I can count the number of people I have shared this blog with on one hand: my best friend in Atlanta (HI!), a former colleague who is a fitness enthusiast and is getting ready to have her first child (HI!), a girlfriend in KY who has also been through the trenches of infertility and is preparing to re-enter for No. 2 (HI! We need to go back to yoga!) and now my cousin.
Every time I tell my story to a friend I feel like a huge weight has been lifted. Sharing my blog, though, is different. This is where I show feelings that I don’t vocalize. This is where I pour my heart out to beautiful strangers who, in turn, pour out theirs. My blog is too often void of the “happy face” that friends and family are so accustomed to.
If I were Dr. Jekyll, my blog would be Mr. Hyde.
Yesterday I went out on a limb and shared this blog with my cousin. This was a really big step as thus far no one on my side of the family is aware of our journey. It never occurred to me that opening up to family members might open up a conversation on family history. It never occurred to me that they might actually understand.
I assumed that family “in-the-know” would accost me with constant questions. I worried they would call with the next best fertility solution and inform me that rubbing badger blood on my tummy during full moons would insure ovulation. I worried that I would get those terrible, insincere glances of pity. I worried about letting them down if this never works. I worried they would judge.
Instead, I received a kind email from my cousin saying that my blog is amazing and she is grateful I trust her enough to share this part of my life. She offered me support and digital hugs (something so small that can really make a day when you are going through this). Then she offered family information that I had no idea about: every woman on this side of the family (my paternal side) has ovarian cysts.
“I cannot go back to find out when woman in our family go into menopause naturally. No one has..isn’t that crazy? It was a huge fad years ago to just ‘yank em [ovaries] out!'” my cousin wrote. “What I would like to know is what was the cause. Did they have what you have and it just wasn’t diagnosed back then? This will be an extremely interesting topic to discuss with our cousins and aunts some day.”
I read these words dumb-founded. I am not alone.
Let me repeat this as it is so very profound: I am not alone.
I have told all my doctors that I have no history of reproductive dysfunction other than my mom needed Clomid to conceive me due to irregular cycles after coming off of birth control. No further diagnosis was ever made. Now I learn that one entire side of my family is peppered with ovarian dysfunction.
I’m crying just thinking about this. Maybe letting family in is not such a bad idea? What do you all think? How do you feel about telling family and what have their reactions been? Based on this new knowledge of family history, would you open up?