Deciding on whether to share your infertility journey or not is a very personal decision.
I don’t judge you if you want to keep it private and I don’t judge you if you want to tell everyone what you are going through. Every single person deals with their pain and grief differently and you have to do what feels right for you (and your partner). It’s also fine if you change how open you are throughout your journey, deciding to keep things to yourself for a while and then sharing things again. Like I said, do what feels right for you. If you are struggling with any form of infertility, you are strong and brave and incredible. Those things don’t change depending on whether you are open about your journey or not. So don’t let anyone tell you differently.
My husband and I have gone back and forth on being open.
When we first started trying, we didn’t tell anyone. It was our little secret and we were so excited to get pregnant and share our news with family and friends. Except for every time we got pregnant, we then had an early miscarriage. We told our close family and friends the exciting news, only to have to go back to them with the crushing news a few weeks later. After the first two losses, we decided to keep things under wraps.
We didn’t tell people if we were or weren’t trying. We didn’t tell anyone we couldn’t get pregnant again. We didn’t tell anyone we were starting some fertility testing. And then we didn’t tell anyone when we did get pregnant again. We were protecting ourselves but also protecting others. We felt like we were a disappointment. We didn’t want to be open because we couldn’t handle letting our closest friends and family down month after month. Being quiet and private was what worked best for us at that time.
Our third miscarriage changed things though.
By this point, we knew something was terribly wrong. Every miscarriage happened in the 8th week, after seeing a heartbeat previously. We knew that this wasn’t just bad luck and that our road to a family wasn’t going to get any easier. And so we decided to tell people. Immediately.
I was recovering in bed as I typed a raw and real and emotional blog post about our third miscarriage, pleading with my readers to understand if I fell off the face of the earth for a bit. Explaining why seeing pregnant women or new babies was too painful for me. Asking for space and patience. That post came from my heart and to this day, makes me tear up when I read it. It was real and it opened us up to others. Love and support poured in. I don’t think I have ever felt so loved in my entire life as I did in those few weeks following our third loss. People cared about us and about our journey and wanted to be there for us. Being open and honest was what worked best for us at that time.
Moving forward from there, we became open books.
We told everyone everything, sometimes more than they probably wanted to know. We started testing and treatment and I blogged about every step and told anyone who was willing to listen what was going on in our lives. I needed to tell people, to raise awareness for infertility and loss, to let people know that it happened a lot and that it happened to anyone.
It became my passion, talking and explaining and telling people what it is like to live with infertility and repeat pregnancy loss. I started a support group and helped reach other women who were hurting and needed to know they weren’t alone. I blogged more frequently about infertility and loss. I volunteered with Fertility Matters Canada. I needed to talk about what we were doing dealing with and so I did. Being open and honest was what worked best for us at that time.
Then we experienced our fourth loss and we knew it was time to stop trying.
We knew, deep down, that this was the end of our journey to a biological child. We were done with the pain and the loss and the constant emotional rollercoaster. It was time to be quiet again, to process our feelings, to deal with our thoughts and doubts and decisions in private. We told people we were done, but didn’t go into a lot of detail.
We didn’t want to be open books anymore.
We didn’t want to answer people’s questions or listen to their “advice” or feel guilty for doing something that felt right for us but others might not understand. We still talked about our infertility and losses, but we didn’t share everything with everyone. We needed to just be us, to work through things without the world looking in. Being quiet and private was what worked best for us at that time.
Today we are moving forward with adoption.
Sharing our journey with friends, family and even strangers. We are open, but also keeping somethings private. We have found a good balance and that is something I want to strive to continue. on.
I am still passionate about raising awareness and talking about this disease that is so often hidden. At this point in my life, I am comfortable with sharing and advocating and will continue to do so for as long as I feel comfortable with it. I want to give a voice to those who aren’t quite ready to share, to let them know that they don’t have to if they’re not ready, because others will continue the conversation. If they want to join in when the time is right, they are more than welcome to. But if they want to keep quiet, dealing with their journey in their own way, that is perfectly okay too. Not everyone has to be out in the open, it doesn’t make them any less of a warrior.
We are all strong, in our own way.
Jenn, The Canadian Housewife