I found out I was pregnant a week
after my wedding and I was freaking out. I immediately called three
friends with kids to share my distress: I wasn't ready, I wanted to enjoy
married life first, how do I find a doctor, etc.
Had I known that that first
pregnancy would soon end, along with three more over the next three years and had
I known how many rocks I would have to turn over to get pregnant, I might have been
a bit more circumspect in the beginning about telling the whole world we were
trying to conceive.
Of course I thought we'd get
pregnant right away, and stay pregnant, of course I thought the IUIs would
work, of course I thought the first IVF would result in a baby, so why not share
it with my friends and family? Here are some pros and cons.
Share Because You Want to Let
Close Friends and Family Know What's Going on in Your Life
Pro: On one hand, you
don't want to be isolated during this journey—no matter how long or short it
takes. It's a very emotional time and it's really important to have people in
your court rooting for you.
Con: The disappointments,
for me, were hard enough to bear, without having to report back to other people
too and deal with their disappointment. I tended to share the big picture but
not the nitty-gritty details with people so I could process it on my own.
Share Because Your Schedule
Will be Iffy Until the End of Your First Trimester
Pro: When the ovulation
stick says it's time to procreate NOW, you don't want to have to rush it just
to make dinner or the theater with friends. (Because there's nothing more sexy than copulating on the clock.) I remember one time we were at a music festival—crowded camping—and we had to drive to an isolated place in the woods with
a sleeping bag to do the dirty. And by dirty, I really mean dirty.
Con: That whole Mother
Nature thing is so precarious—who knows when you'll ovulate, or have to go in
for a retrieval or transfer? It might not pay to tell every person you know
that you can only make tentative plans. Keep your schedule loose, and if you
have to cancel one day, just cancel. Let them think you're flaky.
For a while there, I wanted to tell no one. Not because I was embarrassed or felt like a failure, but there was too much riding on it, and it felt super personal.
Share Because You Might Need
Pro: You might need to ask
your family for financial help, or do a Kickstarter event to fund your next
round of IVF. Or you may need a friend to take you to the doctor if you're
single or your partner is busy. That's what friends are for.
Con: Sometimes people get too invested in your
journey and there are definitely times you may want to lay low and not talk
about it, times you just want to be your
regular self who doesn't have to think about fertility every second of
the day—like at work. It may be common courtesy to tell one supervisor, so
they can understand all your late days and absences, but I preferred not to
share with colleagues so I could have one "safe space."
Share Because It's
Too Hard to Keep a Secret
Pro: There's so much going on in your life when
you're doing IVF, it can be hard to not tell people what you're doing. I have
one friend who posts about every retrieval and every transfer on Facebook. I
know others on Twitter who do it more anonymously. My husband found it taxing,
"who knows what and when?," and so I had to let him do it his own way, but just
tell people I'd rather not talk about it unless I brought it up.
Con: For a while there, I wanted to tell no one. Not
because I was embarrassed or felt like a failure, but there was too much riding
on it, and it felt super personal. And truthfully, the only way I could hold it
together was to try and not think about it as much as possible. But after a
year or so, it was too much to do alone, and so I started sharing.
In retrospect, I think it's good to take a few people under
your wing—close friends and family you can count on, and tell them what you
need from them. (For me, it was, "Please don't ask me too many questions; if I
have news I will tell you.")