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.
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?