people need to know?

For me, personally, I want people to know that not every pregnancy is wham bam, thank you ma’am. I would like for someone who is struggling to know that they’re not alone. I want to break the silence. And mostly importantly, it’s my story and it’s the story of my son and it’s sad and it’s rough but, damn it, it’s mine, it’s awesome and I’m proud of it.

So right now I’m torn. Do I protect people’s fragility and innocence when it comes to reproduction? Do I respect my husband’s want for a little bit of privacy? Or do I break the silence and stay true to myself?

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10 thoughts on “Talking About IVF

  1. Its interesting that this can STILL be such a taboo subject. On the flip side, after 10+ years of trying we ended up with twins, and one of the first questions out of ones mouth “are they natural? / Did you do IVF?”

  2. Interesting. IVF seems so normal to me. So many people around me have done it, including my brother and his wife. It almost seems tame. Didn’t work for us after three tries, so we moved on to donor embryos. Just did my second transfer yesterday. Due to a series of random events, our kid(s) (if we are lucky enough to have them) will not share an ethnicity with either of us. I’ve been pretty open about it, but still… it’ll definitely be interesting navigating those waters.

    Best of luck, and sorry people can be so silly / ignorant / insensitive. I think the more we talk about it, the more normal it will become. And I think it’s a lot more normal than most people realize!

    • I also think it’s a lot more normal but still tricky to navigate and find others who will find it just as normal :). I just saw your last post. I’m really excited for you. Good luck, again, for today. xxx

  3. In my opinion, the only person you need to worry about with regard to how it makes them feel is your hubby. As for making other people uncomfortable, that’s their issue, not yours. I don’t believe you can “make” someone feel a certain way, it’s on them how they perceive and process it, and you can’t take that on.

    • I have to sit down with him again on this subject. I want to get his all his feelings and thoughts and how he would approach the situation. I know he’s told a few “strangers” but I don’t know how much detail he goes into.

  4. Oh man, wow people are so strange. When we have shared with anyone how long it took ect people were so excited for us! But I guess I’m
    Pretty private so I didn’t share too much with “rando’s” as my husband would say. You are excited and happy and I think it’s good to share, all my years of waiting it was always nice to know other people had to struggle for things too!

  5. Not to say the people you shared with were random people at all!!! I definitely had to tell my dentist and put a halt on Invisalign due to pregnancy! My dentist office gets so sad when they can’t do X-rays LOL so distracting them with a pregnancy announcement was good. 🤣

  6. This is a hard one. I’ve tended to be pretty open about our IVF journey and the majority of our close friends know as well as immediate family. But my husband feels like the whole thing is very personal and he doesn’t want some of his friends and relations to know for instance which I have to respect.
    I once met a lady who had IVF twins but was extremely secretive about that fact. She told me she didn’t want her children to ever be judged as being less than because they were created through IVF. I never even considered that this could happen (how awful!). She overheard some parents talking about a kid at the school in hushed whispers, “did you know so and so is an IVF child?” and she didn’t want her children to be discriminated against. It upset me to think that might happen. These days IVF is getting so common though I can’t imagine people might still think that way and if they do it’s their problem.

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