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Should you Keep Fertility Struggles a Secret?

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.

RELATED: 5 Reasons I'm Announcing My Pregnancy Early

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 Help

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.

RELATED: 7 Things to Consider Before Sharing You're Trying to Conceive

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.")

But everyone is different, as is their fertility journey. Find out what works for you.

Image via Getty Images

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